Multifold Myths of Origin

A Creative Translation of Derrida’s Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences

By: Margaret Fisher



Myth of the King’s Stone

Or the First Bricoleur

(Levi Strauss’ “Problem of Incest” and Bricolage as the Repurposing of Tools No Longer Thought Useful)


There once was an old king who ruled over a large kingdom with his three children: an eldest son, a daughter, and a youngest son. Though a fair and well-loved ruler, the king, in his old age, had begun to question his own strength of command. Despite his doubts, he remained confident that peace was assured so long as the King’s Stone, the supreme law of the land, existed to govern the actions of his people.

The King’s Stone was little more than a giant slab of rock upon which was carved the laws of all the land’s previous rulers. The people of the land, however, had such faith in the stone as an instrument of peace that nothing could persuade them to violate its mandates.

And so it was that one day, the king caught his eldest son and daughter in the act of incest. Heartbroken and disgraced, the king had them both arrested and brought to trial.

Now this particular kingdom possessed two distinct courts of judgment: The Court of Natural Law and The Court of Social Law, and the King’s Stone dictated which crimes would be tried by each court.

Incest, however, had never been committed in the kingdom before. Going to the King’s Stone for guidance, the king found that there was no law to mandate how his children should be tried.

Troubled, the king turned to his most learned advisors. Some believed incest was a violation of natural law, others a transgression against the social law of the kingdom. However, even the wisest of these men was unable to determine which court had supreme jurisdiction over the crime.

Months passed in long hours of scholarly debate, pouring over every detail of the King’s Stone, searching for some clue to guide their judgment. Meanwhile, the prince and princess remained in jail awaiting their trial. They knew, as did all the king’s subjects, that the distinction between courts was critical: a violation of social law could be punished with life imprisonment, but a violation of natural law was punishable by death.

Fearing for the lives of his elder brother and sister, the king’s youngest son devoted himself to long hours of study, tracing the origins of the crime of incest. He poured over ancient manuscripts, remaining so long in the dimly lit halls of the kingdom’s libraries that the sun’s light blinded his eyes.

All the while, the king’s subjects grew uneasy. They began to lose faith in the King’s Stone and the king himself. How could the king protect them if the very foundation of their law could not answer the question of incest? They began to meet in secret, some even plotting to overthrow the king and his family line in favor of a new law.

The king, receiving word of these plots, called all of his subjects together. Surrounded by his guards, he pleaded with his subjects to continue their lives in peace.

“How can we?” they cried, “The law of the land, the King’s Stone, has become useless!”

The king stood quiet for a long time, then turned back to his subjects and said,

“The King’s Stone is not useless. I have discovered a way that it can be used to judge the crime which has undone us all.”

The people then watched in silence as the king ordered his son, daughter, and the King’s Stone brought out before the crowd.

“Now,” said the king to his guards, “push the stone over.”

His guards protested, but the king commanded once more, “Push the stone over!”

The crowd watched in horror as the stone swayed and then crashed down on top of the prince and princess, crushing them to death.

“There.” Said the king, “The King’s Stone is not useless. Look how it has judged the crimes of my children.”

Not wishing to look upon the bodies of his son and daughter, the king returned home. He ordered his men to bring the stone and place it in a corner of the castle, in case someday it again proved a useful and necessary tool.


Myth of the Bricoleur and the Engineer

(The Bricoleur as Literary Scavenger and Functional Engineer)


The night was dark, and in the wake of the battle, the Bricoleurs stepped quietly between the bodies of fallen men and machines, collecting the parts and pieces still intact.

    As he stepped, one Bricoleur in particular combed hungrily through the rubble and ruin, searching for a limb or part that might be considered truly complete. This Bricoleur, being young, had never seen a complete thing before, beyond the parts that made up himself and his friends. His particular troupe of Bricoleurs always arrived up after the battle, in the wake of the carnage, existing only to pick up the pieces that could still be used, before moving on to the next site. That was the arrangement.

    The Bricoleur had heard tales of the Great Engineer. The one who created complete things from whole cloth. The one who made something from nothing. He hoped, each time he stepped onto a new field of ruin, that he might find a trace of this Great Engineer, a sign of a perfect whole made from nothing.

    As he moved through the field today, however, his hopes seemed even more impossible than usual. These bodies and machines were especially destroyed, nothing still intact except the smallest bits of connecting pieces. As he moved along, head down and peering through the ruin, he nearly tumbled over a large rock-like thing in the midst of the field.

It was a man, hunched over in the dirt, crying. He seemed lost, holding the remains of a destroyed machine in his oil-stained hands.

“Who are you?” asked the Bricoleur.

“I am the creator of this machine,” said the man sadly, “I assembled him from parts I had collected for five years. I was able to keep him for a time, but I knew he would have to go, to fight with the others. I came today to see if he survived, to see if he could be fixed.”

“Why would you waste time trying to fixing him?” asked the Bricoleur, “You can take the parts that still work, and make something new from them.”

“I would rather fix him,” said the man, “I am capable of it, if he wasn’t so ruined.”

“But why would you do it?” asked the Bricoleur.

“Because I’m an engineer. That’s what I do.” he said

“You are no Engineer,” said the Bricoleur, “There is only The Great Engineer. Besides, an engineer makes things from whole cloth, from nothing. You are a Bricoleur, same as me. Same as all of us.” He gestured to his friends collecting parts further out in the littered field.

    The sad man shook his head.

