essay 1 final draft

essay 1 final draft - 1 Hiu Yan Grace Kwok Section 35223R...

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1 Hiu Yan Grace Kwok Section 35223R Essay #1 January 29, 2008 The Lover, The Mother Marguerite Duras’ autobiographical work The Lover centers on the romance between an impoverished juvenile French girl, who is Duras herself, and a wealthy Chinese man. Despite their polarized racial, cultural and financial differences, the two draw themselves towards one another like a moth to the flame. However passionate their relationship is, it is cast over by a shadow Duras’ mother. In fact, the fate of the two lovebirds is inextricably interwoven with the relationship between Duras and her mother. In light of this, the story ventures into the domain of language to examine this strained maternal relationship. Through shedding light on the paradox associated with the notion of “mother tongue,” Duras portrays maternal relationships as stifling and a catalyst for her affair with her lover, which is liberating on the contrary, in that despite having French as the common language, miscommunications and conflicts frequently arise between Duras and her mother, whereas the former is more or less more intimate with her lover, even though they share no genetic material in common and Chinese is like a “desert language” (Duras 41) to her. What Duras is oblivious of is her inability to eradicate her mother’s presence from her mind, although she constantly expresses her desire for leaving her mother. The term “mother tongue” can be interpreted in two different ways. First, it means one’s native language, French in Duras’ case. Also, it can be seen as the way a mother speaks, the tone she assumes when speaking to her children. For Duras, the “mother tongue” is simultaneously limiting and liberating. Duras is saddened and frustrated by how her mother decides everything for her and tells her what to do simply because she has given birth to her.
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2 Nevertheless, it is exactly how her mother commands Duras like a totalitarian that prompts Duras to throw herself at her lover and see his apartment as a haven. In Duras’ eyes, “mother” symbolizes entrapment. “I want to write. I’ve already told
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This note was uploaded on 01/28/2009 for the course ARLT 100 taught by Professor Thompson during the Spring '07 term at USC.

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essay 1 final draft - 1 Hiu Yan Grace Kwok Section 35223R...

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