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The War (Marguerite Duras)

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The dilemma of a society that had to deal with the deportation of a part of its population.
  3. The return of the survivors: A problem in the society.
  4. The dangers of being a resistant.
  5. The most serious problem of this civil war in France.
  6. Conclusion.

Marguerite Duras was born near Saigon in Indochina in 1914. Her parents went to the French colony as teachers. She left Indonesia in 1932 to study political science and law in Paris. His childhood in Indonesia had a great impact on Duras and brought unity to her work. As she was living in Paris when the Second World War broke out, she faced up the occupation of France by the German army. She became a Resistant in 1943 after she met Francois Mitterrand. Her husband, who was also a Resistant, was sent to a concentration camp. The story of her book, ?The War?, takes place at the end of the war and the beginning of the liberation. Actually, it is a journal she wrote during the wait of her husband's return. Marguerite Duras told us that she could not remember when she wrote it. She pretended to have lost it and to have found it again in her secondary house. We do not know if it is true, if she really lost her journal of if she wrote it later. But the story in the book is true and that is the main interest. It was published in 1985. ?The war? is very interesting mainly because it is a testimony. It is also very well written. In reading this book we can feel a great emotion.

[...] Noises from weapons extended in the whole city. Duras explains it was a feeling of liberty. They could do what they wanted. In this way they replaced the ones who used to fright them before. There was no police to stop them, they were the police. It was a kind of anarchy. Resistants were excited by this new context. The brothers-in-arms of Duras liked to tell about their fight. It was their turn to find people, arrest them and do what they wanted of their life (cf p.142: ?Certains partaient le matin en voiture de plus en plus loin pour chercher la bagarre encore possible, ils rentraient la nuit). [...]


[...] The main cities in Germany were bombed by allies. Many of these workers died. The return of the ones who survived caused a huge problem. In the novel Duras suffers from waiting. But in the novel she also says that she did not really know why she was waiting. She had the feeling she did not really love her husband any more. But she was waiting. It was a kind of way to pay her debt towards him. When he finally came back she was afraid to see him again because she had not seen him for a so long time. [...]


[...] It was a civil war between the ones favourable to Vichy or even people who wished domination of Germany over Europe and the ones who refused it. As a resistant, Marguerite Duras describes us in her book her everyday life in this particular context of fighting both Germans and collaborators. As they were a minority of the French society they had to be careful. Fear was constantly present. The Resistants could be arrested at any time in a world where anybody could become their worst enemy (cf p.105: ?Chaque fois que je dois voir Rabier, cela continuera jusqu'au bout, je fais comme si c'était pour etre tuée?). [...]

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