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Experiencing Drama:Progression,Judgments and Characterization in Sam Shepard’s Family Trilogy

Author WuShaoHong
Tutor DuJuan; YuanHongGeng
School Lanzhou University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Sam Shepard family trilogy narrative as rhetoric incompletenarrative progression foregrounded synthetic dimension of characters
CLC I712.073
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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Sam Shepard experiments with the forms and structures of drama, and excels at making the invisible seen by the languages of action, imagery, music and poetry. Researches on him focus on his contributions, his artistic techniques and the themes in his works. The present author appreciates the dramatist’s family trilogy from the perspective of postclassical narratology.Applying James Phelan’s theory of narrative as rhetoric, especially his conceptions of narrative progression, the present author first makes a detailed analysis of the narrative progression in Shepard’s family trilogy respectively, trying to grasp how the playwright guides his audience’s reading and then crushes their original expectations in reading. A comparison in terms of narrative progression and characterization among the three plays follows, which avails to find that they use the pattern of incomplete narrative progression and foreground the synthetic dimension of characters. By the juxtaposition of narrative progression and the comparison of progression and characterization, the present author intends to apprehend Shepard’s aesthetic tendency and unearth the subtexts of the family trilogy like indeterminacy, irrationality and heredity underscored by Shepard, and to reinterpret the dramatist’s "realism". Moreover, it is perceived that Shepard’s particular designs for narrative progression and characterization enable his audience to realize the limitations of their reading habits.

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