Raymond Carver and Derrida’s Zombie Army

Raymond Carver and Derrida's Zombie Army
Raymond Carver and Derrida’s Zombie Army

It’s the 1960s and a blizzard is raging in Iowa City, a place where Kurt Vonnegut, Jr teaches in the Writers’ Workshop and Gayatri Spivak holds classes in literary theory. This evening Raymond Carver is worried about his wife’s possible infidelity. As Carver is stewing over Maryann’s lateness, Lois, a pretty undergraduate, pops out of the bathroom, regales him with theory, and seduces him. Phoebe Dronfield, a fake fictional character from Vonnegut’s “Slaughter House Five,” rides to the rescue, revealing Lois as a theory-monster, brain-eating zombie. With red-rimmed eyes and a greenish tinge to her face, Lois emerges from the bedroom to explain about Jacques Derrida’s idea of endless layers of meaning, deconstruction, and mise en abyme. Dronfield puts paid to the “missing I beam” idea and helps to peel back the layers of Lois’s identity to reveal the undergraduate’s harmlessness. All ends happily with wife Maryann’s actual demobilization from the Zombie Army. But why has Maryann chosen to buy cauliflower at the grocery store?

Written by James Fitzmaurice (UK)

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