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Dramatization in the Portrait of A Lady

Author: ZhouShuJuan
Tutor: JiShengLei
School: Hebei Normal
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: dramatization the air of reality narrative situation scene time and space
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2010
Downloads: 72
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Henry James is a prominent American novelist and literary critic. He is remarkable in literature for his international theme which reflects the cultural conflict between America and Europe. He also has great influence on novel writing of the later writers. The Portrait of a Lady, which is written at the early stage of his career, is one of his masterpieces on the international theme.Henry James attaches great importance to the art of fiction and stresses that the sense of reality plays an important role in novel. He chooses the scenic methods in order for the achievement of the intense air of reality in his novels. This thesis attempts to employ Genette’s narrative theory to explore James’dramatic techniques in The Portrait of a Lady. The Introduction reviews James’s theories about the art of fiction, discusses the foreign critics’interpretation of James’s works from the narrative perspective, and accounts the current research of James study in China.The First Chapter explores the dramatic techniques in The Portrait of a Lady from the angle of narrative situation. According to Gentte, narrative situation consists of focalization and voice. In The Portrait of a Lady, James mainly uses internal focalization to filtrate the story, and external focalization to record the other characters’conduct. The variation of internal and external focalizations makes the novel dramatic and enhances the air of reality.Third-person narrative avoids the difference between narrator I and experiencing I which affects the authenticity of the narration. The impersonal heterodiegetic narrator presents the story to the reader objectively, achieving dramatization of the novel and the air or reality. The Second Chapter analyzes the scenes in The Portrait of a Lady. Dialogue is a main element in drama, and it is also a principal one in dramatic scenes. In The Portrait of a Lady, James uses a lot of dialogues to present the dramatic scenes and express his international theme. The images the characters use in their dialogues not only concrete the extensive international theme and the concept of life, but also increase the sense of reality. James pays attention to the protagonist’s consciousness, and turns it to a scene, presenting to the reader dramatically, enhancing the air of reality. The Third Chapter gives an analysis of the features of time and space in The Portrait of a Lady. The story happened in condensed time and space chronologically like a drama. The isochronous presentation shows the dramatic scenes vividly to the reader. Summary speeds up the narration and makes the changes of scenes naturally. The condensed space has the dramatic feature, and the changes of the places render the novel both a shape of portrait and a shape of dramatic structure.From the exploration of this novel, this thesis reaches the conclusion that Henry James achieves dramatization and the air of reality in this novel with his exquisite narrative techniques.

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