Fragmentation In The Life And Opinion Of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman Written By L. Sterne

965 words - 4 pages

Fragmentation in The Life and Opinion of Tristram Shandy, GentlemanSterne's novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy is known as one of the earliest and the best examples of postmodernist fiction. Fragmentation is characteristic of postmodernism.I will focus on the fragmentation and later on I tried to parallel the novel to the technique related to fragmentation - collage.For me the most visible and interesting feature of postmodernism in the novel is fragmentation. What does it mean in literature? Fragmentation is a broad term for literary techniques that break up the text or narrative. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki, 15.4.2006) In Tristram Shandy fragmentation could be found in narrative structure, characters and themes. Chronology and plot are interrupted and re-ordered. Sterne abandoned formal categories of structure (i.e. exposition, complication, crisis, climax, and resolution). He did not follow linear chronological line. Nonlinear narrative is related technique to fragmentation. Many digressions make the story quite strange and chaotic but later on very readable. ( I have dropped curtain over this scene for a minute - to remind you of one thing, - and to inform you to other.) Many flashbacks and unfinished sentences, which seem to be vain, create a sense of discontinuity. (There was a certain king of Bo - - he --- ) Also the running motifs occurring from time to time may function as fragments, but their presence usually joins previous topics together.Time scheme is also unconventional. There is mix of present time and past events.As Tristram claims himself "in a word, my work is digressive, and it is progressive too, - and at the same time". (Volume I Chapter 22).Tristram´s role of narrator and character intersect each other, but the role of the narrator is much more important than character. Narrator - Tristram intentionally plays with the time of his narration. (It is about an hour and half´s tolerable good reading since my uncle Toby rung the bell,…I have not allowed Obadiah time enough… though, morally and truly speaking, the man, perhaps, has scarce had time to get on his boots.) He constantly interrupts the flow of his narration so the way of storytelling becomes more important than the story itself. The focus is on form not the story or action. Similarly, we can follow the dominance of form in postmodernism. Many times he involves the reader to the process of his writing and keeps very close relationship with the reader (e.g. … you see…; … I find it needful to inform your reverences and worships…; My lord…) For me he tries to show the reader he is the one who creates a new reality by this experimentation.The characters are not described to readers in a standard way. We can not create the whole image of character in our minds. We can see only part of him -the postures in which the character occurs at the moment of description (e.g. He stood before them with his body...

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