First, the lovely Jenny Slate.

Secondly: I’d like to think for a moment about the questions, “Will you fade? Will you endure?” and “Will you fade? Will you perish?” asked by the wind of… the house? The family the house represents? The time period we first saw the house in, which does not, in fact, endure, except for the way it endures in people’s memories, so maybe it does. That’s the first thing I love about those lines: in formulating them as a question, the question the gets is not only “will you fade”, but “what does it mean to fade?” Has Mrs. Ramsay faded by the end of the text? I don’t think so.

The other thing I love is that I’m a little too obsessed with the pronoun ‘you’ as used in literature. Sure, this is technically part of attributed dialogue, here, but the recipient of the address is abstract enough that it feels almost as if the wind is asking us, the audience a question as well. And if it is asking a question of the audience, then it is by default a question that’s tied in inevitably with the relative insignificance of humanity – its tragedies, both the personal and the national – in comparison with the larger movements of the world. Does anything endure, in comparison with the winds, the sea, the encroaching decay? In human memory, some things do, but of course the special thing about “Time Passes” is that it decenters human memory altogether.

So! This is very disjointed, but if anyone has other thoughts, either on fading and enduring or on the “you” that might do so, please share them!

A meme and some questions

One thought on “A meme and some questions

  • September 27, 2020 at 7:22 pm

    I love how you brought up the decentering of human memory in this section. I knew about this, but I didn’t have the words to say it, and I love the way you put it. Humans *almost* don’t matter in this section. The house and the things that pass through are the focus, not the emotions and turmoil of the war going on around it and the humans who are being affected. It’s akin to the lighthouse in general, as well as the house. The lighthouse does not care about the emotions of the family that wants to go to it so desperately. Even when they finally go, the lighthouse stays there, unmoved by the weight of all that has transpired since part one. Ouch.

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