2014 Pinto Carver Writing Prize Winners Announced!
Congratulations to Kendall Deboer, Synneve Williams, and Jordan Smith
Posted: January 29, 2014
In Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way the narrator is describing his neighbor’s difficulties with his daughter: “But a man like M. Vinteuil must have suffered much more than most in resigning himself to one of those situations which are wrongly believed to be the exclusive prerogative of the bohemia life: they occur whenever a vice which nature itself plants in a child….” We are never told the “vice,” but the narrator goes on to observe: “But the fact that M. Vinteuil perhaps knew about his daughter’s behavior does not imply that his worship of her would thereby be diminished. Facts do not find their way into the world in which our beliefs reside; they did not produce our beliefs, they do not destroy them; they may inflict on them the most constant refutations without weakening them, and an avalanche of afflictions or ailments succeeding one another without interruption in a family will not make it doubt the goodness of its God or the talent of its doctor” (p. 151, translated by Lydia Davis).
Write an essay in which you agree or disagree with the narrator’s (who may call Proust) assertion about fact and belief. Needless to say, the more well developed your thoughts, the more specific your language, the better.