This essay is the first of a three-part series entitled: The Veil of Esteem: On Seeing Oneself Being Seen. Inspired by Walter Benjamin's “reflection through vignette” method, I inquire into the notions and interconnections between memory and esteem. Esteem is the truth of oneself through the eyes of the other, and any truth of esteem must be told from the perspective of that other, through the spectating other. Thus, I find that any story of esteem is veiled. This first part, Fragment/Never Thinking of Tomorrow, interrogates the role of fiction as a necessary component of the practice of memorialization. The story is narrated not as a representation of a person or of people, but the discourse through which I have been lent her voice. I am the translator through which she is now speaking. The translator is the producer of the discourse that suffocates her and allows her to breathe in gasped breaths, the producer of the discourse that both takes away her voice and gives her voice. The second part of this series, Riddle and Accident, appears in Cultural Studies ⇔ Critical Methodologies Volume 12, Issue 2; the third part, A Loan, appears in Qualitative Inquiry Volume 18, Issue 4.
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