By Siobhan McIlvanney
During this first severe learn in English to concentration solely on Annie Ernaux’s writing trajectory, Siobh?n McIlvanney offers a stimulating and hard research of Ernaux’s person texts. Following a generally feminist hermeneutic, this examine engages in a chain of provocative shut readings of Ernaux’s works in a stream to focus on the contradictions and nuances in her writing, and to illustrate the highbrow intricacies of her literary venture. by means of so doing, it seeks to introduce new readers to Ernaux’s works, whereas enticing on much less normal terrain these already acquainted with her writing.
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Additional info for Annie Ernaux: The Return to Origins (Liverpool University Press - Modern French Writers)
147). These images focus on a fun-loving, free-spirited woman antithetical to the censorious mother of the present and point to the emotional intensity of the earlier mother/daughter symbiosis. The end of this ‘pre-verbal’ symbiosis concurs with the narrator’s consciousness of the significance of language’s content. In Lacanian terms, the advent of the Symbolic leads to the devaluation of the Semiotic: ‘quand on est gosse on n’écoute pas les paroles, à peine si on les entend, juste un fond’ (CDR, p.
16 Reinforcing this volte-face in the narrator’s attribution of values is her reversal of the Manichaean judgements made earlier, in that she now views middle-class people as ‘gens bien’ (LAV, pp. ), and refers to the middle class in general as ‘milieux bien’ (LAV, p. 100), while the world of her parents is relegated to the shameful, the peripheral – in short, to the ‘unreal’: ‘j’aurais voulu qu’ils soient autrement, convenables, sortables dans le véritable monde’ (LAV, p. 111). As she grows older, the realisation that her parents’ taste in reading material and music is considered lamentable by ‘la classe dominante’ she esteems so highly intensifies the humiliation she feels towards her origins – along with ‘honte’, ‘humiliation’ is one of the most common nouns in Les Armoires vides: ‘On ne parle jamais de ça, de la honte, des humiliations, on les oublie les phrases perfides en plein dans la gueule, surtout quand on est gosse.
90). The narrator may experience moments of guilt when she admits to her own inadequacies and lack of filial respect, but such moments are short-lived, rapidly submerged beneath a wave of anger at the injustice of belonging to the working class. The narrator’s passivity and acceptance of her lot – an attitude she may have inherited from her father – can be viewed as indicative of both her internalisation of ideological hierarchies and of her peripheral position on the cusp of both the working and middle classes, a position which prevents her from fully participating in either.