“No.” He said, “No. I am an engineer. I have always been an engineer. ”

“You can’t be!” cried the Bricoleur, “If you are an engineer, then so am I. And I am a Bricoleur.”

“I don’t care much what you are,” said the man, “I am an engineer. I collect parts, I learn how they work, and I make something from them.”

He stared quietly down at the broken mash of parts beneath his feet,

“But I can’t make them last.”

And with that he stood, gathered the remains of his fallen machine, and walked slowly away. The Bricoleur sat and stared after him, trying to imagine making something from nothing. He remained in that spot, unmoving, for a long time; until the sun began to sink beneath the hills and darkness moved in to flood the cluttered remains.




“Archie De-Bunker and the Bowling Team”[i]

A script modified[ii] by Adam Fales 

Thumbnail image Copyright CBS Television 1975 via Wikimedia


            Edith Bunker

            Archie Bunker/De-Bunker


            Studio Audience

            Stagehand with sign that says “LAUGH” on one side and “CLAP” on the other


Scene: Interior, the Bunker household.



Archie, how do you want me to lace these?


Through the holes, Edith, through the holes.

STAGEHAND, holding sign: “LAUGH”


No, I mean, do you want me to lace them over or under?


What’s the différance?


Well, you see if you lace them over they show more and—


I do not believe that today there is any question of choosing—in the first place because here we are in a region (let us say, provisionally, a region of historicity) where the category of choice seems particularly trivial; and in the second, because we must first try to conceive of the common ground, and the différance of this irreducible difference.[iii]

STAGEHAND, holding sign: “LAUGH”


Oh, I’m sorry, Archie, I misunderstood you. You see when you say what’s—


To a considerable degree, we have already said all we meant to say. Our lexicon at any rate is not far from being exhausted.[iv]

STAGEHAND, holding sign: “LAUGH”


With the exception of this or that supplement, our questions will have nothing more to name but the texture of the text, reading and writing, mastery and play, the paradoxes of supplementarity, and the graphic relations between the living and the dead; within the textual, the textile, and the histological.[v]


What is the status of those conventions of language?[vi]

STAGEHAND, holding sign: “LAUGH”


No longer is any truth value attributed to them; there is a readiness to abandon them, if necessary, should other instruments appear more useful. In the meantime, their relative efficacy is exploited, and they are employed to destroy the old machinery to which they belong and of which they themselves are pieces.[vii]


No regular way leads from these intuitions into the land of the ghostly schemata and abstraction; words are not made for them; man is struck dumb when he sees them, or he will speak only in forbidden metaphors and unheard-of combinations of concepts so that, by at least demolishing and deriding the old conceptual barriers, he may do creative justice to the impression made on him by the mighty, present intuition.[viii]


Turned towards the lost or impossible presence of the absent origin, this structuralist thematic of broken immediacy is therefore the saddened, negative, nostalgic, guilty, Rousseauistic side of the thinking of play whose other side would be the Nietzschean affirmation, that is the joyous affirmation of the play of the world and of the innocence of becoming, the affirmation of a world of signs without fault, without truth, and without origin which is offered to an active interpretation. This affirmation then determines the noncenter otherwise than as loss of the center.[ix] 

STAGEHAND, holding sign: “LAUGH”


Where the man of intuition, as was once the case in ancient Greece, wields his weapons more mightily and victoriously than his contrary, a culture can take shape, given favorable conditions, and the rule of art over life can become established.[x]

STAGEHAND, holding sign: “LAUGH”


Here there is a kind of question, let us still call it historical, whose conception, formation, gestation, and labor we are only catching a glimpse of today.[xi]


What matters is that it betrays a spirit who will one day fight at any risk whatever the moral interpretation and significance of existence.[xii]

STAGEHAND, holding sign: “LAUGH”


I employ these words, I admit, with a glance toward the operations of childbearing—but also with a glance toward those who, in a society from which I do not exclude myself, turn their eyes away when faced by the as yet unnamable which is proclaiming itself and which can do so, as is necessary whenever a birth is in the offing, only under the species of the nonspecies, in the formless, mute, infant, and terrifying form of monstrosity.[xiii]

STAGEHAND, holding sign: “LAUGH”


What to call it?[xiv]


If one calls bricolage the necessity of borrowing one’s concepts from the text of a heritage which is more or less coherent or ruined, it must be said that every discourse is bricoleur.[xv]


Like form, a concept is produced by overlooking what is individual and real, whereas nature knows neither forms nor concepts and hence no species, but only an ‘X’ which is inaccessible to us and indefinable by us.[xvi]

STAGEHAND, holding sign: “LAUGH”

ARCHIE DE-BUNKER, Standing up, angrily storming out:

One need not be a Marxist or a communist in order to accept this obvious fact. We all live in a world, some would say a culture, that still bears, at an incalculable depth, the mark of this inheritance, whether in a directly visible fashion or not.[xvii] 

STAGEHAND, turning sign: “CLAP”

Artist's Statement

            There is something to be gained when some of Western Philosophy’s greatest thinkers are thrust into the hell of an American sitcom alongside a live studio audience. Paul de Man does this almost as a joke in “Semiology and Rhetoric,” but—perhaps as an extended part of this performance—I decided to take his joke seriously. De Man refers to a specific scene in All in the Family, in which the show’s protagonist joins a bowling team. I present a new scene in which Archie Bunker has been transformed into the Archie De-Bunker that Paul de Man imagines. This Archie De-Bunker is haunted by the spirit of Jacques Derrida, and only speaks in direct quotes from the great French theorist’s work. So that Archie does not get lonely, I replaced the lines of his co-star Michael Stivic, with quotes from de Man’s other suggestion for a De-Bunker: Friedrich Nietzsche. In order to have some semblance to the original scene, I kept Edith’s lines the same.

