"The Lover" by Marguerite Duras

Essay by ngocquy2001kt March 2007

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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...