Textuality » 5LSCA Interacting

5 LSCA - SPlett - Nice Work's extract
by SPlett - (2019-10-14)
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The present text will provide a personal analysis of an extract from David Lodge’s “Nice Work” where a character, called Robin, is having a university lecture to her students. In particular, she is denying the existence of the identity and she provides lots of argumentations in support of the thesis.

The extract starts immediately with the statement of the thesis. Indeed, according to Robyn and to the writers who have influenced her thinking on how to write a novel, there is no “self”, understood as “a finite, unique soul or essence that constitutes a person’s identity”. It is one of the foundations of capitalism, which is based on the idea that the good entrepreneur is the one who owns a capital and knows how to make it profitable and of the classic novel (the nineteenth-century one), which is based on the adventures of a protagonist with his own identity. So, Robyn states that the existence of the “self” is a fake news, because according to her, “there is only a subject position in an infinite web of discourses”. It means that the human beings are not unique, but they are subdued to a web of discourses within which we live. Such discourses are the ones of power, sex, family, science, religion, poetry etc., but also the ones of language, history, culture of the place we were born. 

Robyn goes on saying that since “there is no such thing as the ‘self’”, there is also “no such thing as the author”, who is the one “who originates a work of fiction ‘ab nihilo’”. Indeed, according to the professor, each text results from the interaction with other texts and consequently, every author has read other texts before writing. It follows that no text comes from anything, but that everyone “is a product of intertextuality, a tissue of allusions to and citations of other texts”. After that, the narrator quotes Jacques Derrida’s words “there is nothing outside the text” to underline her knowledge of famous people and also to underline that there are also other people who thinks like her.

Going on with the development of the argumentation, since there is no author and since every text is a product of intertextuality, Robyn asserts that “there are no origins, there is only production, and we produce our ‘selves’ in language”. Consequently, it means human beings are linguistic products that exist in relation to linguistic interactions.

In conclusion, Robyn thinks that human beings are not unique with their own ‘self’, but they produce their ‘selves’ in language. Indeed, they are subjected to an “infinite web of discourses” and the language is one of them.