Analyze the use of the definite article "The" in the title The Lover.

Quick answer:

The title of Duras's The Lover has intriguing grammatical aspects that relate to the story, including a singular noun and a definite article.

Expert Answers

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To address the statement, it is important to look at the title's grammatical elements and relate it to the content of Marguerite Duras's The Lover.

The title of the story has some notable grammatic features: it is a noun and it is singular. Consider why it is singular and not plural, especially when there are two participants involved in the romantic affair. Does the title refer to the Chinese man or the narrator? In the story, the Chinese man reveals his love for the narrator, while the narrator remains unsure. She had engaged in a romantic attachment with him because she wanted to help her family out financially. As she reflects on the relationship, she wonders if she had been and was still in love with the Chinese man.

The title has other notable grammatic elements; it uses the definite article "The." Recall that definite articles are used when a reader is aware of a noun's identity. Are readers aware of the identity of the lover in the story? Think about who, if anyone, had the upper hand in the relationship and was able to truly engage in the act of love. Was it the narrator or the Chinese man? The Chinese man held more immediate power over the narrator due to his wealth and age, but the narrator reigns over him due to her racial and ethnic background. Who wielded enough power to truly engage in the act of love? Was it the Chinese man—who used his age and money to draw in the narrator? Or was it the narrator—whose social position in her colonial environment is higher than that of the Chinese man?

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