            This modified script complicates “intention,” as defined by The Dictionary of Untranslatables in its section “Intention, representation, and aim.” This conception of intention posits, “every cognitive act (sensible or intelligible) requires an aspectus…’ending in actuality on an object’” (Libera, 510). “A representation, an image, a species, or a ‘presential object’” substitutionally presents itself instead of the end result of the cognitive act (510). This representation of the cognitive act’s intent resembles de Man’s end result of a reading that is held in a “state of suspended ignorance” that requires someone to decipher it, someone to perceive the representation (de Man 1378). This representation is the same function that de Man identifies in the way the “object engenders the sign” (1370). 

            The quotes form Nietzsche or Derrida (sometimes quite lengthy) are divorced from their intended use, placed into a context that forces a different interpretation of the quotation and speaker’s intent. The “original” intent lingers within the script, held in place by the endnotes that give the source for the quote. These two De-Bunkers seem to converse grammatically, but rhetorically, they may or may not be talking to each other. The performance requires its spectator, existing in the form of the live studio audience, to construct meaning in the misplaced quotes.

            The script maintains its original order of speaker and laughter. The content of the speakers’ lines is the only thing that has changed. In light of the new content, the laughter seems out of place, commanding the live studio audience to laugh at something, which is almost definitely not a joke. Typically an indicator of something funny, the laughter plays a similar role to the question mark in de Man’s discussion of the rhetorical question. Instead of being able to decipher the true meaning of the rhetoric, the spectator is forced through the commanding sign “LAUGH” to interpret the non-joke as a joke. They must laugh when the sitcom demands laughter, and as the performance ends, they are not even allowed to disapprove, forced to “CLAP” by the sign made out of the same sheet that forced them to laugh. The studio audience is then forced into the same Hell of Edith Butler, who is forced by her lines to idiotically interpret the rhetorical question literally. This is what I mean by a Hell, that world in which we are devoid of choice, forced into a single intention that may or may not make sense. This is the Hell of the sitcom, in which we are forced to join into the laughter, whether or not we hear a joke.



“Archie and the Bowling Team.” All in the Family. Writ. Norman Lear et al. Dir. Bob LaHendro and John Rich. CBS. Online.

De Man, Paul. “Semiology and Rhetoric.” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 2010. Print.

Derrida, Jacques. “Dissemination.” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 2010. Print.

---. “Specters of Marx.” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 2010. Print.

---. “Structure, Sign, and Play.” Writing and Difference. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978. Print.

Libera, Alain de. “Intention.” Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon. Ed. Barbara Cassin, Steven Rendall, and Emily S. Apter. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014. Print.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. “Attempt at Self-Criticism.” Art and Its Significance: An Anthology of Aesthetic Theory. Ed. Stephen David Ross. 3rd ed. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994. Print.

---. “On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense.” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 2010. Print.


Notes to Script





[i] A bibliography is included at the end of the artist’s statement.

[ii] “Archie and the Bowling Team”

[iii] “Structure, Sign, and Play”; p. 293

[iv] “Dissemination” p. 1698

[v] ibid.

[vi] “On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense”; p. 766

[vii] “Structure, Sign, and Play”; p. 284

[viii] “On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense”; p. 773

[ix] “Structure, Sign, and Play”; p. 292

[x] “On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense”; p. 773

[xi] “Structure, Sign, and Play”; p. 293

[xii] “Attempt at Self-Criticism”; p. 172

[xiii] “Structure, Sign, and Play”; p. 293

[xiv] “Attempt at Self-Criticism”; p. 173

[xv] “Structure, Sign, and Play”; p. 285

[xvi] “On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense”; p. 767

[xvii] “Specters of Marx”; p. 1736


Solubility Dissolving by Santiago Aguado

Ah, the problem. Problematic, the problem. Where'd it go? Elusive, the 

problem—chemically unstable. The problem is always the subject. Subject? Subject 

of what? Who knows. Imponderable is the problem. The problem is imponderable. 

Not that it cannot be pondered. It can. It must. It has Is that the problem? 

Nope. The problem confuses, but it is not confused—it is not-confused. So non-

confusion would not be a problem? I am confused. If I am confused and I said non-

confusion was the problem, then I am in big the problem's offspring. The offspring 

of the problem. That would be a good title for this. TROUBLE! Problem. It doesn't 

even sound like a word any more. Problem. Prob-lem. Proble-m. Paroblem. 

Parolbem. Blemprob. Blemprob. Glob. Problem! Problem! The problem could be 

chanted like the theme song to the 2013 pillow fight in Washington Square Park. 

