Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor's Name

Dr. Ana Luszczynska

First Advisor's Committee Title

Dr. Asher Milbauer

Second Advisor's Name

Dr. Heather Russell

Keywords

Elie Wiesel, The Time of the Uprooted, Jacques Derrida, Jean Luc Nancy, Deconstruction, Literary Criticism, Otherness, The Secret, being-with, Community

Date of Defense

3-21-2014

Abstract

This thesis explores the implications of bearing witness as testimony, and the recuperation of community and identity in the wake of exile. Through a close reading of Elie Wiesel’s The Time of the Uprooted, alongside the theories of Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy (among others), I argue that a True Testimony cannot exist, and yet despite this fact, there is a necessity to bear witness in the face of the Other. The realization suggests an imperative of a different order—one that steps back from the very notion of truth, to instead accept the impossibility of truth in any act of witnessing. By comparing Wiesel’s metaphysical framework to post-structural philosophies, I am able to blur the lines between an exile’s metaphysical feelings of isolation and strangeness from both others and themselves to the effects of recognizing and accepting that all language is différance.

Identifier

FI14040826

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