• "Wygnanie jako trwałe rozdarcie. „Życie i czasy Michaela K” oraz wspomnienia Mahmouda Darwisha."

    Hania A.M. Nashef (see profile)
    CLCS 20th- and 21st-Century, GS Nonfiction Prose, GS Prose Fiction, LLC 20th- and 21st-Century English and Anglophone, LLC Arabic
    Arabic language, Comparative literature, English literature, Literature, Middle Eastern literature
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Absence Presence, j.m. coetzee, Journal of Ordinary Grief, Life and Times of Michael K, Mahmoud Darwish
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    In Mahmoud Darwish’s semi-autobiographical prose work, Journal of Ordinary Grief, the son enquires of the father as to why he is picking up pebbles, to which the father answers that these pebbles may be the petrified pieces of his broken heart; the father searches for the pebbles that look like his heart and with his fingers try to transform them into the words that can put him in touch with his homeland; this exercise he tells his son is to avoid getting lost in the loss. The father is, in fact, resisting the eradication of his country that has turned him into an absence, as his story was usurped and told by another. As with the poet Darwish, the father is resisting the codification by the other that has turned him into ‘a refugee’, ‘an absent-presence’, ‘a stateless person’, and his story becomes the story with a hole and will always be the wrong story. In his 1964 poem, “Bitaqat Hawwiyah,” [Identity Card], the protagonist demands that the person inscribe that he is an Arab, in defiance to the non-existence that has become to define his being. On the other hand, in Life and Times of Michael K, Michael K is described by the medical officer as a pebble that has existed for a long time, unaware and indifferent to its surroundings, evading any form of classification, unfortunately in a country whose system thrives on categorizing and classifying everyone. The authorities feel they have to fill the hole in Michael’s story, but unfortunately their story of him becomes the wrong story. In this paper, I would like to look at Michael K’s reluctance to be fixated and pigeon-holed in a category, as others try to tell his story, and I would juxtapose this against the cry of the protagonist in Darwish’s “Bitaqat Hawwiyah,” who urges his vanquisher to allow him to document his own story, and the protagonist’s desire to be heard in both Darwish’s Journal of Ordinary Grief and Absent Present.
    English title: "Exile as the Persistent Hole in Coetzee’s Life and Times of Michael K and Darwish’s semi-autobiographical memoirs"
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Last Updated:
    7 years ago
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