Techniques of narration and focalization in three novels by Jacques de Lacretelle

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Kingsbury, William E.
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This dissertation uses a method logy derived from Mieke Bal's theories of narration and focalization, in order to analyze strategies used in La Vie inquiete de Jean Hermelin, Silbermann, and Le Retour de Silbermann. Although the novels are not structured alike, all are narrated by homodiegetic (first-person) narrators. Analysis reveals that certain techniques recur in all three works, but some types of focalization and many of the narrative techniques used vary a good deal from novel to novel. Not only the type of action portrayed in the novel, but also the reasons for and the extent of the narrator's participation in the action are major factors in the choice of narrative strategies. Dominant among the techniques used in all three texts are selective focusing on character and place, shifts in the level of focalization and narration, and the subtle insertion of hypo-narratives. The introduction of important secondary narrators is also significant in one of the novels, as are special punctuation techniques in one of the others. This dissertation demonstrates that Lacretelle chooses strategies designed to exploit the potential offered by the particular structure and subject matter of each work studied.