I’ve always been exceptionally fascinated with the first person experience of time. How time can function as an overall framing for the condition of our experience and how duration (Bergsonian Duree) tells us so much about our relationality in spacetime mattering (Barad). The section that stood out to me the most was on page 229 “Every ten minute chunk of May makes an eternity. But once the weeks are finally dead, you feel the month pass in memory in half a heartbeart. Time uses you; it lays you out. It advances glacially, gouging by inches your scarred inner continents. Then it vanishes, leaving behind no single landmark but white” This is basically how I feel about winter in Michigan lol.
But seriously—this section just taught me so much about time and our relationship towards time, the idea of time using you is so fascinating, the idea that our lives are structured according to a certain time frame, the fact that there are right times when our bodies should engage in certain activities and so on. In fact as I write this I look at the time and realize it’s almost 5 o’clock.
This section really exemplifies how time and experience are inherently tied to one another and I never thought of time as a domineering factor in that experiential matrix.
2 thoughts on “Plowing the Dark and Temporality”
The ending of your first sentence, “the first person experience of time.” Instantly caught my eye. Throughout the entire novel, I was curious about the second-person perspective of Taimur’s capture and time spent as a prisoner of war, although I could never come up with anything outside of creating empathy for the character. But I think your post touched on it perfectly – the second person perspective inherently calls attention to our extremely unique “first-person experience of time.” We’ve all had moments where time slows down, flies by, then reverses itself all to start over again.
I think your thoughts about temporality in this novel are spot on. For nearly the entire first half of the book, I struggled to locate the story in historical time. For some reason, the story itself felt futuristic, but dated references like the “walkman” kept throwing me off. I can’t help but think that this might have been intentional. I wonder how others attempted to keep track of time in the novel, and how that affected your understanding of the events of the story. What happens to us as readers when we feel like we cannot place ourselves in time?