How does Anne Carson demonstrate the presence of absence in Plainwater and Glass, Irony and God?

In Plainwater, Anne Carson demonstrates the presence of absence by discussing Mimnermos’s use of witnesses or fiction to present events that he wasn’t a part of. In Glass, Irony and God, Anne Carson demonstrates the presence of absence by appearing to become someone who isn’t physically with her.

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As you consider presence and absence in Anne Carson’s Plainwater, you might want to concentrate on her essay about the ancient Greek poet Mimnermos. Addressing fragment 14 (which Carson translated in the previous section), she wonders how Mimnermos could have known about the events that he wrote about....

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As you consider presence and absence in Anne Carson’s Plainwater, you might want to concentrate on her essay about the ancient Greek poet Mimnermos. Addressing fragment 14 (which Carson translated in the previous section), she wonders how Mimnermos could have known about the events that he wrote about. After all, he wasn’t there: he was absent. Yet somehow Mimnermos was able to present these occurrences that he wasn’t a part of.

Carson suggests that Mimnermos might have been able to turn this absence into a presence through people who were physically present. In this case, the presence of absence can demonstrate itself with the help of other humans. Conversely, Carson suggests that Mimnermos made up the events. In this way, Carson implies that the presence of absence can take root via imagination or fiction.

As for a demonstration of the presence of absence in Glass, Irony and God, you might want to focus on “The Glass Essay.” You could discuss the ways in which the speaker makes present the absence of the Victorian novelist and poet Emily Brontë. Early on, the speaker confesses, “I feel like I am turning into Emily Brontë.” Here, the speaker brings the absence into presence by becoming the thing—or person, in this case—that isn’t physically there.

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