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Narrative Strategies of Beloved

Author ChenHong
Tutor NingYiZhong
School Hunan Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Toni Morrison Beloved narrative time focalization characterization
Type Master's thesis
Year 2004
Downloads 708
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Toni Morrison is one of the greatest contemporary American writers. -She was conferred the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993, becoming the first black writer and the second American woman writer to enjoy the honor. Her fifth novel, Beloved, is her representative work. When it was first published in September 1987, it created a sensation in the American literary world and has since been regarded as a milestone in American literary history.Critics have done a lot of research on Beloved from various respects. The special narrative techniques of the novel have attracted people’s strong interests, yet few have done thorough studies upon it. This thesis is an attempt at making a relatively thorough analysis of narrative time, focalization and characterization of Beloved in the light of narrative theory. It is divided into five parts.The introduction includes a brief introduction to Toni Morrison and her novel Beloved, a general survey about the criticisms on Beloved so far done, and a skeleton of the basic theoretical ideas I would later employ in the thesis.Chapter One analyzes the narrative time of Beloved in terms of order, duration and frequency, with emphasis on the non-chronologicality in the text, the blurry demarcation between the past and the present, and the theme the temporal devicesreveal.Chapter Two discusses zero focalization, external focalization and internal focalization employed in the novel and analyzes the significance of the shifting of different focalizations.Chapter Three investigates the characterization of Beloved. This part first analyzes the usage of the character-indicator-action, speech, external appearance and. environment in Beloved, then discusses the,characterization of Sethe, Beloved and Denver respectively.Through the detailed analysis of narrative strategies of Beloved in terms of narrative time, focalization and characterization, the thesis comes to a conclusion that Beloved is a novel of delicate narrative strategies which help to deepen the theme of the novel. As a perfect combination of both rich ideological content and delicate narrative form, Beloved is a modern classic.

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