Demeure: Fiction and Testimony Paper
The Instant of My Death is seemingly short, empty at first glance. The story seems overly simplified yet confusing. The switching from third to first person, lack of details, and complicated word choices makes for a tough read. It would be easy to not give the story any thought. In reality, this writing is very deep. It contains commentary about society, language, and tackles tough ideas such as death and dying. The 100 page analysis by Derrida not only gives The Instant of My Death a second look, but analyzes each word choice and discusses issues between writing and reality that are illustrated throughout the book. There are many important points made throughout the analysis, but a few stood out.
One issue raised by Derrida is the relation between literature and experience. In general, all writing has some experience or thought behind it, even if it is an "Un-experienced experience". This idea shows a clear relation between literature and experience. In the case of this story, it seems that there is some experience being conveyed. Although it is not explicitly stated, it seems that this story is autobiographical; Blanchot based the story around his own experiences, his own emotions. Because of this, he was able to convey his thoughts and perception of his reality. This is a clear representation of one aspect of the interrelation between literature and experience.
Another point made by the analytical portion of this book is the relation of fiction and truth. Truth describes something that is in accordance with fact or reality. But truth is more than a fact; You cannot represent the truth with a simple fact all the time. Fact and non-fiction can sometimes illustrate a truth, ie textbooks. But sometimes "fact" can be morphed into an opinion and no longer convey the truth ie newspaper or even outdated textbooks. Sometimes, fiction is a better representation of fact. Novels such as those done by Ayn Rand can convey an idea or truth in a more clear way than a non-fiction book. By connecting and relating to characters in a fiction, you are able to feel as they are and see as they are. It is because of this that great truth can sometimes be contained in a fiction.
In conclusion, there is a relationship between literature and experience, and truth and fact. For great literature, there is a driving experience that spawns the structure for the writing. Whether it be a traumatic experience or simply something you dreamed of; there is always experience behind literature. The relationship between fiction and fact truth is also very important. Fiction allows you to illustrate a great truth in a way that a non-fiction would not be able to. Both of these facts are driving forces behind The Instant of My Death. By combining past experiences with some shreds of fiction, Blanchot was able to convey truths, social commentary, a traumatic experience, and many emotions in only a few pages.