Arsalan Afrasyaw Fatah and Karzan Aziz Mahmood
From an Old Problem to a New Solution: Identity and Ideology in The Egg and the Chicken by Clarice Lispector
This paper analyzes the short story The Egg and the Chicken by Clarice Lispector through an examination of the issues of identity, ideology and gender, arguing that the story can be considered as an essential work of the contemporary moment and its preoccupation with the concept of origins. The selected text is one of the outstanding works by this increasingly well-regarded Brazilian author and reappraises the age-old question of which came first: the chicken or the egg. The short story is explicitly concerned both with its own dialectical language and also with the attempt to open up new philosophical perspectives on the long-standing boundaries of this issue through a discussion of the concept of origins and its deconstruction. The formal language employed in the short story seems somewhat contradictory in its effect, primarily due to its syntactic and stylistic simplicity and clarity through the use of short, informative sentences and simple tenses to break down the given mental images. The story is also notable for the obscurity of the content, invoking semantic and philosophical engagement by utilizing paradoxical and dialectical expressions. The ‘chicken-egg’ paradox is both a quotidian metaphor but also a scientific, religious and philosophical articulation of a multi-dimensional problem which exists on numerous levels. This paper examines the language of the short story and concludes that Lispector’s work re-addresses and problematizes this ancient question by unfolding several potential problems or challenges within the paradox and employing it as a sharp attack on the general conception and acceptance of the egg and chicken problem as an eternal issue, placing a particular focus on the aspects of identity, ideology and gender.
Keywords: chicken, Clarice Lispector, egg, gender, identity, ideology