‘Moving back and forth of the I’

Parasite and Para-site in Beckett’s The Unnamable

in Critical Survey
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This article examines how in The Unnamable the unnamed narrator is caught up in a busy traffic of assemblage(s), ‘moving back and forth of the I’. Beckett places the narrator in a no-place (para-site), metaphorically both as the host and the (un)invited guest – the ‘no-mad’ who (dis)owns the system. The narrator acts, and is simultaneously acted upon. Sometimes it is the (un)invited guest (the outsider), and sometimes the host (the insider). The narrator, therefore, is the ‘it’ (the ‘quasi-object’), reaffirming Serres’ idea that every subject who parasites the other is simultaneously parasited by an-other: thus, moving the system. This curious interplay of host-guest double-bind makes the narrator exi(s)t within movement(s)-in-thought, with possibilities of seeing (para-sight) what Beckett terms as ‘something quite different’.