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Study on the narrative techniques of "compassion"

Author: ZhuWenJuan
Tutor: SunMin
School: Heilongjiang University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: A Mercy focalization unreliable narration spatial narrative
CLC: I712.074
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2012
Downloads: 148
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As the prominent African-American writer Toni Morrison’s ninth novel, A Mercytells a story about the characters’ misfortune and complex emotions on a NorthernAmerican farm in the1680s. The novel reveals the enslavement suffered by the slavesof different races and the free whites who were spiritually enslaved in the earlycolonial period of the Northern America.The narrative techniques in Morrison’s novels have always been a focal point foracademic study. The thesis attempts to explore three narrative techniques employed inA Mercy, which are focalization, unreliable narration, and spatial narrative. Firstly, thethesis illustrates how Morrison adjusted the narrative distance among the reader, thecharacters, and the narrators through the transfer of focalization. Secondly, through theapplication of James Phelan’s theory of unreliable narration, the reasons and rhetoriceffects of Florens’ unreliable narration are discussed. Finally, according to GabrielZoran, the narrative space in A Mercy is composed of topographical space, social space,and textual space. The analysis of the narrative space reveals that slavery did severephysical and spiritual damage to the slaves of different races and the desire for wealthbrought some free whites to ruin.Through the employment of the three narrative techniques, Morrison acquireddiscourse authority in resolving the dilemma that human beings confront. In A Mercy,the three narrative techniques play an important part in characterization and thepresentation of the theme. Based on a close examination of the narrative techniques inthe text, it can be seen that Morrison’s ideology has transcended race and A Mercyshows her great insight into history, society and humanity.

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