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The termination of a pregnancy is a very private and also a highly political decision because it touches on questions of jurisdiction, gender, religion and class. "Das Ereignis" (English title: "Happening") by Annie Ernaux, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, is the unsparing account of an illegal abortion by first-person narrator Annie during her time as a student in 1963 France.
Ernaux describes both the actual, life-endangering intervention into and society’s encroachment on a female body, including the latter’s powerful mechanisms such as disenfranchisement and stigmatisation. Seen from various points in time, Ernaux is searching for a truthful language to express her memories of a topic that is still largely suppressed today and yet concerns us collectively. As Annie, the young student of literature, endures "the happening" for her physical autonomy as a woman alone and barely survives, later in life, the writer Ernaux experiences the language that she finds for this experience as a happening in itself.