Date

2014

Major

Philosophy (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Toby Graves

Abstract

This thesis argues that language in general, and proper names in particular, are surreptitious examples of narrative gaps. In this way, in the context of literature, the narrative gaps enclosed in proper names enable the audience to become an active participant in a type of writing that exceeds the limit of the specific literary text at hand. In deconstructing the way in which proper names and nicknames are used by Rosario Ferré and García Márquez, this exposition shows how names, as conveyors of different identities, systematically enable an exercise of différance: they distinguish subjects while postponing an actual description of their individuality. This emptiness of ultimate meaning, however, has been disguised through the means of further narrative gaps (such as “prostitute,” “wife,” or “husband”) that transfer the responsibility of assigning meaning onto the shoulders of the readers. In order to understand the implications of this assertion, this work reflects on the nature of reading and writing, as well as the differences that, apparently, keep literature and reality apart. Finally, by engaging the ideas of John L. Austin and Jacques Derrida, this paper aims to contribute to an understanding of how literary works (such as the ones analyzed here) may challenge the notion of authorship altogether by forcing the reader to complete a textual reality that does more than map preexisting circumstances, it actively writes them.

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