Tyler Bice's Reviews > The Lover

The Lover by Marguerite Duras
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Mar 11, 2012

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The Lover by Duras is an autobiography of a teenage girl who has her first affair with a Chinese man. In my opinion, this is a very dry novel and was hard to read. Duras uses different strategies in her writing to make try and make it more interesting. Throughout the novel she uses flashbacks, forwards, repetitions, and even random excerpts. The author also switches in between first and third person to possibly show that this was her. Although she uses these things to make the narrative more engaging it is a very depressing, slow novel. This novel is also a very feminist novel that challenges a few issues.
At first I was having a hard time actually understanding exactly what a feminist novel is. I have come to the understanding that a feminist novel usually will have a female protagonist that deals with issues that women face in their lives and/or society. These types of stories usually will challenge a relative female issues like abortion, childbirth, or challenges that women have in the workplace. The Lover by Duras is very interesting because the author reverses the roles of men and women in the novel. Throughout the story stereotypes are inverted and many things are flipped around to make a point. For instance, she comes from a very poor family while the Chinese man comes from a rich one. Also, she is the main controller of the relationship that seems to be pretty common in our day in age but not back then. She doesn’t even love him completely while he is in love with her and she basically can decide when to end the relationship. Duras uses these things to show that women can step out of their comfort zone and do anything a man could. I see this happen a lot with relationships in our society where one person almost has most of the control over the other person and its simply because one person is more vulnerable than the other. Duras with her minimalist style used these elements to challenge the role of women in society.
Just by the act of the teenage girl that is having an affair with an older man created much controversy. Duras really explores the boundaries of a relationship in society. Obviously this is not ok in our society in the United States and there is even a law that prohibits adults having affairs with minors. But it happens all the time! A couple of people who went to my high school and stayed around in my hometown were a couple years out of high school dating a high school student. In my opinion this is not ok at all and when you’re in high school it is almost impossible to have a mature and professional relationship, especially if one or the other is going to college in a completely different atmosphere. One of the main themes the author try’s to show throughout the novel is the developing sexuality of women. Throughout the novel the main character isn’t sure how to represent herself as a women and has to go through a journey of self-discovery. The author shows that this is very common for women or even all people to do crazy things when you’re growing up like having affairs with older men. All people do things they regret and crazy things they don’t regret through life but it is all apart of learning and self-discovery.


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