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A Study on the Narrative Features in the Da Vinci Code

Author SunHuiJun
Tutor HuQuanSheng
School Shanghai Jiaotong University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Dan Brown The Da Vinci Code postmodernism detective fiction narrative feature
CLC
Type Master's thesis
Year 2010
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Since its publication in 2003, the detective novel, The Da Vinci Code, becomes Dan Brown’s greatest success around the world. The novel successfully arouses the interest of the common readers in Christianity religion history and architecture arts and and grasps the attention of the scholars from various discipline, including the literary critics. Although The Da Vinci Code is widely acclaimed by many famous international and domestic critics, there are few articles that address the issue of the narrative features of this novel. The western researchers focus on its controversial religious subject and magnificent architecture arts, while the domestic scholars give a survey of the novel’s verisimilitude or new historism. Referring to the narratology, there are only a few articles about its language and style, leaving some questions remaining inadequately explained, including its narrative features.The present thesis argues that The Da Vinci Code is a detective fiction with both conventional and postmodern narrative skills, which are revealed in its time structure, narrative perspective, the blurring of truth and fiction, and suspense design. This thesis will analyze the narrative features from the four aspects above, thus to present the perfect blending of the conventional and postmodern narrative strategies.This thesis is divided into four sections. In the Introduction part, Dan Brown and The Da Vinci Code are introduced. Besides, the literature review is made and the topics, objectives and methodology are explained.Chapter 2 discusses the development and rule of detective fiction, while the postmodernism’s influence on this genre will be introduced. In this fiction, Dan Brown uses postmodern techniques such as montage, flashback, shifting perspectives and uncertainty to construct suspense while keeping the traditional linear narrative construction.Chapter 3 is the key section of this thesis. It studies and illustrates in details the narrative features of The Da Vinci Code from the four aspects above. The exposition, development, climax and denouement of the linear plot line make the readers easily and clearly grasp the plot and understand the logic of the story, while the postmodern techniques such as montage and flashback prevent the narrative from monotony. With the shifting between perspectives the readers can easily know the whole situation as well as the characters’ feeling, which makes the novel more vivid and intriguing. In the fiction, Brown uses antiauthority narrative discourse, blurs the fact and fiction in narration and closes the story with an open ending, so as to dissolve the truth and reveal the uncertainty of postmodernism. For the suspense design, the information retardation and the sub-plot line make the novel breathtaking and suspenseful.The thesis finally comes to the conclusion that the popularity and charm of the detective fiction The Da Vinci Code’s result from its unique narrative features by integrating conventional and postmodern narrative techniques. This blending successfully grasp the readers’ esthetic demands and serves as an example of writing a conventional and postmodern novel.

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