The Meaning of Life and Social Discourses Essay

The Meaning of Life and Social Discourses Essay

Length: 1642 words (4.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In Robert Lowell’s confessional poetry Life Studies (1962), Drusilla Modjeska’s memoir The Orchard (1994), Arthur Bochner’s personal narrative It’s About Time (1997) and Felicia Sullivan’s memoir The Sky isn’t Visible from Here (2008), the truth and meaning of a life is understood to be a product of social discourses. This means they are mediated between language, supplementations outside the life represented, and spectres of past, present and future selves. Hence, the ‘self’ in the representation of a life, is to be found in the dialogic relationship with that which is ‘other’ than the life represented: other people, generic and linguistic conventions and ideologies being espoused. This calls into question the dominant paradigm of the Cogito – a singular, central consciousness - as the source of all meaning in Life Writing. Yet, the self-reflexive labour of life writing engenders a discursive shaping of a self or subject, to elevate the understanding of the life represented.

In Life Studies, Robert Lowell redefines himself against his father and the social discourse of orthodoxy in an act of recreation through spectrality and supplementation. The supplementary use of Freudian tropes allows him to shape a particular sense of self to introduce the ‘ghostly’ presence of his past in representing his relationship with the men in his life. In Grandparents, Lowell’s grandfather symbolises the patriarchal male. He expresses this through exclamatory tones “Grandpa! Have me, hold me, cherish me!” which carries echoes of a wedding vow to establish a feminized, dependant image of himself in a Freudian transference of desire towards his grandfather. Lowell’s symbolic marriage to his grandfather, locates his need for a patriarchal mode...

... middle of paper ...

... ideological and social constraints by modes of expression, Lowell, Modjeska, Bochner and Sullivan have taken fragments of their lives in order to rewrite these boundaries that constrain them. Accordingly, they negate the formalist notion of fossilized genres by embracing hybridism and fluidity as a projection of progressive culture, to allow growth and liberation in life through delimiting identity. \The innovations of these authors values both sociality and the dialogue between lives; as well as a critical approach to the past, which Derrida argues amounts to a form of fidelity, as in remembrance, whereby progression re-appropriates and takes the past into the future as an act of respect. Thus, these life writing acts are understood to be projecting towards democratisation in cultural spheres and the possibilities branching from the movement of society .

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

A Brief Note On Memory : A Battle For Meaning Essay

- Historicizing Memory: A battle for meaning I. Introduction Since the 1990s, memory studies have become a popular field regrouping specialists of increasingly diverse intellectual expertise. German scholar Aleida Assmann posits that this investment in studying memory can be explained by various factors such as the legacies of great tragedies in the twentieth century (most notably the Holocaust), the fall of “grand narratives” (hastened by the end of the Cold War and the democratisation of former Communist states in Eastern Europe) and by the digital revolution which has challenged previous ways of communication and sharing information....   [tags: Meaning of life, Sociology, Vichy France, Memory]

Powerful Essays
2010 words (5.7 pages)

Social Semiotic : The Semiotic Notion Of Communication Or Language As A System Of Signs

- Social meaning making Social semiotic draws on the semiotic notion of communication or language as a system of signs, which provides a range of potential meanings to its users. There is not difference between the code or langue and performance or use in the social semiotic. The actual meanings made are limited by the conditions of access and context: The cultural trajectories (historical map) of individuals and groups endows them with different dispositions and literacies. Cultural patterns we use to make sense always shapes and frames contexts....   [tags: Sociology, Meaning of life, Linguistics, Culture]

Powerful Essays
777 words (2.2 pages)

Sociological Perspectives and the Social Institution of the Family Essay

- Sociological Perspectives and the Social Institution of the Family Society is the 'subject' of the social sciences. Generally Speaking society is that complex social organization of human beings that share an identity inhabiting dynamic relationships and a distinctive culture. Members of a society identify themselves through that society and work together with other members to ensure that the rules, generally agreed upon by all members to govern how they relate to each other, are in place. Sociological perspectives are viewpoints from which we study and understand society and its varied mechanics and elements....   [tags: Sociology ]

