Good Essay On "Racism In The Colonial Context" Using Marguerite Duras' "The Lover"

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Family, Women, Colonization, Colony, Parents, Time, Colonial, Youth

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2021/02/22

This book has been 48th work of Marguerite Duras, bit it was the one to bring her success and mass attention (Duras 1998). This is a story about a love affair between the young French girl from a dysfunctional family and Chinese young man that is 12 years older. These two people men at the ferry bus that was travelling across the Mekong River. First, the story seems to be generally about love, but while reading it, Duras exposes themes of life in the colonized French Indochina and many issues that were present in the colonized society, such as sexuality, gender, age and race (Duras 60). Colonial context therefore shapes this love story and plays the key role in the novel.
This impact can be seen in the drastic shifts of power between the lovers. When a young man first notices the girl on a ferry, he decides to propose her a cigarette. When he gives opens a pack for her, a girl notices that his hand is trembling (Duras 62). She defines it to the reader as the result of their racial difference. The young man understands that he is not white and he wants to show the best he can even despite the fact his race is different. In that period of time, race has a special meaning in Indochina and white colonizers were considered as a privileged society. The author perfectly reveals the hidden aspect of this fake superiority making the girl’s mother a depressed bankrupt widow.
At the same time, Chinese man comes from a wealthy family, he is a son of the business magnate and eventually he begins to buy meals for the girl’s mother and brothers. This affair with the man that own the whole working class in the colony is the best medicine for the tired girl that makes her forget about the scrutiny of her life and the problems within the family (Duras 178).
The main boundary that has to be ruined by the lowers is the colonial attitude towards sexuality. Colonial society of Indochina is extremely conservative and patriarchal that makes such an affair a real challenge for the young girl. Duras solves this problem with the observation of dual nature of girl’s passion and desire. This affair satisfies her and gives financial support to their family. However, the girl is constantly depressed because of the fear that this relationship will be discovered. Such affairs are considered as unacceptable and scandalous because of her age and race. When her family discovers this romance, they do not stop it because they need financial support that this Chinese man is providing them with.
The financial situation prevails over the ethical issues and therefore the relationship lasts for the next eighteen months. This situation shows that all moral values can be forgotten in case the family needs money. But these people still have to live with the same and remorse because of this situation. At the same time, Duras shows the real complexity of such relationship. The girl is crying because she knows that her family has no money and because she feels that her mother does not love her(Duras 114). Moreover, she is afraid that her romantic affair will be discovered and that the whole society will despise her and her family.
The return to the colonial policy and the attitude towards local people is presented by the older brother of a girl. He becomes more and more violent towards the Chinese man. He is considered as representative of the empire that does not accept the relationship of his sister with a man from the colony, of the other race and culture. In the end, mother decides to send him back to France. When the relationship is finally discovered by the man’s father, he enforces his son to finish it. This demonstrates the reaction of the representatives of colonized Indochina, and the same refers to his son that agrees with his father’s decision.
When this affair is finally discovered, it produces great resonance and the family of the girls has to leave the colony and return back to France (Duras 378). The novel is written as the girl’s observation of all these events after the serious period of time. The main idea of such a decision made about the whole family shows the extremely complexity of all the social and cultural issues within the colonial society. All issues that are considered unacceptable reach the maximum grade, the differences between different social classes; cultural and ethnic groups are much more powerful than in France and other countries. People of the colonies are under the serious pressure. At the same time, the old conservative traditions and extremely strict social policy seriously contrasts the image of the land of freedom and wealth- France.

Works Cited

Duras, Marguerite. The Lover. NY: Pantheon, 1998, Print.

Cite this page
Choose cite format:
  • APA
  • MLA
  • Harvard
  • Vancouver
  • Chicago
  • ASA
  • IEEE
  • AMA
WePapers. (2021, February, 22) Good Essay On "Racism In The Colonial Context" Using Marguerite Duras' "The Lover". Retrieved December 04, 2022, from
"Good Essay On "Racism In The Colonial Context" Using Marguerite Duras' "The Lover"." WePapers, 22 Feb. 2021, Accessed 04 December 2022.
WePapers. 2021. Good Essay On "Racism In The Colonial Context" Using Marguerite Duras' "The Lover"., viewed December 04 2022, <>
WePapers. Good Essay On "Racism In The Colonial Context" Using Marguerite Duras' "The Lover". [Internet]. February 2021. [Accessed December 04, 2022]. Available from:
"Good Essay On "Racism In The Colonial Context" Using Marguerite Duras' "The Lover"." WePapers, Feb 22, 2021. Accessed December 04, 2022.
WePapers. 2021. "Good Essay On "Racism In The Colonial Context" Using Marguerite Duras' "The Lover"." Free Essay Examples - Retrieved December 04, 2022. (
"Good Essay On "Racism In The Colonial Context" Using Marguerite Duras' "The Lover"," Free Essay Examples -, 22-Feb-2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 04-Dec-2022].
Good Essay On "Racism In The Colonial Context" Using Marguerite Duras' "The Lover". Free Essay Examples - Published Feb 22, 2021. Accessed December 04, 2022.

Share with friends using:

Related Premium Essays
Contact us
Chat now