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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Cortazar, Derrida and Rayuela as a parable-parody of writing Jaeck, Lois Marie


"Cortazar, Derrida and Rayuela as a Parable-Parody of Writing" interprets the novel "Rayuela" as a metaphorical representation of the forces which engender the movement of signification in writing. As Julio Cortazar is not a philosopher hut a novelist, I have utilized some of Jacques Derrida's theories concerning the origin, force and movement of signification of writing (as outlined in "De la Grammatologie", "L'Ecriture et la Differance" and "La Differance") in order to clarify the thesis that "Rayuela" is a metaphorical delineation of a philosophy of writing. The Introduction to the thesis explains how the hopscotch chart, whose graphic design serves as a pattern for "Rayuela's" structure, movement and plot, embraces the same counterpository tension between the outside and the inside, the physical and the metaphysical which writing entails. Chapter one analyzes changes in "Rayuela's" structure, character relationships and milieus as parallelisms of the changing perception of the sign of writing, as writing progressed from being understood within the logocentricism of the metaphysics of presence, to being comprehended as a non-centered totality whose movement of signification is one of infinite reflection on itself. Chapter two interprets "Rayuela" as a parable-parody of the rupture of writing with the concept of a center and the consequent opening of the freeplay of the text, which assumes the form of a movement of supplementarity as a result of the need to supplant the lack of a center. Chapter three examines the possibility of the exit of sense from writing, comparing Derrida's postulates on the above subject with those of Cortazar expressed directly through Moreilli, or inferred by the ultimate outcome of Oliveira's futile attempt to reach a metaphysical center beyond language. The Conclusion of the thesis synthesizes the concepts explained in chapters one, two and three by interpreting the string labyrinth which Oliveira constructs in the mental asylum as a symbolic model of the accomplistic-antagonistic relationship of writing to speech or a full presence, which is responsible for engendering the labyrinth of significations which the book or writing sketches as the novel unfolds itself. The Conclusion posits Rayuela as the incarnation of differences within which sense realizes itself as an inexpressible differing from itself.

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