Pillows! Pillows! Problems! Problems! Maybe we should start a political party called 

Problem. A sociopolitical problem party called Problem. But we wouldn't accept 

anarchists because then our offspring would eat us. Problem! Solution


La Dernière Personne

By : Kanika Sharma



Chapitre 1

La Surprise

Il était huit heures et demie. Il faisait très beau. Les oiseaux chantaient, le vent soufflait et les feuilles des arbres tombaient sur le terrain herbeux mouillé. Les gens allaient au travail. Les bus, les vélos, les taxis animaient les chemins.  Deux hommes sont entrés dans le commissariat. Un homme portait un beau costume avec une veste, un manteau léger, des chaussures à la mode, une écharpe grise et un chapeau brun. L’autre homme portait un pantalon court, des baskets et une chemise sale. Ensemble, ils étaient les meilleurs détectives de l’état parce qu’ils résolvaient tous les crimes du vol à  l’assassinat. Depuis quelque temps, la ville était calme, trop calme…


« Qu’est-ce qui se passe commissaire?» Drôle a crié. Soudain, il a réalisé l’erreur et il a murmuré à lui-même « Zut, nous avons oublié que le commissaire… »

« Vous deux ne m’avez  pas donné mon café du matin avec de la vanille et du caramel que vous obtenez toujours pour moi. Il faut que vous me le donniez maintenant !!!!!»

Sans rien entendre, Monsieur Savant dit « Zut, ces chaussettes sont trop serrées. Oh, parce qu’elles appartiennent à ma sœur. Elle sera très fâchée.  Je veux du gâteau au chocolat, mmm. J’ai faim… Quoi ? Désolé Qu’est-ce que vous dites?»

Monsieur Drôle dit,  « Rien, ne vous inquiétez pas à ce sujet Savant. Je suis très désolé commissaire, nous serons de retour dans quelques secondes !»  

Drôle voulait que Savant disparaisse. Il a tiré Savant à l’extérieur du bureau et a commencé à aller au café. Les deux inspecteurs marchaient sur le trottoir à côté de la rue. Ils s’ennuyaient.

Monsieur Drôle a imité Savant « Je veux du gâteau au chocolat mehmehmehmehmeh. Vous n’utilisez jamais  votre cerveau ? Avez-vous un cerveau ? Je ne sais pas… hufff. Vous savez que le commissaire nous virera si nous ne faisons pas ce qu’il dit ? OUA! J’ai oublié que je parle à une coquille de cacahuète.»

«  Où est la cacahuète ? J’ai très faim.»

Ce type de discussion a continué jusqu'à ce qu’ils soient entrés au Café Rouge.

« Ahhh Drôle ! Mon ami ! Qu’est-ce que tu veux aujourd’hui ? Le normal ? J’ajouterai votre poudre à la cannelle préférée gratis. »

« Non merci Clément, j’ai besoin d’acheter un café avec de la vanille et du caramel pour Commissaire Biret. »

« Bien sûr ami, UN NUMERO CINQ ! Dépêchez-vous, il y a une longue queue! Oui monsieur, qu’est que vous désirez ? »

Drôle a dit, « Notre travail est très ennuyeux. Personne ne fait rien. »

A cette seconde, une Mercedes-Benz noire s’est garée près du bord du trottoir et un homme est sorti de la voiture. Il portait un costume Armani luxueux et élégant avec de nouvelles chaussures noires. Son nom ? Raymond Richeau. Le vent soufflait dans les beaux cheveux bruns. Avec chaque pas qu’il faisait, ses lunettes de soleil, Ray Ban,  reflétait les visages choqués de tout le monde. Les gens le regardaient comme s’il était Charlie Chaplin ou le fantôme de William Shakespeare. Il a marché dans le café, a commandé un café et est sorti comme si c’était sa routine quotidienne. Comme les deux détectives étaient curieux et s’ennuyaient, ils ont pris le café et ont décidé de suivre Richeau et ont essayé de ne pas être remarqués.

Les deux hommes suivaient Richeau dans leur voiture. La Mercedes conduisait rapidement dans la rue et ils luttaient pour se maintenir. Les inspecteurs ont dit au chauffeur de conduire à côté de la Ferrari. Le chauffeur s’appelle Dorant Libord. Il portait les gants, une veste blanche, un costume et des lunettes de soleil et semblait calme et mystérieux. Enfin ils ont atteint un immeuble laid et vieux. Quand ils l'ont vu, ils ont pensé « Olala quel endroit bizarre ! »                                                                                                                                                                                        

Drôle a chuchoté à Savant « Ay! Je suis certain que Richeau n'habite pas ici, il habite au 16ème arrondissement. Je connais cette région, nous sommes entrés dans la banlieue. Je doute que Richeau habite ici. »

Savant s’est écrié "Mais comment tu sais? Oh oui oui, tu as dit, parce qu' il est riche. Bien bien."

Drôle a secoué la tête.

Soudain, Richeau est entré dans l’immeuble. Les deux hommes ont couru immédiatement à côté de l’immeuble. Drôle a demandé à Savant de sortir les jumelles. Savant a sorti les jumelles et regardait ce que Richeau faisait. Il est entré dans l’appartement d'une fille! Les deux hommes étaient étonnés.


Chapitre 2

Une Visite

Le lendemain matin, les inspecteurs ont décidé de suivre Richeau dans tous les endroits pour comprendre sa journée habituelle. Ils faisaient semblant de lire des magazines quand Richeau a acheté son café. Après, il est allé au travail. Les deux se sont déguisés en portant des costumes et des lunettes. Quand ils sont arrivés à la réception, ils ont reconnu la même femme de l’appartement. Elle était très séduisante et attractive. Son blouson était serré, sa jupe, courte et son style de parler, unique.

« Bonjour madame. Il fait très chaud aujourd’hui, n’est-ce pas ? » Savant a dit.

