By Siobhan McIlvanney
During this first serious examine in English to concentration solely on Annie Ernaux’s writing trajectory, Siobh?n McIlvanney offers a stimulating and demanding research of Ernaux’s person texts. Following a generally feminist hermeneutic, this examine engages in a sequence of provocative shut readings of Ernaux’s works in a circulate to focus on the contradictions and nuances in her writing, and to illustrate the highbrow intricacies of her literary venture. by way of so doing, it seeks to introduce new readers to Ernaux’s works, whereas attractive on much less regularly occurring terrain these already accustomed to her writing.
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Extra info for Annie Ernaux: The Return to Origins (Liverpool University Press - Modern French Writers)
29). 37 The psychoanalyst Nancy Chodorow also considers this erosion in intimacy a common development in the mother/daughter relationship: Before she can fully develop extrafamilial commitments, therefore, a girl must confront her entanglement in familial relationships themselves. 38 An event of key importance in reinforcing the narrator’s individuation from the mother is the death of the maternal grandmother. This death can be interpreted as signalling the end of Anne’s childhood, an end given allegorical significance in her act of masturbation on the evening of her grandmother’s funeral: ‘Ç’a été ma façon à moi de l’enterrer’ (CDR, p.
That desire for eradication is further expressed in Anne’s choice of heterosexual partner. Like Denise before her, Anne’s motivation for losing her virginity to Mathieu is less a positive affirmation of her feelings towards him than a vengeful gesture towards her milieu and a means of liberating herself from the maternal. Indeed, immediately after her first sexual experience, she exclaims ‘si ma mère me voyait’ (CDR, p. ). Like Denise, Anne strives to free herself from the sexually oppressive atmosphere at home and school, to transgress classist and sexist codes of conduct, through the physical.
Her mother’s favourite phrase – the portentous ‘si jamais, si jamais il t’arrive un malheur’ (LAV, p. 147), which forms a leitmotiv of the narrative, rising up repeatedly through the heteroglossic diversity of voices – becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Linguistic Representation The principal signifier of difference between the narrator’s home and educational environments, and one to be addressed in greater detail in Ce qu’ils disent ou rien, is language. In Ernaux’s writing, language use is never innocent and cannot be analysed as a self-contained, neutral system in the manner of structuralist linguistics.
Annie Ernaux: The Return to Origins (Liverpool University Press - Modern French Writers) by Siobhan McIlvanney