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    • Join Date: Feb 2007
    • Posts: 283
    #1

    Beckett aporia

    "Can it be that one day, off it goes on, that one day I simply stayed in, in where, instead of going out, in the old way, out to spend day and night as far away as possible, it wasn't far. Perhaps that is how it began."
    (first page of "unnamable" by Beckett)

    Please help me understand the meaning and syntax of the above sentence. there is so many pauses and interuptions and I can't find the right way to logically connect these parts .


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #2

    Re: Beckett aporia

    Ah - well - Beckett! What more need be said!

    Can it be that one day, off it goes on.

    That one day I simply stayed in - in, where, instead of going out in the old way to spend day and night as far away as possible, it wasn't far [[to go]].

    Perhaps that is how it began.


    • Join Date: Feb 2007
    • Posts: 283
    #3

    Re: Beckett aporia

    ok let's begin from the first sentence.(Can it be that one day, off it goes on.

    Why you put a dot at the end of that, while in the book there is a "," instead of that? Is it a complete sentence and what is its meaning?


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #4

    Re: Beckett aporia

    Beckett was completely idiosyncratic in how he wrote. He generally wrote in French as well as English, and his English at times is tortuous and torturous. He is trying to mimic the curiously illogical way in which people actually speak.

    What I have tried to do is assess for logic in the writing, and then to break the long convolution into logical sentences.

    So the first logical sentence [in my interpretation] ends at the word on - being the verbal phrase "goes on".


    • Join Date: Feb 2007
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    #5

    Re: Beckett aporia

    But the whole sentence continues with "that one day".. It seems to me that The Author wants to say " can it be that one day I simply stayed in..." but after saying some words he remember something to say as an afterthought (off it goes on) and when he returns to the main stream of thought he feels obliged to repeat the some parts to make a connection between interrupted parts. Is it right?


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #6

    Re: Beckett aporia

    Exactly - just as people do when talking!

    But when it is written down, it can become a jumble, so to identify meaning it can help to break it up into logical sections.


    • Join Date: Feb 2007
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    #7

    Re: Beckett aporia

    Well done!
    Now what does the first line (according your parsing) mean?
    Why the "can" is before "it"? is it a question or conditional clause? what does " off it goes on" mean?


    • Join Date: Feb 2007
    • Posts: 283
    #8

    Re: Beckett aporia

    ?

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    #9

    Re: Beckett aporia

    Quote Originally Posted by nimsooze View Post
    ?
    Are you absolutely certain you need to read Beckett at this stage of your learning?


    • Join Date: Feb 2007
    • Posts: 283
    #10

    Re: Beckett aporia

    Yesssss. And besides, I think you must answer my Beckettian questions at this stage of your teaching!

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