Whenever I read I’m often struck by similarities to other things I’ve seen/heard and sometimes I laugh a little bit at these moments. The people around me are usually pretty used to the sight/sound of me laughing randomly and sometimes they ask me what’s up. In the absence of people being around me while I’m at home and insist on reading quietly, here are some random thoughts I had on Antigone and Antigone’s Claim.
1. RECENT: Taylor.
“Indeed, consciousness seeks a retrieval of itself, only to recognize that there is no return from alterity to a former self but only a transfiguration premised on the impossibility of return.” (Butler 14)
On that page of Antigone’s Claim, I have a sticky note reading “TS: ‘I’d like to be my old self again, but I’m still trying to find it’”. The quote is a line from a song, “All Too Well”, which she wrote about a relationship which, to my best knowledge, lasted about three months. With that in mind, the song sounds very serious and very sad. Under the lyric is an arrow and my own note: “you can never really go back”. This whole discussion in Antigone’s Claim about trying to go back comes out of one of Butler’s commentaries on Hegel’s work, which are always confusing because like a lot of other people (I would think), I’ve never read Hegel’s analysis of Antigone. Sometimes I find myself in situations where I’m reading a critique of something that I never even knew existed.
A little bit of what I remember from our last seminar which reminded me of this note is Miranda talked about splitting and seeing past versions of ourselves as permanent, with reference to post-structuralism. Naturally, having a brain stuffed full of irrelevant bits and bobs, I brought up Horcruxes.
Naturally, since this post is supposed to be about Antigone, how does she relate to all this? Honestly, I don’t know. The idea of going back is the only thing that jumped out to me in a passage that was otherwise bamboozling and more than a little reminiscent of something else that came up during the seminar: the feeling that at points in Antigone’s Claim, Butler (figuratively) pulls aside a group of people with deeper knowledge and goes, “by the way, here’s this little offshoot of interesting stuff”.
So, I guess, a little tip for Taylor (in case that she hasn’t already figured this out for herself, which I doubt): It’s okay. You can’t go back. Things don’t un-happen.
2. ANCIENT: Elizabeth.
Also on page 14 of Antigone’s claim is a sticky note reading “EB Browning poem”. Rather, this poem. This is in reference to the mentions of Lacan’s idea of “pure Being” (Butler 14, 48). Going back to #1, I think the first time I ever saw this poem was in a commentary about how weird the concept of loving someone for no reason is. How do you do that? I guess it’s one of those ideas that I’ve dismissed with, “Give it some time. I’ll understand it when I’m older”. I’ve dismissed a lot of ideas like this. It’s worked before. Still waiting on this poem, though. Maybe I should go outside more often.
Of course, any thoughts about Elizabeth Barrett Browning are probably accompanied with some nod to this poem. I remember reading this for English 10. This poem makes more sense to me now. I also remember our English 10 teacher talking about how every time you go back to this poem, it has some new or deeper meaning. She was right about many things.
3. NEITHER TOO RECENT NOR TOO ANCIENT: Joni.
The opening of the second chapter discusses the importance of making Kreon’s declaration heard (Butler 27). I thought about this for a bit before adding a note on page 29, in comparatively cramped writing, about something I read once on Joni Mitchell’s Wikipedia page about her writing and giving up her daughter for adoption. I’m not going to quote it, because it doesn’t seem to be cited, but I did just spend some time digging this relevant bit up from one of her interviews:
“When my daughter returned to me, the gift kind of went with it. The songwriting was almost like something I did while I was waiting for my daughter to come back.” (from here)
I think it helped me interpret Antigone’s rash behaviour a little better: she doesn’t have her family to talk to, so she doesn’t mind if everyone knows what she’s doing.
In closing, here’s a music video I like, which is also sort of related to what we’ve been reading lately. Thanks for reading, everyone.