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"Gustave Flaubert's parrot," postmodern narrative strategies

Author LiMeiXiu
Tutor LiuWenRong
School Shanghai Normal University
Course Comparative Literature and World Literature
Keywords Julian Barnes Flauberts Parrot parody piece meta-fiction
CLC I561.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2013
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Flauberts Parrot is one of the most important works of Julian Barnes,which wasconsidered as a challenge to the novel. This thesis tries to use the basic theory ofpostmodernism to analyze the usage of parody,piece,paradox and meta-fiction inFlauberts Parrot, and how these techniques reveal the novels theme.The first chapter analyzes the important feature of postmodernist in this novel:parody.In terms of content, Flauberts Parrot is a bold parody of Flaubertsclassic Madame Bovary. Barnes parodies the bourgeoisies attitude and Flaubertsthinking about the relationship between language and reality manifested in MadameBovary..In terms of literary forms, Flauberts Parrot parodies the objectivity ofbiographies and the narrative mode of detective novel,which overturns thetraditional concepts.The second chapter analyzes the other two important feature ofpostmodernist in this novel: piece and paradox. Barnes uses the piece extremely inthis novel.He pieced a variety of literary stylistics and non-literary stylisticstogether,which dissolves the boundaries between a variety of literary genres.Thepiecing of narrative perspective contributes to the contradictions which bring thisnovel artistic effect of paradox.It implies the unreliability of narrative text,whichmakes the significance of the novel has been in a state of uncertainty.The thirdchapter analyzes the usage and significance of meta-fiction in Flauberts Parrot.Barnes adopts the intrusive author to expose the unreliability of narrative and reflectdiversity and multi-meanings of reality.Through analyzing the usage of parody,piece,paradox and meta-fiction inFlauberts Parrot, we can see that how bold Julian Barnes is in innovational writing inthis novel. He creatively uses the postmodernism techniques to show the accidentaland uncertainty of life, which reveals his profound thinking on art and moral.

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