Latour wants us to do some major changing as humans when it comes to looking at innate things and for that matter so does Jane Bennett. The idea of granting power to where it seems to be coming from was exceptionally foreign to me before this class. While Jane Bennett’s motives for granting power are ethically driven, the motives of this class seem to focus more on creating a novel way of reading literature. It amazes me that we have the ability to take a fairly new and steadily emerging theory and apply it to texts that are 100s of years old.
Latour and Bennett both point out the heterogeneous nature of assemblages and the necessity of disentangling them in order to be able to see the agency of everything involved. I feel like this is one of the most important concepts in the entire class because without it I felt somewhat lost. The agency of things seems so much more comprehensible when you take into account the array of actants affecting the final outcome. It seems impossible to look at one particular thing and give it all the agency and power but people tend to do this all the time by giving all the power to humanity.
The rocks in The Franklin’s Tale were revisited during Monday’s class and I think they are a perfect example of the power of assemblages. The rocks never actually hurt anyone but the assemblage that they possibly unknowingly participated in caused a great deal of turmoil. The wife in this tale did not recognize the assemblage and placed all the power on the rocks claiming that they killed people and brought her great troubles. The rocks alone did not do these things. They worked within an assemblage of things such as the ocean, the boats, the men, and even the wife’s blame that caused them to be a burden. It’s interesting to think that if the wife had of never involved them in the relationship between her and her immoral suitor she may have never been faced with the obligation to betray her husband.
The power that the wife gave the rocks seem to be very much like the power that both Latour and Bennett are encouraging society not to give humans. The recognition of assemblages seems to be vastly important to successful thing theory readings of texts, social matters, and ethical matters.