LingLing Zhang. Diva In the Dark. Honors Thesis, University of Washington. 2013.
In my paper, I examine the charismatic writer Margurite Duras's enigmatic world and the way it blurs with her writing. Writing through a female body, she both embraces her individualism and challenges social oppression. Therefore, my argument is that her individualism is expressed through two modes, the aesthetic and the historical, both working against a world in which she has been repressed for so long. These dual modes often converge, realizing their expression in the author's experimental blending of life and writing. In the development of the paper, I first argue that Duras disrupts the language's masculinity by employing such techniques as nonlinearity, fragmentation, ambiguity and shifts in narrative voice. Her style is terse, descriptive with minimal words in which language has become a vehicle to convey her passion, to catch up with her desire. As for the historical mode, it manifests mainly through the narrator's transgression towards norms. Constructed through her sentences and her silences, driven by her passion and trauma, and paradoxically revealed as much through what is missing as what is shown, Duras emerges. A portrait of a flawed soul; her uncertain love, her brief meetings and lingering partings, her wish to be remembered as she wanted to be not as she was, and her desire to be loved completely, even if only in hindsight- it is in these things that we get a taste of the woman hidden behind the words she writes. She has turned her life into a legend in the book where the artistic and historical modes have finally come to blend seamlessly. A diva in the dark.