This Is Not a Character: Resemblance and Similitude in Etgar Keret’s Suddenly, a Knock on the Door

Nurit Buchweitz


The article is concerned with reading Etgar Keret’s Suddenly a Knock on the Door (2010) for the character. Shot through with postmodern skepticism about the concept of character, Keret’s stories are particularly well placed to net the contemporary sense of rupture between character and the affirmation of reality.

Keret’s depiction of character is analyzed using Michel Foucault’s distinction between Resemblance and Similitude, introduced in his book This Is Not a Pipe. Building on Foucault’s distinction, I argue that Keret dismisses the old equivalence between resemblance and affirmation and brings pure similitudes and non-affirmative verbal statements into play, thereby creating the instability of character and a disoriented characterization. This principle manifests itself in a variety of techniques, in all of which the verbal objects, that are there seemingly representing character, even though they bear a resemblance to what we think is recognizable, are in fact misleading.



Character; Resemblance; Similitude; Foucault; Suddenly a Knock on the Door

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