Discussion self portrait in green

In this discussion, please refer to the Polverel article from last week’s course notes, inspirationally informative to helping you understand the work.


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“Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.” ― Albert Camus


“There is no doubt fiction makes a better job of the truth.” ― Doris Lessing



Consider the two quotes in this week’s course notes. How do you relate these quotes to NDiaye’s work? How do these quotes inform or reflect your observations?



In light of our course essay questions, consider NDiaye’s work as an interpretation of self-reflection and reflection of the world, and the profound connection between the two. Consider if the work, the narrator in telling the story, is more concerned with who the subjects are at the moment of writing or more concerned with where the subjects come from. Is the narrator in any way concerned with a time line or chronology in the telling of the tale? In another word, is memoir simply a recounting of a series of events and do these events truly portray, or is something else needed to grasp the true nature and character of a person on paper: fiction, the novel, etc.?



In light of these considerations, how would you compare NDiaye’s narrator “I” to Calvino’s and Borges’s “I”? Is NDiaye creating a character the same way Borges and Calvino present themselves in their stories? Is it possible not to create a character out of oneself in a portrait? Perhaps fiction is not only the “easiest” (Maupin) but also the only way to “get to the truth”?



Who are women in green to the narrator? How do they serve to create and characterize the narrator (her story)? Consider this question in the full understanding that the characterization of the narrator creates the very self-portrait we are reading (the story of the self is the story of the one narrating the story, right?).


NOTE: You may not use the first person singular (“I”) or the second person (“you”) in your writing. You must write conclusively in the third person or the first person plural (“we”), because it is essential in critical writing to include some of the universe around you and not just your personal experience. We in critical comparative writing need to look beyond our nose to understand and express how our experience relates to our research and to present a truth about the world around us.

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