La femme a dit séduisamment, « Oui monsieur, il fait 90 degrés Celsius aujourd’hui. »

Savant n’était pas sûr de ce qu’elle disait. S’il faisait 90 degrés Celsius, le monde aurait fondu.

Drôle a chuchoté, « Savant, elle est très stupide, continue de marcher, elle ne réalisera pas que nous échappons.

A midi, quand les deux hommes étaient fatigués de regarder Richeau parler au téléphone, ils voulaient partir pour le déjeuner. Soudain, la femme est entrée dans le bureau de Richeau et a fermé la porte derrière elle. Ils se sont couchés sur le sol et se sont glissés pour se cacher sous la fenêtre du bureau.

Richeau a demandé, « Oui Madame Pèche, qu’est-ce que vous voulez ? »

« Raymond, Raymond…Ferme les rideaux. »

« Non, Priscilla. Tu es au travail. Nous avons des vies différentes au travail et hors du travail. Si quelqu’un nous voit ensemble, je serai mort. »

« Rayyyy, mais JE T’AIME ! Je n’ai pas peur. »

« Qui est le CEO de l’entreprise et qui est déjà marié ? Moi. Donc, il est essentiel que je sois prudent. Nous devons parler plus tard, sors s’il te plait, je suis occupé. »

Les deux inspecteurs ont respiré. Rapidement, ils ont couru hors de l’immeuble et sont allés au poste de police pour en discuter. Quand ils sont arrivés au bureau, ils pensaient à ce qui s’est passé.

Finalement Savant a soupiré, « Elle n’est pas la femme de Richeau, il trompe sa femme. »

Drole a dit sarcastiquement, «Vraiment ?!? ».


Chapitre 3


Le lendemain matin, le téléphone a sonné. Drôle l’a pris et a crié à Savant le titre sur la première page du dernier journal. RICHEAU EST MORT. Le bruit des ambulances et des voitures de police ont éclipsé la ville. Quand Savant et Drôle ont atteint la maison de Richeau, des centaines de personnes y étaient entassées. Ils ont lutté pour se déplacer à travers la foule jusqu’à ce qu’ils décident d’aller par la porte arrière. Il y avait beaucoup de médecins et des officiers de police.

Savant a essayé d’obtenir l’attention de quelqu’un, mais tout le monde était occupé. Ils ont décidé de chercher la maison pour trouver des indices.

Savant a dit, « Drôle, ohé Drôle, viens ici ! Regarde ! » Il a mis des gants et a ramassé un pistolet. « C’est l’un des pistolets les plus avancés technologiquement. »

En marchant, ils ont trouvé deux d’indices : des morceaux de vêtements déchirés et un magnétophone cassé. Les vêtements déchirés ressemblaient à une partie d’une robe noire et une cravate. Ils savaient que la seule chose qui pourrait résoudre le mystère était le magnétophone. Drôle et Savant l’ont donné à un magasin pour les réparations.

La pluie symbolise les larmes qui coulaient sur les visages ridés avec désespoir. Le nombre de personnes à l’enterrement a surpris Drôle et Savant car ils regardaient à travers la clôture du cimetière. Rapidement, les deux inspecteurs ont couru hors de la voiture et sous le toit de la terrasse de l’église. Il est dommage qu’ils ne soient pas invités, mais ils ont réalisé qu’il y avait d’autres priorités comme trouver le meurtrier.

Drôle est entré dans l’église. Savant a dit, « Qu’est-ce que tu cherches? »

Drôle a répondu, « Je cherche une liste des personnes invitées à cet enterrement, car elle nous aidera à développer notre liste de coupables. »

Vingt minutes plus tard ils ont trouvé une liste sur le podium. Drôle a fourré le papier dans sa poche et ils sont sortis. Beaucoup de personnes étaient déjà parties, et il n’y avait plus que deux garçons et une fille.

Drôle était surpris, la femme était l’épouse de Raymond. Chaque fois que Drôle prenait le train pour aller au poste de police, il a toujours vu sa carte d’identité de la banque. Il a dit, « Savant, suis-moi. »

Drôle s’est raclé la gorge,  « Excusez-moi madame. Nous travaillons pour la police et nous sommes en charge de l’assassinat de votre mari. Nous devons poser quelques questions. »

« Oui monsieur bien sûr. Je préfère que nous parlions chez moi. Désirez-vous un café chaud ? »

Chapitre 4

Beaucoup de questions

Elle a apporté des tasses chaudes avec soin dans ses mains tremblantes. Sa personnalité belle, pure et généreuse rayonnait malgré la tristesse qui remplissait ses yeux. Sa belle robe se balançait à chaque pas qu’elle prenait. Avant de s’asseoir, elle a regardé la peinture de son mari défunt et a murmuré  « Veuve. »

Savant a dit, « Mmmm ce café est très délicieux, merci beaucoup. »

« Ce n’est rien. »

« Uhhh madame, je vais vous poser quelques questions au sujet de votre mari et tous ceux qu’il a connus. J’ai une liste de personnes qui ont assisté à ses funérailles et j’espère que vous me direz qui ils sont. »

« Pas de problème ! »

«Qui est Robert Richeau ? Parce que son nom est le même de Raymond, ils doivent être liés, non ? »

« Oui, il est le frère de Ray, mais ils n’ont jamais parlé l’un à l’autre. Ils avaient une lutte parce que leurs parents ont aimé Raymond plus de Robert. Raymond était beau, rusé et un peu arrogant contrairement Robert qui n’est pas beau mais très poli et modeste malgré la richesse de sa famille. »

Drôle a exclamé, «  Est-il marié ? »

Elle a dit, « Non, il est célibataire. Il a refusé de me dire pourquoi, quand,  il me racontait ses secrets les plus profonds. »

Savant écrivait rapidement quelques notes sur la feuille de papier avant de lui poser la question suivante. Il est nécessaire qu’il écrierait toutes les choses.

