“But from my lie this did come true”: The fall of Atom Egoyan’s 'The sweet hereafter and hook tender'.

Soros, Erin (2015) “But from my lie this did come true”: The fall of Atom Egoyan’s 'The sweet hereafter and hook tender'. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

My thesis consists of two interrelated projects. The first analyzes legal and aesthetic testimony in Atom Egoyan’s film The Sweet Hereafter. “But From My Lie This Did Come
True” is an extended meditation on falling: literal accident, communal loss, ethical lapse, and imagistic and linguistic vertigo. Falling is this film’s instigating event, but falling is also a figure for trauma, and its capacity to make reference itself fall. By definition, a trauma exceeds our ability to contain and communicate what we have witnessed or survived. How then can it be possible to testify to a traumatic event and its effects? In dialogue with Paul de Man, Jean Luc Nancy, Sigmund Freud, and Cathy Caruth, I argue that The Sweet Hereafter reveals how one fall can powerfully reference another.
My aim is not simply to apply theory to a film, but also to explore how the film reconfigures the theory. Just as Egoyan’s work adapts a novel to the cinema, my project adapts film to the essay form.
The second part of my thesis excerpts Hook Tender, a novel inspired by archival research and oral history, including travels to BC logging camps and Canada’s Arctic.
Hook Tender explores falling through the actual labour and visceral experience of felling trees. Set in an immigrant logging camp on Canada’s West Coast, the narrative
also dramatizes falling in the ethical and psychological dimensions addressed in my essay. An accidental fall causes Eva to lose a child through still birth, and this loss
instigates an emotional crisis and moral lapse as she begins an adulterous involvement with Charlie, an Inuit logger who communicates injustices survived by Indigenous communities.
So both sections of my thesis offer a sustained reflection on falling: its broken narratives, questionable bearing of testimony, and the incalculable power of its emotional charge.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Brian Watkins
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2016 16:38
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2018 00:38
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/56855
DOI:

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