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"The Lover" by Marguerite Duras

By ngocquy2001kt Mar 12, 2007 896 Words
As a stunningly beautiful work of art, "The Lover", by Marguerite Duras, realistically and profoundly exposes the astonishing harmonization and clashing dissonance of love, sexuality and antagonism, memory and forgetfulness, emotions of happiness and dolefulness, and certitude of being desired. Memoirs of Marguerite Duras, as a reworking of the childhood in Indochina, intensely flowed out from her heart, artistically delineated into her novel and inextricably, bounded together and entwined with the readers. Not only does the narrative story open up by the ferry crossing the Mekong River, but, at the end, reiteratively, it is also closed by the ocean crossing back to Paris, France. Probably, in the novel, like the traversal passing the water, the borders and boundaries are, constantly, crossed, moreover, particularly, by retelling the story itself and repeating the memories, Marguerite Duras crosses her frontiers over and over again.

"The repetition of situation, events, memories, and words abounds in Duras texts. This repetition seems to emphasize the changing, unstable aspect of memory and language and move the readers to question his or her own memory and examine the dynamics of forgetting…It is a remembering that destroys memory and leads to a new memory, which can replace the last only fleetingly and without substance…a refusal of convention or disguise, as a unity of thought and will, life and appearance" _ Carol Hoffman. By repetition of the memories, Duras does not only cross her borders in the novel again, but she also lives and recreates the unforgettable love in the different historical setting in which she takes the role as both the insider and the outsider.

The unforgettable and denial love of the white young girl with the Chinese man thoroughly shows the crossing of the geography, race, culture, and sexual borders and boundaries. First of all, at the first time making love with the Chinese lover, with the sexual unconsciousness, channeling from pain to pleasure, the young girl lost virginity which is the precious frontier between an innocent girl and a woman ." And, weeping, he makes love. At first, pain. And then the pain is possessed in its turn, changed, slowly drawn away, borne toward pleasure, clasped to it". Crossing the border between girl and woman after making love with the Chinese lover, she is, moreover, conscious of her desire for the lover "He smells pleasantly of English cigarettes, expensive perfume, honey, his skin has taken on the scent of silk, the fruity smell of silk tussore, the smell of gold, he's desirable"; the young girl also dissolves the border of desire consciousness and unconsciousness. Through sex, the young girl's conscious desire for escape from the reality, from boarding school, from the madness, the ambivalence of her mother who lives a life of depression and self-deception; and, obviously, what is greater escape than orgasm. The make-love scene shows, from the gender point of view, masculinity and femininity, in the novel, are intricate, indeterminate and have a blurring border. "The body is thin, lacking in strength, in muscle, he may have been ill, maybe convalescent, and he's hairless, nothing masculine about him but his sex, he's week, probable a helpless prey to insult…" After making love, the Chinese lover washes the girl, wipes the blood away and renews her body again; is water just like the cleansing, the renewal, or the magical tool to erase the border between the dirtiness, the ending and the cleanness, the whole new beginning?In addition, cultures and races issues have important roles on indeterminate boundaries. Extraordinarily, the love between a young white woman and a Chinese lover exposes the indeterminacy of race in love. Although the girl receives a formal French education, rides in front of local bus which is reserved for white passengers, and is forbidden to make love with the Chinese lover by her mom, she crosses those barriers, comes to the Chinese lover, and feels pleasure and desirable to be with him, with his sex, and with his love. Their love, moreover, destroys the frontier and barriers of discriminations between different classes in society; it's the incandescent relationship between a precocious, poor girl and significantly older and extreme wealthy man. With the love with the Chinese lover, never in her whole life shall she ever again lose herself in that love, and find out the new self, the new identity of a young girl who can, exactly and finally, define herself. Is this a new page of her life as she has crossed the boundaries and the barriers that she herself and people surrounding created, broken the paradigms, and shifted those boundaries to the new level?"The lover" is a ravishingly beautiful love story, a flowing and winding river of passions, desires and confessions; that river of love, ultimately, flows out to the ocean, but, the remarkable aspects of the romantic, eroticism, desires, and emotions of it stay forever in author's and reader's hearts forever. At the end of the love story, the young woman leaves in the boat trip back to France, and the Chinese man was looking as her with his love, there was, at that moment, the invisible boundary and the distance that they knew , from the bottom of their hearts, they could never crossed that boundary to find their own happiness. Is it true that there is always a boundary in life, which you could never cross, even though reach it, to have what you desire for?

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