« Euh, qui est Gérard Lesgants ? »

« Oh, il est le maître de la maison. Raymond ne l’aimait pas. Il était toujours en colère contre lui sans aucune raison. Il est dommage que Gérard travaille dur, mais Raymond n'a jamais semblé contenu. »

« les deux avaient une histoire avant que Gérard ne travaille pour vous ? »

Stella a hésité. « Gérard m’a dit une fois, Ray et lui étaient les meilleurs amis jusqu’à ce que dans la neuvième année Ray l’ait embarrassé. Il travaille pour nous parce qu’il a vraiment besoin d’argent et Ray a oublié son enfance. »

Savant a respiré, « Ohhh, bien. Qui est Mélanie Charbon ? »

« AH ! Elle est mon amie depuis que nous avions deux ans. Nous faisions tout ensemble et nous sommes comme des sœurs. Elle a fait quelque chose pour moi. Si quelqu’un  essaie de me faire du mal, elle me protégera. Maintenant, elle est journaliste de nouvelles à la télé. Je l’aime. »

Drôle a dit, en essuyant ses larmes, « C’est tellement mignon. »

Poliment, Savant a demandé, « Qui est Charles Milon et François Charbon ? »  

Stella a déclaré, « Ils étaient les deux amis proches de Ray, parce qu’ils travaillent ensemble dans le même bureau. Mais récemment Ray a débouté François du travail».

Apres un moment de silence, ils ont déclaré, «S'il vous plaît, acceptez nos excuses d’avoir interrompu votre journée. Vous avez nos plus sincères condoléances. Merci beaucoup pour tout, madame Richeau. » et ils sont partis.

Chapitre 5

Des liaisons

Comme ils marchaient loin de la Richeau mansion, ils pensaient à tous les suspects possibles. Gérard aurait tué Ray en raison des mauvais traitements. Doran aurait tué Ray de l’avoir traité comme esclave. Priscilla aurait tué Ray pour son argent. Toutes ces différentes possibilités ont frustré Savant. Il était tellement en colore qu’il avait besoin d’aller au parc pour se calmer. Quand ils ont atteint le parc, ils ont vu quelqu’un qu’ils se sentaient comme s’ils le connaissaient.

« Pst, Drôle » Savant a chuchoté, « Je pense que c’est Robert parce qu’il ressemble à Ray, mais il est assez laid. Où va-t-il ? Nous allons le suivre ! »

Robert s’est promené sur beaucoup de rues et autour des coins de rues jusqu’à ce qu’il entre dans un bâtiment qui s’appelle La Banque de France. Ils le suivent a l’intérieur et se cachent derrière une chaise. Puis, ils l’ont vu parler à une jolie fille qui était… STELLA ! Savant pense qu’ils ont flirté. Drôle pense qu’il est impossible que Stella ait aimé Robert, mais le plus ils parlaient entre eux, plus ils pensaient la même chose. Ils partent en colère et indignés de leur comportement.

Drôle a crié, « Elle ne nous l’a pas dit! »

Savant a dit, «  Je pense qu’elle savait sans doute que Ray avait une liaison avec Priscilla et elle a décidé de faire la même chose. Quels gens dégoûtants. Elle a probablement tué son mari ! »

Soudain, le téléphone de Drôle a sonné. C’était la personne qui avait réparé le magnétophone, il a demandé qu’il l’obtienne.

Savant a dit quand ils ont arrivé dans le poste de police, « Nous allons l’écouter. »

Il y avait une voix de femme et une voix d’homme. Apres quelques instants de silence Savant s’est écrié « Succès, nous avons trouvé les criminels. C’est logique. Le frère de Ray était jaloux de lui et Stella savait que Ray la trompait alors elle voulait se venger. »

Drôle ne savait pas quoi dire, il était étonné que les gens soient si mauvais !


Apres des jours pour rattacher des choses ensemble, Savant dit à Drôle, « Stella va avoir une fête ce soir, l’endroit idéal pour l’arrêter. »

Drôle est incertain pour qu’il ne réponde pas. Il continue à penser en profondeur dans son instinct. Savant, remarquant le silence, lui dit qu’il y ira à 19 heures et le quitte.

12 heures et 13 heures aucune idée. 14 heures, il se souvenait d’avoir vu un homme et une femme portant des vêtements noirs funéraires qui avaient l’air déchirés, mais cousus ensemble. 15 heures et 16 heures, il reconnait la voix de la femme parce qu’il l’entend souvent. 17 heures et 18 heures, il se souvient d’un homme qui voyait Priscilla avec Ray et il regarde la porte que les lettres de son nom avait l’habitude d’être. FRA…N…C…OI…S ! OLALALA

19 heures !

« JE DOIS ARRETER Savant ! »

Chapitre 6

La boum et boom !

« Quelqu’un veut un peu de champagne ? » le DJ a crié.

