…to assume that this post will be read with any enthusiasm, or be read at all, what with fall break at our fingertips. But bear with me for a paragraph or two; after today’s class, I simply wanted to lay something out before it all left me. I promise it will be over soon.
Today’s discussion, especially the part pertaining to the documented death of Colonel Chabert, really got me thinking about its relation to (possibly our most-visited theme of this class) story-telling, even after our discussion had moved past this. What immediately popped into my head was something that Professor Rosenburg mentioned the day he subbed, that being something along the lines of when we judge others, or attempt to define them, we deny them a story. We deny them an opportunity to define themselves, and as humans, we do that through story telling.
The relevance of this struck me when I applied this to what we know of Colonel Chabert’s situation at the moment. Through the irrefutable documentation of his death, he has been denied repeatedly – ceaselessly – a story. This story being the most important of all, the story of his very existence. So he comes to a place where, finally, a person – namely, Derville – hears this story in its entirety. And how apt that it occur in a legal office, in the presence of a lawyer, whose responsibility, with the court system, is to verify and prove the validity of stories. But when looked at more analytically (and spoiler alert, here, courtesy of the back cover of our copy), alas, how truly ironic that it occur in a lawyer’s office where it will come to no fruition, where “everyone goes … but no one stays,” where “no one takes a personal interest in their day-to-day upkeep.” (6) [Insert indignant noise here.] Where no one takes a personal interest? But isn’t this supposed to be where stories are upheld and infused with power? Whether that power be the power to disprove or, as in Chabert’s case, prove?
Further down in page 6, the narrator gives us more to work with, a possible answer to the above inquiries: “Perhaps because in these places the drama being enacted in the soul of man gives him only a bit part.” Ah. Something to ponder.
And now, my burst of thought has come to an inconclusive close. I don’t have a definitive question to ask, and I’m not entirely sure what I wanted to accomplish by posting this, but read it, perhaps comment – do with it what you will.