A Lover's Discourse: Fragments Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Briefly describe the lover's sense of engulfment in the section "I am engulfed, I succumb..."/To Be Engulfed.

The amorous subject, whether in a state of misery or joy, feels as if he is annihilated or will disappear. This is an intermediate state, free from the opposition between life and death and a "death liberated from dying."

2. In The Absent One/Absence, how does the lover interpret the other's absence?

It is always the other who leaves and the lover who remains behind waiting. Thus the lover sees absence as a kind of abandonment by the other. The lover believes that he is loved less than he himself loves.

3. How does the mother-child relationship relate to the lover's feelings about the other's absence?

The lover's sense of abandonment brings up childhood feelings about the mother's absence-her long days at work leaving the child alone, waiting. The child plays with a spool, throwing it away, and retrieving it to mimic the mother's leaving and returning so as to delay her possible death. The lover does the same through language.

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