Au cours de la musique qui joue de la LP, Stella parlait fort à quelqu’un de sa fête. « Mon ami a organisé cette fête pour moi, donc je serais en mesure de mieux faire face à ma dépression. »  

Savant est entré dans la mansion. Il a saisi le micro et a dit, « Mesdames et Messieurs, je voudrais me présenter. Je suis Inspecteur Savant. Je travaille pour la police et l’agence détective. Je ne veux pas mettre cette fête vers le bas mais je dois annoncer les nouvelles de qui a tué Raymond Richeau… Ils s’appellent…

Drôle est entré dans la maison et a pris le micro des mains de Savant.

« Je suis tellement désolé pour mon ami ivre ici. Il aime prétendre qu’il est un espion haha. Je vais le contrôler. S’il vous plait Dj continuez à jouer de la musique. C’est une fête d’avoir plaisir !»

Tout le monde a commencé à danser et à s’amuser, comme si rien ne s’était passé.

Savant lui chuchote, « Drôle, qu’est-ce que tu as fait ? Nous devons mettre Robert et Stella en prison ! »

« Non Savant. Les criminels sont François et Mélanie Charbon. Les jumeaux Charbon. Mélanie est la journaliste de nouvelles et François travaillait avec Ray. Il a probablement dit à Mélanie que Ray trompait Stella, et Mélanie, étant la meilleure amie de Stella a essayé de la protéger. »

« OLALA, quelle surprise ! Maintenant, nous pouvons les mettre en prison. »

« Non »

« Pourquoi pas ? »

«  Parce que je vais appeler Biret et il va prendre soin d’eux. Allons manger de la crème glacée ! »

Quand ils étaient assis dans le magasin de crème glacée, ils ont entendu les voitures de police et leurs sirènes. Quelques instants plus tard, il y avait du silence. Un silence paisible. Ils ont finalement eu une certaine excitation dans leur vie, peut-être pourraient-ils être promus à un poste égal à celui de Biret. AHA, qui va chercher le café maintenant ?




Cover Image : California Winter by Alvaro Maestro


Imagination: An Internal Reality

By Brittany Gilmartin

While reality is an external landscape for our bodies and senses, the imagination is an internal landscape for our minds and thoughts. A limitless realm that only we ourselves can control, the imagination is a space for us to think freely about the outside world and create a new reality inside of us. This mental reality is a place that we can escape to when we are not satisfied with the real world, as in “Leaf by Niggle” by J.R.R. Tolkien, or find the real world too hard to bear, as in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce. Some may argue that instead of escaping into the fantasy of our imaginations, we should focus on factual knowledge; however, the imagination can teach us about the facts in a new light. Indeed, L. Frank Baum, in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and C. S. Lewis, in The Chronicles of Narnia, use their imaginations to redefine their external realities through allegories, allowing their readers to gain a deeper understanding of these realities than they could have gained through a textbook.

The imagination allows us to extend our minds beyond the boundaries of physical reality. As famous writer J.R.R. Tolkien affirms in his piece “On Fairy Stories,” the imagination is a “sub-creative art which plays strange tricks with the real world and all that is in it” (74). At any moment, we are capable of taking what we experience in the real world and changing it into something more amenable to us in our minds. Most often, this involves making everyday objects and situations more extraordinary. For example, while trees are stationary in the real world, in the imagination, they can do whatever we wish them to, whether that be talking, gesturing, or even singing and dancing. The possibilities are endless and completely up to us. The limitless nature of the imagination also provides us with a space to obtain the freedom that is not available to us in our external realities. Paul Crowther, a respected author and professor of philosophy, declares that the “imagination is not just an aid to freedom, it is an expression of it” (115). In the real world, we are constantly constrained by factors that are, for the most part, completely out of our control, such as our size, social status, and skills. Meanwhile, in our imaginations, we are free to be as big, powerful, cunning, or magical as our hearts desire. Even the weakest of us is fully capable of slaying a dragon inside of his or her own mind. However, the imagination does not always have to involve the supernatural and extraordinary. Wondering how a situation would have turned out if we had made a different decision or picturing ourselves eating ice cream on the beach when we are stuck inside on a rainy day are examples of more simple forms of imagining.

Because the imagination has no limits and is strictly our own, we can make it into an exciting or comforting place to escape to when the real world fails to please us or becomes too difficult for us to bear. In “Leaf by Niggle” by J.R.R. Tolkien, Niggle escapes into his mental reality because he is dissatisfied by the lack of art in the world around him. When Niggle is merely painting his picture, he is not able to escape because his physical ability to paint is limited and external forces distract him from his task. Only when Niggle believes that he has actually entered into his painting does he make a full escape because his imagination allows him to create the perfect realization of his painting. This story suggests that, whenever the real world cannot give us what we want or need, we should look for it in our imagination. Indeed, because we can create anything in our imagination, our imagination can never be lacking. Moreover, because the imagination is only accessible to the imaginer, it can be a place of safety for us to retreat to when we do not have the strength to remain in the real world. In “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce, Peyton Farquhar escapes into his imagination in the moments before his death by hanging. Bound by a noose and unable to escape his physical reality in any way, Farquhar uses his imagination to free himself mentally. This freedom allows him to escape not only the agony that he would have experienced in the face of death but also the uncertainty of whether or not he would live. Farquhar did not know if the rope would strangle him or snap in the real world, so he made it snap in his imagination. Like Farquhar, we cannot know for certain how situations will turn out in the real world, but we can use our imaginations to actualize our desired results in our minds. Farquhar’s mental escape seems so real to him that he believes he actually makes it home safely to his wife until his neck is finally broken by the noose: “At the bottom of the steps she stands waiting…He springs forward with extended arms. As he is about to clasp her he feels a sudden blow upon the back of the neck” (14). This raises the question of whether or not escaping into our mental fantasies is healthy as it can delude us into thinking what we create in our heads is also occurring outside of us. In “On Fairy Stories,” Tolkien claims that, as long as the escape is the “Escape of the Prisoner” and not the “Flight of the Deserter,” the escape “is evidently as a rule very practical, and may even be heroic” (79).  Both “Leaf by Niggle” and “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” support Tolkien’s claim because their main characters, prisoners of their external realities, decide that, rather than submit to the faults and pressures of the real world, they will find a way to fix them and save themselves, even if only in fantasy.

