By Siobhan McIlvanney
During this first serious research in English to concentration solely on Annie Ernaux’s writing trajectory, Siobh?n McIlvanney offers a stimulating and tough research of Ernaux’s person texts. Following a extensively feminist hermeneutic, this research engages in a chain of provocative shut readings of Ernaux’s works in a circulation to spotlight the contradictions and nuances in her writing, and to illustrate the highbrow intricacies of her literary undertaking. through so doing, it seeks to introduce new readers to Ernaux’s works, whereas enticing on much less favourite terrain these already accustomed to her writing.
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Extra resources for Annie Ernaux: The Return to Origins (Liverpool University Press - Modern French Writers)
The narrator first refers to the language spoken at school as ‘une langue étrangère’ (LAV, p. 53), hence this designation of her parents’ language indicates the inversion of values undergone by the narrator, and the linguistic domination exerted by the school environment. Her parents may belong to the upper echelons of the working-class hierarchy, yet their lack of verbal proficiency (as determined by middle-class criteria) distinguishes them from those higher up the social ladder. As with other culturally acquired attributes, the success of ideological conditioning is illustrated in its naturalisation of taught verbal skills: ‘L’impression que c’était inné, ça aussi, si on l’avait manqué à la naissance, c’était fichu’ (LAV, p.
P65 28 04/06/01, 14:20 The Early Years 29 the narrator can be viewed as a ruthless and calculating duper, who sees men as little more than a means to social ascension. ) In earlier relationships, when differences in social class are less conspicuous, the narrator assumes a more dominant role sexually, as highlighted by the repeated references to her first boyfriend as ‘proie’ (LAV, pp. 131, 132, 133). She is shown to objectify men, to view them as interchangeable instruments for her own physical gratification: ‘Je ne pensais qu’à moi-même, j’étais une vraie boule de plaisir des orteils à la queue de cheval’ (LAV, p.
The narrator’s sense of alienation from her representation in parental discourse, and, in particular, from its prescriptive role in the construction of identity, is intimated in the work’s title. Anne’s impression of being both central yet peripheral to parental discourse characterises the narrative as a whole: her parents’ principal concern may be her academic success and future well-being, yet they deny her the subjecthood to engage in dialogue about them. That denial is epitomised in one of her father’s remarks, a remark which was to have provided the work’s original title: ‘tu n’as rien à dire que tu ne parles pas’ (CDR, p.
Annie Ernaux: The Return to Origins (Liverpool University Press - Modern French Writers) by Siobhan McIlvanney