Narrative Anxiety in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children
|關鍵字:||《午夜之子》;魯西迪;焦慮;書寫;索緒爾;德希達;延異;主體形成;沙特;虛無;Midnight’s Children;Rushdie;Anxiety;Writing;Saussure;Derrida;différance;The formation of subjectivity;Sartre;Nothingness|
本論文首先以索緒爾(Ferdinand de Saussure)的符號學出發，分析以語言系統作為記憶再現的媒介所面臨的挑戰，再藉德希達(Jacques Derrida)所提出的延異(différance)為本，輔以書中特意編纂的敘事漏洞，證明能指(signifier)與所指(signified)間存在著創新與再造的能動力，顯示書寫與主體間具有正向的聯繫。第二部分藉由主角與他的殘暴分身濕婆(Shiva)與女巫妻子帕華蒂(Pavarti-the-witch)之間的互動，分別切入歷史與奇幻兩種面向。不但呈現主角臣服於史實的無奈，也點出奇幻元素難以掌控的特質，兩層面不斷交錯並遞延主角利用書寫達到自我實現的可能，揭露薩利姆無法完整還原記憶的困境。但文末我們終將明瞭，薩利姆作為缺憾的承受者，用其書寫的謬誤與肉身的殘破，象徵著主體性永恆的不完美；展現出主體是流動的存在，而非定點的佔據。既然我們注定要在漂流間徬徨，那麼化無法擺脫的焦慮為追求理想境界的動力是必經的自我磨練。|
Saleem Sinai, the protagonist as well as the narrator of Midnight’s Children, is trapped by an unusual condition; that is, writing is the only way for him to feel alive; whereas it simultaneously accelerates his journey heading to death. In this sense, this novel represents the tension between the eager of substantiating one’s existence and the necessity of resisting the threat of death. Curious about how Saleem copes with his anxiety resulted from such contradiction, I will anatomize the relationship between the act of writing and the construction of Saleem’s subjectivity to analyze the significance of anxiety. Taking Ferdinand de Saussure’s semiology as the point of departure, in the first part the thesis I disclose the challenges Saleem has to face under the circumstance of relying on the language system as the medium to represent his memory. And later on I will use Jacques Derrida’s différance, in addition to the narrative errors Saleem deliberately creates in the novel, to uncover the positive connection between the signifier and the signified so as to prove that the act of writing indeed to do with the construction of subjectivity. Moreover, Saleem’s anxiety does not merely occur at the level of writing but also exists in the textual complexity. In the second part, we probe into Saleem’s confrontation with history and fantasy through the examination of his relationship with his alter-ego, Shiva, and his wife Parvati-the-witch respectively. Either physically or mentally, both of them challenge Saleem’s resolution of completing his narrative, revealing the hero’s predicament of reconstructing his subjectivity according to his will. Nevertheless, through the analysis of this thesis, the reader would find that, as the bearer caring the loss of existence, Saleem uses the imperfect to perfect the real human condition, demonstrating the quality of fluidity in the formation of subjectivity. Hence, the feeling of anxiety in Midnight’s Children, even if only functions expediently, indicates the vitality of our existence. We cannot stay away from the torture in the coming-into-being, apparently, but we can turn such affliction into the fuel of life, allowing it pushing us to move forward to achieve integrity.
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