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Dual Voice Play and Free Indirect Discourse in Maxine Hong Kingston’s Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book

Author LinLiXian
Tutor ZhangLongHai
School Xiamen University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Free Indirect Discourse Dual Voice play Artistic evolution
CLC
Type Master's thesis
Year 2008
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This thesis ventures the discussion of Dual Voice play and the application of Free Indirect Discourse in Maxine Hong Kingston’s Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book.Free indirect discourse is a deliberate literary device employed by the narrator to achieve the Dual Voice play in Tripmaster Monkey. Dual Voice play is a distinctive narrative feature of Tripmaster Monkey enabled by the paralleling of the narrator’s voice and the protagonist’s voice. The voice of Wittman the protagonist is given a Baktinian character independence and enjoys a equal status with the voice of the narrator. In addition, Tripmaster Monkey also witnesses the thematic complexity of Wittman’s voice and the tremendous difference between the tones of the two voices. The alignment of the three factors not only reveals Dual Voice to be a general narrative feature of the book but warrants the extensive application of Free Indirect Discourse. The trickster narrator adopts different narrative strategies to vary the distance between her voice and the voice of the protagonist, thus to express a complicated attitude towards the protagonist and to deliver insightful comments on the issue in question. Free Indirect Discourse, owing to its special nature, has become one of the handiest tools for the narrator to achieve the voice play.Free Indirect Discourse is a special mode of speech and thought presentation obtained against the diegesis/mimesis hypothesis. The hypothesis regards narrative as a mimesis of the reality and characters in fiction as a mimesis of lifelike person. In the transportation of the character’s speech and thoughts into the narrative, the narrator could choose between delivering the speech/thoughts in exactly the same way as their immediate happening or summarizing the character’s speech/thoughts in the narrator’s language. The former method displays the mimetic inclination, while the latter the diegetic. Free Indirect Discourse is an intermediate mode among the continuum of speech and thought presentation. As a result, Free Indirect Discourse is tended to be read as being able to accommodate two voices: the voice of the narrator and the voice of the character. The linguistic and narrative features of Free Indirect Discourse which enable it to be recognized in the text also confirm this DUAL VOICE nature of Free Indirect Discourse. The evaluative function of Free Indirect Discourse is bred from this nature. The narrator, through his/her editing in the reports of the character’s speech and thoughts, could choose between proximity and distance from the voice of the character, resulting in the effects of irony or empathy, or to express even more complicated attitude towards/comments on the character.The consistency between the Dual Voice nature of Free Indirect Discourse and Tripmaster Monkey’s general narrative feature has forecasted the literary usefulness of Free Indirect Discourse in Tripmaster Monkey. The thesis focuses on the narrator’s adroit manipulation of Free Indirect Discourse along the line of the artistic evolution of Wittman. Wittman starts as a hyper-sensitive assimilationist imprisoned in rigid binary mindset. However, as he sets out to write, plan and stage his theatre, with the help of theatre and the community he has built up, he has achieved his own artistic evolution and is finally able to accept and interact with other voices. The application of Free Indirect Discourse has well silhouetted the progressing and direction of such an evolution. When the contention and concession of the narrator’s voice and the protagonist’s voice grows intense in the early stages of Wittman’s artistic evolution, the narrator also sees to it that Free Indirect Discourse is frequently used to contain the drama and the subtlety. When it comes to the late stages of Wittman’s evolution, the narrator, on the contrary, has refrained from the use of Free Indirect Discourse to show narrative support to a relative mature voice which is able to speak independently for himself and his people. Specific Free Indirect Discourse excerpts have been picked up from the text and analyzed to illustrate the narrator’s varying attitude towards the protagonist on different stages of his artistic evolution. For most cases, the reading reveals a complicated latency, more often leading to the contemplation and insightful comments of the narrator on this issue at hand, rather than simply conveying pure irony or empathy.

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