Lecture #1 Novels & Monkey
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“Reading the Novel”
Buildings, vehicles, clothing
Location like woods or at sea as well as city, country
Chronological time [the time from beginning to the end of a story] Novel time [the timeline in which events are presented – may include flash backs or flash forwards]
Weather, lighting, temperature
How do we feel about the setting?
Who is the narrator?
First person: Narrator as I Third Person: He/She
Stream of consciousness
Narrator may be Omniscient [knows everything about everyone inner thoughts as well as exterior actions], limited omniscient [knows everything about some characters], intrusive [talks directly to the reader and breaks flow of text], objective – recorder [acts like a video camera so only records what is external]) Like a narrators thoughts flowing across a page
Questions to ask yourself:
Who is telling the story? Is this person in the story or outside of the story? Does the author ever intrude?
Reliable or unreliable narrators
Should we believe what the narrator tells us?
Sometimes a narrator is a character in the story and may have an agenda or a reason to tell the story in a certain way – for example, to make himself look innocent.
What makes a narrator unreliable?
As readers, we have to decide why the author has a character telling us a story, and we should pay attention to this. Often is the narrator is outside of the story, the narrator may be more reliable, but that is not always the case.
Plot [order of events] Exposition (who, what, where, when) Conflict (problem – there may be more than one) Climax (pivotal point in action) Resolution ( How it ends up)
Climax Conflict Resolution Expo
Characters in novels have more depth
How do we learn about them?
Dialogue Physical actions Thoughts or mental actions Judgment by others Narrator judgment Author’s judgment
Theme versus Overall Message
Theme: main topics of the book
Overall Message: what we should think about the topic?
Ex: Marriage sometimes makes people unhappy
Symbolism + Irony
Cultural symbols – commonly recognizable symbols
Personal symbols – must be figured out by reading the text
Swan = death if in the text when someone dies a character sees or hears a swan
Dramatic Irony – when someone in the text or the audience knows something another character does not.
Red rose = love or gold ring = marriage
For example, in one chapter the murder is illustrated so the reader knows who did it but the other characters in the text don’t.
Circumstantial Irony – when situations occur that cause surprise and chagrin.
For example, you have just bought a bus ticket and someone offers you a free ride.
Narrative Precursors to the Novel These stories led to the eventual creation of what we call the modern novel. Essentially, smaller stories eventually got linked into a longer whole. Heroic Epics : Gilgamesh, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Mahabharata, Valmiki’s Ramayana, Virgil’s Aeneid, Beowulf, The Song of Roland Ancient Greek and Roman Romances and Novels: Ovid’s metamorphosis Oriental Frame Tales : Ramayana, A Thousand and One Nights Medieval European Romances : Arthurian tales culminating in Malory’s Morte Darthur Novelle: Boccaccio’s Decameron, Margurerite de Navarre’s Heptameron, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
The First Novels
The Tale of Genji ( Japan, 11th c. )by Lady Murasaki Shikibu Monkey, Water Margin, and Romance of Three Kingdoms (China, 16th c.) Don Quixote ( Spain, 1605-15) by Miguel de Cervantes The Princess of Cleves (France, 1678) by Madame de Lafayette Love Letters between a Nobleman and His Sister (England, 1683) and Oroonoko (1688)by Aphra Behn Robinson Crusoe (England, 1719) , Moll Flanders (1722) and A Journal of the Plague Year (1722) by Daniel DeFoe Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (England, 1740-1742) by Samuel Richardson Joseph Andrews (England, 1742) and Tom Jones (1746)by Henry Fielding
Journey to the West or Monkey [one of the earliest novels]
supernatural novel with gods and demons began with a series of oral and written versions attained its most definitive version written by Wu Ch'eng-en (1500?-1582)
Journey to the West is divided into three parts:
(1) an early history of the Monkey spirit; (2) pseudo-historical account of Tripitaka's family and life before his trip to fetch the sutras [scriptures] in the Western Heaven; (3)the main story, consisting of 81 dangers and calamities encountered by Tripitaka and his three animal spirit disciples - Monkey, Pigsy, and Sandy.