Anxiety of Textual Incarceration and Resistance to Self-Interpellation: Samuel Beckett’s Juggling with the Modes of Self-Representation
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The present study proposes that Samuel Beckett's famous reluctance to engage in the textualization of his personal life may be rooted in his apprehension towards the potential constriction of his self in the medium of language. This apprehension may have been further exacerbated by the fear of his life becoming subsumed by the written word. The notion that "we are what we say we are" postulates that one's identity is shaped by their own self-expression. In the context of biography, this notion can be extended to "we are what is said we are." Explaining his concept of interpellation, Louis Althusser, posits that various ideological apparatuses create a set of assumptions, attitudes, and desires that constitute an individual's self-identity. I argue that biography being an ideological apparatus of its own kind might do the same. Beckett's reluctance to engage in the textualization of his personal life may be a result of his desire to avoid the possibility of his self-identity being interpellated or defined by such texts. This may also explain his attempts to eliminate recognizable markers of his life from his work and his assertion of an absolute disconnection between his life and his work.
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