Powerful Essays
1758 words (5 pages)

`` What Is The Meaning Of Life? Essay

- Tom Morris’s chapter titled “What is the Meaning of Life?” discusses several different viewpoints on this question. He discusses particularly three perspectives Nihilism, do-it-yourself-approach, and the theistic belief in search for the best answer. The basic idea behind Nihilism that Morris’s discusses is expressed in the words of Sigmund Freud, “ The moment a man questions the meaning and value of life, he is sick, since objectively neither has existence.” that life has no meaning. According to Morris he states that this is bad philosophy and is represented by poets, rock musicians, and filmmakers that represent this point of view....   [tags: Meaning of life, Philosophy of life, Life]

Powerful Essays
919 words (2.6 pages)

The Meaning Of Life And Other Lies Essay

- The Meaning of Life & Other Lies No well-minded senior in high school claims to have discovered any indisputable meaning of life. To do so would bring an end to all questions. Mankind has entered and exited hundreds upon thousands of eras throughout human history wondering and creating their own meanings in life. The first section of Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning” in essence focuses on how only the concentration camp prisoners who felt they had a purpose to their lives, a goal or future to live for, survived....   [tags: Meaning of life, Life, Philosophy of life]

Powerful Essays
846 words (2.4 pages)

Happiness Is The Meaning And Purpose Of Life Essay

- Good afternoon and welcome to the Annual English Teachers Association Conference. The great aristotle once said, “Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence”. Today we will be discussing The Search for Meaning: Happiness and Existence - A Student’s Perspective. Happiness is defined as “a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure or joy.” The Dalai Lama once said “happiness is not a luxury but the purpose of our existence.” We, like the Dalai Lama, believe that happiness is the meaning of life....   [tags: Meaning of life, Absurdism, Existentialism, Life]

Powerful Essays
1185 words (3.4 pages)

An Reflection Of Life 's Meaning Essay

- The theistic response to life’s meaning is when one believes their life’s meaning is to live according to God’s Plan. The type of people that usually have this response to the question of life’s meaning are religious people. From a religious standpoint, as a child you are taught that God created you and he has a specific plan for your life, so if you are raised in the church it is engrained in you from a young age that God decides your meaning of life. People that do not believe in God would completely reject this response....   [tags: Meaning of life, Human, Plato, Life]

Powerful Essays
802 words (2.3 pages)

Definition Essay : Meaning Of Life

- Meaning Of Life I have always been to asking myself what is meaning of life. or what I supposed to do . or what I have to achieve. . Meaning of life what 's you have been given. what you have given by different kind of human. Or what I believe or what I do not believe in life .Everybody have Meaning of life it depends between person to person, I found myself when I was young because my parents always talk about experience in their life.Throughout my entire life ,I have wondered about the significance meaning of life that has beneficial for the people, because the life is beginning odds and ending odds .Even though struggle of life, I believe meaning of life are ,regional ,ambition, partic...   [tags: Meaning of life, Life, Spirituality, Religion]

Powerful Essays
1117 words (3.2 pages)

Essay about Finding the Meaning of Life

- "Students in our best universities do not believe in anything, and those universities are doing nothing about it..." -- Allan Bloom The function of the university, according to Bloom, is to remind students of the importance and urgency of the question, and to give them the means to pursue it. Instead, universities teach us that there is no absolute right or wrong, no just and unjust. There are no absolute answers in today’s society. Rather, everything is relative; relative to culture, to religion, to geography, and to time....   [tags: Meaning of Life, 2015]

Powerful Essays
694 words (2 pages)

Happiness Is The Meaning And Purpose Of Life Essay

- Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, said in his book “Nichomachean Ethics” that "happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the aim and end of human existence." (Aristotle). He means that happiness is a central purpose of human life. It is true when we all wish to be happy. However, when we are asked what happiness is, we cannot define happiness in a general concept because it means something different to each individual person. For example, for one person, happiness is a sense of satisfaction from success in career, whereas for others, it may be a feeling of being loved by other people....   [tags: Happiness, Emotion, Psychology, Meaning of life]

Powerful Essays
1176 words (3.4 pages)