The Lover by Marguerite Duras

I love reminiscing.

There is a certain comfort in knowing that a situation has passed, that it has finished and that absolutely nothing in the world can change the events.

Reminiscing provides the mind with immeasurable power.

I am my own ultimate authority. I can relive a moment as often as I want with any modifications I may choose to employ. There are no limits—everything is subject to my imaginative retrievals. Reminiscing is the most magical human capability. It is the key to accessing human memory.

Memory is manipulative.

Through memory, I can enjoy an outside perspective on my life. I like this external position. I like watching things unravel. I love getting lost in my thoughts. Even more so, I love getting lost in other people’s thoughts. Especially when their thoughts spark personal revelations of my own.

The randomized stream of consciousness of Marguerite Duras’ writing within the first half of The Lover directly reflects life’s recollections. In hindsight, nothing is chronological. Duras’ complex representation of self-perception and the continuous change in point-of-view causes me to reflect on my own similar tendencies. Every event in my life played a role in shaping my character. I controlled the decisions, behavior and actions that collectively preoccupy my memory.

Memory isn’t always tangible.

I tend to bury unfavorable memories deep within. I choose not to access these select events. After all, “it’s over, I don’t remember.” I choose not to remember. Yet, “that’s why I can write about it so easily now, so long, so fully” (Duras, 32). I often have trouble remembering past feelings and thoughts until I collect myself enough to focus. To write about it. Through this outlet, there are no hideouts. I am defenseless against these revelations.

Writing can be daunting. It forces me to deal with emotional repercussions of past events. I am forced to dissect the truth from my memory. Truth is a rarity that seeps through my writing. Truth is personally unavoidable. My mind doesn’t allow me to lie. I am forced to confront reality within the confinement of my torturous psyche.

I can’t lie about my feelings for The Lover. I can’t even express them eloquently. I think I lovingly hate Duras right now. Actually, I think I’m angry with Duras.

Duras evokes strong emotions in her writing.  Even if I don’t always enjoy the complex descriptions, I am able to identify with the emotional outlook. I’m pretty emotionally aware. In fact, I’m pretty emotional right now. Duras caused me to think about my family, my relationship with my parents and my personal growth. My life is flashing before my eyes right now. It’s stressing me out.

I am able to identify with the use of the third-person point-of-view. I often narrate my own life in third person. I also identify with the constant reflection. I have trouble living in the moment because I am constantly reflecting.

I am able to identify with specific descriptions. I was always inquisitive and over-analytical. I’ve always been too old for my age. I was able to apply the following quote to my own life by replacing sadness with maturity. “I say I’ve always been [mature]. That I can see the same [maturity] in photos of myself when I was small. That today, recognizing it as the [maturity] I’ve always had, I could almost call it by my own name, it’s so like me” (Duras, 44-45). It’s my defining characteristic. Moreover, I often feel most alone in large groups—“alone and in the crowd, never alone even by themselves, always alone even in the crowd” (47). My life is a series of contradictions. I’ve accepted it.

But I can’t seem to accept this novel.

After all of this random reflection, I realized that I’m all over the place. Just like the novel. I was temporarily inspired, and now, I’m just especially frustrated. Thank you, Marguerite Duras. I had this entire idea of what I learned from the novel thus far, until I questioned whether it was fiction or non-fiction. This threw my idea of memory retrieval out of whack, because I’m uncertain if these are real memories being retrieved. Each website I look at tells me something different. Another blogger even coined the term autofiction to describe it. It is fiction with autobiographical aspects. It is semi-autobiographical. Yet, the novel itself says fiction. I am thoroughly confused.

When I look back at my own life in search of defining moments, I just think about the years of unhappiness I experienced as a result of intense and dramatic familial issues. These waves of memories also frustrate me. Most of all, they sadden me. They bring me down. I’ve repressed them for so long. And the novel brought them back to me.

There’s no escaping your past. Memories always come back to shock you.

I hate reminiscing.

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