Time, Grief, and Grace: A Bachelardian Interpretation of Nora’s Journey



Gaston Bachelard, The Leftovers, Philosophy of Time, Portrayals of Grief on Screen, Grief Cycle


According to Edward Casey, philosophers have been preoccupied with a central question concerning time; namely, “is time continuous, or is it disruptive?”[1] The answer to this question also determines one’s attitude toward a host of related topics, including grief. The French philosopher Gaston Bachelard argued for the latter, claiming that “time is a reality confined to the instant and suspended between two voids.”[2] Bachelard utilizes dialectical language to juxtapose the existence of the present instant and the nonexistence of the past and future. The benefit of such an approach, with respect to grief, is that it brings to the forefront the reality and persistence of bereavement throughout the individual’s life. As Line Ryberg Ingerslev explains, there has been a tendency to view grief as “a process with the specific aim” rather than “an ongoing activity.”[3] The deficiency of such an approach is that it fails to account for the fact that grief is often a non-linear activity for the individual. Nevertheless, in this grief, Bachelard sees an opportunity for grace. This paper will explore the relationship between time, grief, and grace through the lens of the character of Nora. The character of Nora stands out because of her loss, and the depiction of her grief, but also because she seems to attain some sort of redemption in the end. Although the method by which she obtained such redemption is left vague, as it often is in life, Bachelard’s concept of grace will shed some light on this development. Of special importance here are the ways in which Nora’s character is depicted dealing with her grief and how this representation corresponds to discontinuous metaphysics of time.


[1] Edward Casey, “The Difference an Instant Makes: Bachelard’s Brilliant Breakthrough,” in Adventures in Phenomenology: Gaston Bachelard (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2017), 19.

[2] Gaston Bachelard, Intuition of the Instant, trans. Eileen Rizo-Patron (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2013), 6.

[3] Line Ryberg Ingerslev, “Ongoing: On grief’s Open-Ended Rehearsal,” Continental Philosophy Review 51, no. 3 (2018): 344.




How to Cite

Granado, M. (2021). Time, Grief, and Grace: A Bachelardian Interpretation of Nora’s Journey. Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image, (13), 82–92. Retrieved from https://cinema.fcsh.unl.pt/index.php/revista/article/view/5