CMLIT 102W CUNY Queens Colleg

Analysis
of the novel Transit by Anna Seghers

Topic:
Storytelling and Closure

On
page 159 of Anna Segher’s Transit, the narrator says the following about a man
who was in the French Foreign Legion and has just told him his story, about
sailing to Africa and marching into the desert: “I knew that at this very
moment and at this table, my friend was about to bring this past life of his to
a close. For what has been told is finished. Only after he’s told someone about
his journey, will he have crossed that desert once and for all.”

Explain,
with the help of specific examples, how the statement: “For what has been told
is finished” applies to the nameless first-person narrator’s story: What are
his experiences, and how are they told to the reader as the novel develops?
What moments can you identify as part of a process that leads this narrator to
change his understanding of himself in the world? And how does he, gradually,
reach the point of closure as the story arrives at its being “finished”?

Be
sure to include direct quotations from the novel in your paper. Place the page
number in parentheses after the quote.

Format:
5 pages, 1.5 spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins, no spaces
between paragraphs, quotes over 3 lines should be indented and single-spaced.
add your own TITLE for your paper.

No
external resources!!!

The
following quotes may be helpful and You may choose a couple of these.

“Everyone
was fleeing and everything was temporary. We had no idea whether this situation
would last till tomorrow, another couple of weeks, years, or our entire lives.” Pg 38

“When
I realized that the blue gleam at the end of the Canebiere was the Old Harbor
and the Mediterranean, I felt at last, after so much absurdity, madness and
misery, the one genuine happiness that is available to everyone at any time:
the joy of being alive.” Pg 40

“I
felt ancient, thousands of years old. I had experienced all of this before. But
I also felt very young, and eager for all that was yet to come; I felt
immortal.” Pg 73

“I
was struggling to breathe. I didn’t want to get stuck at the bottom of the sea;
I wanted to die up above, together with the others like me.” Pg 80

“I
realized that I had to push the man away from the table, out of the pizzeria,
out of the city, and across the ocean, as quickly and as far as possible.” Pg 99

“A
leaf blowing in the wind would have an easier time finding its old twig again.” Pg
117

“I
value less glittering, less glorious passions more highly…this fleeting thing
called love…this most serious important thing in the world is so intertwined
with something so ephemeral and trivial…an obligation not to abandon or betray
each other. This is an integral part of that questionable, ephemeral,
transitory affair. But it is not questionable or trivial, or transitory.” –Seidler pg
129

“I
felt anxious, the way you do when a dream seems too real and at the same time
something intangible, imperceptible, tells you that whatever makes you feel
happy or sad can never be reality.” Pg
132

“In
my confusion, my foolishness, I even felt there was a secret understanding
between him and the dead man, and that both were silently laughing at me.” Pg
132

“Finally
he couldn’t bear the waiting any longer. Then they said to him: ‘What do you
think you’re waiting for? You’ve been in Hell for a long time already.’ That’s
what it’s been like for me here, a stupid waiting for nothing.” Pg 155

“God
himself, if there was one, would sooner take back a judgement, would sooner
give the lie to His own inscrutable wisdom.” Pg
170

“For the first time I was gripped by a powerful fear of being
left behind.”-Seidler
pg 185

“At
that point I gave up. I couldn’t catch up with the dead man. He’d hold on to
what was his forever, even in death and into eternity.” –Seidler pg
195

“For
the first time back then, I thought about everything seriously. The fast and
the future, both equally unknowable and also this ongoing situation that the
consulates call ‘transitory’ but that we know in everyday language as ‘the
present’.” Pg 199

“It’s
more likely that I’d get tired of waiting than that she’d get tired of her
search for a dead man who can’t be found.” Pg
204

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