On the Postmodernist Techniques in Ian McEwan’s Atonement毕业论文_英语毕业论文

On the Postmodernist Techniques in Ian McEwan’s Atonement毕业论文

2021-04-07更新

摘 要

《赎罪》是英国著名小说家伊恩·麦克尤恩一部描写主人努力弥补自己罪过的作品。本文侧重分析了该小说的后现代主义特征,即不确定性、互文性和拼贴。麦克尤恩运用这些技巧赋予小说叙事、语言等方面不确定性特征,从而让读者更用心阅读。从互文性角度,可以发现《赎罪》与很多文学文本均有互文关系。小说还运用了时空碎片拼贴的技巧,颠覆了传统小说的创作模式。本文通过对这些写作手法的分析,旨在更好地把握麦克尤恩的写作风格和创作思想。

关键词:伊恩·麦克尤恩;《赎罪》;不确定性;互文;拼贴

Contents

1. Introduction 1

2. Demonstration 3

2.1. Indeterminacy 4

2.1.1. Unreliable Narration 4

2.1.2. Ambiguity in Language Use 8

2.2. Intertextuality 10

2.2.1. Extratextuality 10

2.2.2. Intratextuality 12

2.3. Collage 14

2.3.1. The Mixture of Four Parts 14

2.3.2. The Conversion of Dreams and Memories 15

3. Conclusion 17

Work cited ————————————————————————————–18

Bibliography ————————————————————————————19

On the Postmodernist Literary Techniques in Ian McEwan’s Atonement

Introduction

Ian McEwan is a celebrated English novelist and screenwriter who has been publishing since the mid-1970s. His early dark works earned him the nickname “Ian Macabre”, because in these works he focused on problematic childhood, disjointed family life, sex, perversion and death. However, he said that his first works were a reaction against other writers of that time and in his recent works there is a change in tone and atmosphere. As a postmodern author, McEwan is self-referential in many of his works, and some of his characters are portrayed as a writer. The charm of his novel is in the infinite possibility of his story and narration. He has great technical skill with unusual characterization and satirical tone. Not only the consummate craft of writing but also his fertile imagination bears out McEwan’s success. In his interview with Lynn, he explains his practice of writing and the pleasure he takes in unexpected ideas that come through in the process, “Sometimes I have to trick myself into doing things. But I do see writing, the actual physical matter of writing, as an act of imagination. And the best days, the best mornings are the ones in which forcing down a sentence may generate a surprise. A combination of ideas, or simply a noun meeting and an adjective that suddenly gives me pleasure. All characters have sometimes emerged for me simply out of a sentence.” (Lynn 39) Hence he has been one of Britain’s most highly regarded writers.

Atonement, a book mainly about the protagonist’s transgression and her efforts at making amends for its disastrous consequences, is a masterpiece of Ian McEwan, which has won him several major awards and was named as the best book of 2002 by Time Magazine. Atonement, from the title alone, is about the impact of guilt and the desire for forgiveness. Atonement in the book spans over 40 years and examines the long-term effects of terrible mistakes. In this novel, a teen girl mistakenly accuses her sister’s boyfriend of rape and ruins their life, thus trying to find redemption by correcting her wrongs in writing a novel. This novel is full of McEwan’s serious reflection on personal and social moralities, which has received much appreciation from readers and also strengthened McEwan’s position as one of the most significant British novelists.

Since its publication in 2001, Atonement has attracted much attention from critics and book reviewers. Due to the fact that various interpretations from a wide range of perspectives depend on the complexity of the novel, several foreign scholars have analyzed Atonement from different angles. Firstly, most scholars pay much attention to the theme of Atonement, such as love, crime and confession. For instance, Elke D’Hoker takes this novel as an unusual example of confessional fiction and analyzes in detail how the heroine acquires her salvation. Secondly, the application of narrative strategies to this novel has also become a major concern. Brian Finney probes into the stream of consciousness in Atonement and recognizes this novel as “a work of fiction that is from beginning to end concerned with the making of fiction”. (Finney 69) In David K. O’Hara’s article, he mainly elaborates this novel from the aspect of metafictional narrative ethics.

Compared with foreign reviewers, Chinese scholars have been making research from the beginning of the 21st century and achieved a lot. The protagonist’s growth and narrative strategies have become the foci in the domestic academic circle. Han Jie and Zhang Liming explore the intertextuality in the novel and present the intertextual connections between Atonement and other literary works. From psychological perspective, Yan Chunmei analyzes the protagonist’s crime psychology and the conflicts in her personality. In the thesis “A study on the Metafictional Features of Atonement by Ian McEwan”, Liu Jinjuan argues that Atonement is a typical work of metafiction, which breaks the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction as well as art and life.

Although many researches have been done on this novel, most of the previous researchers mainly make an exploration of one single aspect. So far scholars have rarely studied this novel from a holistic analysis of postmodernist literary techniques. Hence, in order to illuminate the deep meaning of this novel, this paper intends to explore the postmodernist literary techniques and analyze how these postmodernist features are presented in the novel. By elaborating the postmodernist techniques of the novel, it aims at revealing its significant artistry and providing a fresh appreciation. It is hoped that this paper will be beneficial to further study of Ian McEwan and his Atonement.

This paper mainly consists of three parts. The first part focuses on a presentation of Ian McEwan and his work Atonement. Starting from the above issues, this paper puts forward its aim, feasibility and value of this research. The part of demonstration then gives a brief introduction to postmodernism in terms of novel writing and artistic thoughts and explores three important features of postmodernist writing techniques, including indeterminacy, intertextuality and collage respectively. McEwan applies unreliable narration and vague language use to create an uncertain world. As far as intertextuality is concerned, there are some other types of literary works linked to Atonement. Collage of time and space is applied to this novel too, which subverts the writing strategies of the traditional novel. The last part draws the conclusion of the paper that the usage of postmodernist techniques endows Atonement with more aesthetic significance and meaning.

Demonstration

With the rapid advancement of economics and technology, the Western society has stepped into a postmodern period. All of a sudden, people have found the boundaries between fact and fiction obscured and even no longer existing. Due to the fact that “traditional narrative techniques were not only inadequate but also falsifying in presenting life,” (Chang 455) a new mode of writing–postmodern narrative–has been found for the novel to continue as a genre. Hence, postmodern literature became gradually a fade. Hoffmann argued that “postmodern fiction is understood as very serious, sometimes desperate, but also playful attempts to cope with the accumulated dubieties, insecurities, vagaries and skepticisms of our time.”(Hoffmann 15) By using postmodernist techniques, writers intended to upset traditions and create confusion to reflect .the sometimes confusing reality.

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