The Mutinous Classroom read Summer Rain by Marguerite Duras. This was in spite of the fact that it was out of print. It was difficult to find six copies in NYC. Eventually five were found and one was xeroxed. This scarcity is the indexical finger; an indexical finger pointing towards an American neglect (literary, academic, distributory). Keeping classes small allows for the mobilization of limited resources; a work is not discluded because it isn't marketed.
Summer Rain, in short, is the story of an immigrant family that refuses to be schooled. This is a pedagogical love story about how it feels to be in love with refusal.
REPORTER: Perhaps some particular circumstance or incident, madam… if you could recall even one detail, one small thing… that sticks in your mind…
FATHER: What about the scissors, they might do…
MOTHER: Aye, that’s right… wait a minute…
Mother remembers it perfectly.
MOTHER: Aye, one day, the boy is three years or something, he comes to me crying and shouting: I can’t find my scissors I can’t find my scissors… And I say that there’s nothing to it but to think where you’ve left them. The boy says: I can’t think I can’t think. Then I say: Well that’s all we need now. What do you mean you can’t think? Then the boy answers: I can’t think, because if I think, I’ll think I’ve thrown them out of the window.
Silence. An atmosphere of emptiness.
REPORTER: I’m sorry, madam, but… no matter how intelligent you are, how could you have guessed your son’s extraordinariness from this?
MOTHER: Well now I don’t understand a word you’re saying, sir. This is getting a bit dull.
The reporter sighs. Silence. Pondering. Then the reporter speaks. More and more, he takes on the parents’ mannerisms.
REPORTER: I only mean, madam, that your story about the scissors has nothing at all to do with the case at hand, that is the rejection of the school system…
FATHER: We’re not so stupid either, my wife and I, so take care what you say, sir.
Many dismiss Duras' work out of hand: the cover illustrations are embarrassing; the fact that it is her script for Hiroshima Mon Amour is glossed over, and focus remains on the overblown and indulgent cinematic remake of her autobiographical novella The Lover. The nature of Duras work, the way it manages to employ the temporal rhythms of trauma to structure the narrative and the language, or absence thereof, moves against the very act of excerpt (despite my inclusion above). Generally, her novels 'break down' if one tries to read them in fits and starts. They are slender and demand to be read from beginning to end without stopping, or not at all. Generally the novels could be likened as literary equivalents of Blanchot's Writing the Disaster, a philosophical meditation on the psychological structure of the catastrophe we call the twentieth century: impact. destruction. disappearance. And in the wake? Bands of ghosts and bands of mercenaries.
I can’t think, because if I think, I’ll think I’ve thrown them out of the window.