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The Idea of Phrase In The Novel We Can Know People Perfectly - Research Paper Example

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This research paper describes the idea of the phrase "In the novel, we can know people perfectly" and two examples in literature, This paper analyses novels "The Bell Jar " and  "Women and Fiction". The author of the paper outlines aspects of the novel, plot, fantasy, and structure and connection to people,…
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The Idea of Phrase In The Novel We Can Know People Perfectly
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Download file to see previous pages Both are aware that the novel is not “real” in any factual or historical sense, but that nonetheless there are elements of the narrative that can be recognized as valid, “true to life” and worthy of reflection. The literary critics E.M. Forster and Susan Cahill have examined such notions about the nature of fictional writing, and their very different views can contribute to a deeper understanding of modern novels. This paper considers both Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar and Susan Cahill’s approach to women’s literature, and examines them in the light of Forster’s key observation that “in the novel, we can know people perfectly.” (Forster, 2005, 69) Forster discusses many so-called “aspects” of the novel including such matters as plot, fantasy, and structure, but he devotes two whole chapters in the center of the book on the subject of “people.” He highlights the ability of Dickens, in the character of Pickwick, for example, to sketch life-like characters: “Nearly everyone can be summed up in a sentence, and yet there is this wonderful feeling of human depth” (Forster, 2005, 76) In Forster’s view, the novel has enduring features when it comes to characterization. In this genre, the omniscient author presents us with all we need to know about a person. We can know them perfectly because they are not really in the sense that living human beings are: “ we can get a definition as to when a character in a book is real: it is real when the novelist knows everything about it… and we get from this a reality of a kind we can never get in daily life.” ( Forster, 2005, 69) The rules of the novelistic universe are, for Forster, different than those in the real world, and this is what makes people knowable in that fictional dimension. More recent critics question this approach, seeing it as too simplistic, and implying a continuity in creative techniques that may not be demonstrable into the modern age. Susan Cahill, for example, explains the importance of uncertainty and struggle in writers, and especially female writers. Cahill maintains that how this results in different themes and a different, more ambivalent and relative narrative voice that is unsure of itself. Loneliness is a common theme, (Cahill, 1975, p. 8), especially for women writers, and modern female authors do not necessarily carry forward the omniscient narrative tones of the nineteenth century.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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