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A Study Of The Narrative Space In A Mercy

Posted on:2015-01-20Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:X X CaoFull Text:PDF
GTID:2255330428478181Subject:English Language and Literature
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Toni Morrison is a famous contemporary African-American female writer andliterature critic. She entered the literary world in the late1960s. Her works areemotionally intense, short and poetic, and well known for the keen observation ofAfrican Americans’ lives. Her stories are deeply rooted in African Americans’ uniquehistory, legends and real life with profound themes, distinctive characters and uniqueways of narrating. In1993Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for literature. A Mercy,published in2008, continues Morrison’s writing style and shows a picture of17th-century colonial America in the early stage.As one of the representative of modernist writers, Toni Morrison abandons thetraditional linear narrative mode, and creates a new system to embody the time andspace in her novels. Narrative space enables readers to appreciate this novel morecomprehensively and profoundly from a spatial point of view rather than achronological order. This paper tries to interpret the narrative space in ToniMorrison’s A Mercy with Edward Soja’s Thirdspace theory and Gabriel Zoran’sspatial theory.The thesis is divided into four parts. The First Chapter is to explore the physicalspace in this novel. Physical space belongs to objective space and includes thegeographical space and scene space. The17th-century North America constructs thegeographical space in the novel and two different kinds of living conditions, namelythe planters’ and slaves’ living environments construct the scene space. Thegeographical space and scene space constitute the contrasting physical space in AMercy, which implies large social divide.The Second Chapter analyzes the psychological space. Morrison is skilled indigging into characters’ inner world. In A Mercy, she retains her consistent quality.Through the analysis of the methods which are adopted for psychological descriptionin the novel, such as dreams, interior monologue, comparison and other ways, thisthesis shows the psychological development of the heroine Florens, a black little girl and her mother, as well as the white planter Jacob, thus their twisted abnormalpsychological process in a distorted cultural atmosphere is revealed.The Third Chapter probes into the social space in which the story takes place. InA Mercy, Morrison turns her attention to the17th-century North America, in whichslavery is still in its initial stage. Race or color is not the decisive factor of one’senslavement. Slaves of different races are enslaved equally. Females are under dualoppression of slavery and patriarchy in that society. The mixed religions at that timeaccelerate alienation of human nature. Thus the depressive social space in the17th-century North America is revealed through the analysis.The Fourth Chapter analyzes the textual space. Morrison is famous for herunique arrangement of the text and A Mercy is no exception. In this novel, she adoptsmainly three tactics. This thesis tries to analyze its textual space from the multiplenarrators and perspectives, nonlinear narrative and repeated images. The adoption ofthese strategies inverts the linear narrative in traditional novels and cancels thenarrative time, thus a unique spatial structure forms in A Mercy, effectively enrichingthe content and deepening the themes of the novel.
Keywords/Search Tags:narrative space, physical space, psychological space, social space, textual space
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