Still, some may argue that the act of escaping into mental fantasy distracts us from the facts. On one hand, factual knowledge is essential because it is the basis for all other forms of thought. For example, if we were never taught what the color blue looks like, the heat of fire feels like, or the ringing of a bell sounds like, we could never utilize any of these senses in the imagination. On the other hand, if we all only knew the facts, the world would be monotonous and boring without the diversity of thought that imagination fosters. In his address to the Liverpool Institute on November 29th, 1877, Viscount George J. Goschen promotes the cultivation of the imagination as a way to “colour” (19) the facts. Most of us would agree with Goschen when he suggests that reading exciting stories of adventure and magic is more appealing than reading a “dry and technical…skeleton [of] histories” (20). Therefore, the imagination should not be seen as an alternative to the facts but rather a means of enhancing them and making them more interesting. Because they interest and excite us, imaginative stories encourage us to think more deeply about what we are reading, making our learning experience more meaningful than if we were just memorizing information out of a textbook.

Indeed, L. Frank Baum, in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and C. S. Lewis, in The Chronicles of Narnia, use their imaginations to create allegorical stories that shed a new light onto their external realities and provide us with a more significant understanding of these realities than facts alone could have. Esteemed American author and historian Henry Littlefield confirms that, although The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a “fairy tale,” it “reflects to an astonishing degree the world of political reality which surrounded Baum in 1900” (48). For example, the Wicked Witch of the West, who uses “natural forces to achieve her ends,” represents the “sentient and malign” landscape of the American West (55). While a textbook would simply state that, at the turn of the twentieth century, Americans were in the midst of developing the West, Baum’s characterization of the West as an evil, green witch clearly and effectively conveys the American people’s fear of this mysterious and dangerous land. Similarly, in The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis redefines reality through his imagination by using his characters as symbols for religious figures. While texts that aim to educate us about religious truths tend to be didactic, Robert H. Bell, a religious and political writer for Commonweal Magazine, points out that The Chronicles of Narnia “thrills without proselytizing its…readers” (12). By using children and animals as characters and adding magical elements, Lewis is able to convey the basic ideas and premises of the Christian faith while also giving us enough room to determine our own beliefs. For example, instead of forthrightly claiming that Judas’ betrayal was an unforgiveable sin, Lewis creates the character Edmund, a confused young boy who betrays Aslan, Narnia’s Christ-figure, and his family but is ultimately able to redeem himself and earn forgiveness. Thus, by using their imaginations, both Baum and Lewis manage not only to educate their readers but also to entertain them and foster their creative, independent thinking.

The imagination, an internal landscape for our thoughts, is a limitless realm in which we can take elements from the physical world and morph them into whatever we please. When the real world fails to satisfy us or becomes too difficult for us to remain in, we can escape into our imagination and attain enjoyment, peace, and safety knowing it is immune from intruders and under our individual control. Some may argue that escaping into the fantasy of our imaginations can delude us and prevent us from acknowledging what is really going on outside of us. Although having an awareness of our external world is important, it does not stand in opposition to our imagination. In fact, our imagination can be used as a tool to enhance reality, making it more interesting and appealing to us. Imaginative stories play upon external realities while also inspiring and exciting their readers, encouraging them to delve deeper into their hidden meanings and allowing them to make new discoveries beyond the facts. Thus, the imagination does not just depend on reality for truths, but reality depends on the imagination for truths as well.  




Works Cited

Bell, Robert H. “Inside the Wardrobe: Is Narnia a Christian Allegory?” Commonweal 22 (2005):

            12. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 1 Nov. 2014.

Bierce, Ambrose. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” Tales of Soldiers and Civilians. San

Francisco: Start Publishing LLC, 2012. 7-14. Print.

Crowther, Paul. “How Images Create Us.” Journal of Consciousness Studies 20 (2013): 101-23.

EBSCO. Web. 27 Oct. 2014.

Goschen, George J. “The Cultivation of the Imagination.” Liverpool Institute. Liverpool, 29 Nov.

1877. Web. 27 Oct. 2014.

Littlefield, Henry M. “The Wizard of Oz: Parable on Populism.” American Quarterly 16.1

(1964): 47-58. Web. 1 Nov. 2014.

Tolkien, John R. R. “On Fairy Stories.” The Tolkien Reader. New York: Random House, 1966.

33-99. Print.

---. “Leaf by Niggle.” The Tolkien Reader. New York: Random House, 1966. 100-20. Print.



Cover Image By: Alvaro Maestro (The Falls)