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A Narrative Analysis of Doris Lessing’s the Fifth Child

Author: CuiZhenHua
Tutor: YuanFang
School: Inner Mongolia University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: Doris Lessing The Fifth Child narrator point of view narrative time narrative focus causation closure
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2010
Downloads: 220
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Doris Lessing is widely regarded as one of the most important post-war writers in England. The twentieth century English literature has witnessed her creation of more than forty novels and some short story collections, quantities of plays and poems, and various works of non-fiction since 1948. In her long productive life, she has got numerous prizes for her excellent works such as The Grass Is Singing, The Golden Notebook and The Fifth Child. She won the Nobel Prize for literature at the age of 88 in 2008 and made herself the oldest person to have this award.Western critics mainly studied her style and themes, such as Marxism, Sufism and feminism. The study on Doris Lessing in China mainly focuses on her feminism, but seldom on her narrative skills. The critics in China have paid enough attention to her earlier works and masterpieces, The Grass Is Singing and The Golden Notebook, and few scholars have studied her important mid-career work, The Fifth Child.This thesis paper makes a narrative study on Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child for a better understanding of this contemporary English writer. The author first analyzes the narrator in the novel with the theories put forward by H. Porter Abbot and other critics and finds an omniscient, heterodiegetic/non-character, overt and reliable narrator narrating the story with a point of view mainly from a character, Harriet, and occasionally from the narrator himself. Then the paper examines the narrative structure from its narrative space, time and focus. In this part, the focus is put on the narrative time and clock time, the reflections of the focalizer, and the exterior and interior space in narrating. Besides, the narrative rhetoric in the novel is also studied in this thesis paper. A psychoanalysis of the causation is fully developed in this part. The above analysis reflects how Lessing strengthened her narrative power with choosing proper narrator, employing narrative structure and the narrative rhetoric in The Fifth Child.The narrative skills used by Doris Lessing in The Fifth Child help the novelist enforce her narrative power. This thesis paper, studying Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child, an unpopular novel among critics, with a narrative point of view, can make a contribution to study of the great English writer.

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