ENG287H1 Lecture Notes - Mimesis, Literary Modernism, Free Indirect Speech
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ENG287 – February 13th, 2013 Instructor – A. Hammond
Introduction to our Class Project, The Brown Stocking
To the Lighthouse is difficult because perceptions and character lens change with no indication.
There isn't a logical, linear progression so it doesn't seem rational. There isn't a neat chronology.
There isn't a transition between the stream of consciousness and actual plot points/actions that
take place. And we aren't explicitly told who is thinking the thoughts that we're being given.
Erich Auerbach's Mimesis has a chapter on TTL called 'The Brown Stocking' he focuses on
chapter 5. 'It is all mere supposition' 'There is no one order and one interpretation, but many.'
There is no one voice that tells us the truth. There are many voices which tell us things but there
is no real truth. The author is no longer the objective narrator who tells us the objective truth. To
get to the truth there has to be interpretation of all the thoughts from all the characters. There is
no governing authority - multi personal representation of consciousness. The characters tell the
story, there is no narrator. That, for Auerbach, is Modernist literature. It recognises that everyone
is an author of their own story. There is never just one interpretation.
For Bakhtin, the novel is a model for a democratic society.
Woolf's aim was to bring multiple voices into literature. The modern world is paradoxical
because people are connected to the world while strictly maintain their privacy. There's a one to
many broadcast going on. Multiple voices and no chance to speak back to them. The stream of
consciousness came about as a democratic way of writing to combat the dictatorial life.
Direct discourse - narrator gives the actual words and thoughts of the characters. Quotation
marks are a clue.
Indirect discourse - the narrator interprets the characters speech and thought. Rendered in the
The key to identifying the difference is understanding the different ways in which the narrator
and the character voices differ.
Free indirect discourse - third person narration where character thought and speech doesn't shift
into first person pronouns or include quotations. Its a mixture of the other two. Get some of the
character's words mixed in with the narrators words. Identified by the characters words in third
person and past tense and particular words or expressions that belong to both the character and
the narrator. Hovers between the character and the narrator.
Often in TTL there is an embedding of indirect in free indirect discourse. Characters establish
other character thoughts through indirect discourse while free indirect discourse is being used
between the character and the narrator.
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