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Narrative, Being, and the Dialogic Novel: The Problem of Discourse and Language in Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing

Narrative, Being, and the Dialogic Novel: The Problem of Discourse and Language in Cormac... Abstract: Two defining features of Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing are the vatic speeches given by characters with very different worldviews and cultures and the polyphonic narrative. A challenge of this novel is how to relate these features. According to Mikhail Bakhtin, a truly polyphonic novel allows for “diversity of social speech types,” but many of the most significant speeches in The Crossing share the same voice: the vatic style identified with the narrator. This paper explores how the repeated intrusion of the narrator’s voice upon the speeches of various characters affects a Bakhtinian reading of The Crossing . Specifically, it argues that these intrusions, which alter the words and therefore the worldviews of the characters, represent the narrator’s voice entering into the discourse of the novel on being and narrative. Thus, the narrator stifles the heteroglossia of the language of certain characters even as he contributes to the novel’s dialogic nature. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Western American Literature The Western Literature Association

Narrative, Being, and the Dialogic Novel: The Problem of Discourse and Language in Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing

Western American Literature , Volume 47 (3) – Nov 21, 2012

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Publisher
The Western Literature Association
Copyright
Copyright © The Western Literature Association
ISSN
1948-7142
Publisher site
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Abstract

Abstract: Two defining features of Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing are the vatic speeches given by characters with very different worldviews and cultures and the polyphonic narrative. A challenge of this novel is how to relate these features. According to Mikhail Bakhtin, a truly polyphonic novel allows for “diversity of social speech types,” but many of the most significant speeches in The Crossing share the same voice: the vatic style identified with the narrator. This paper explores how the repeated intrusion of the narrator’s voice upon the speeches of various characters affects a Bakhtinian reading of The Crossing . Specifically, it argues that these intrusions, which alter the words and therefore the worldviews of the characters, represent the narrator’s voice entering into the discourse of the novel on being and narrative. Thus, the narrator stifles the heteroglossia of the language of certain characters even as he contributes to the novel’s dialogic nature.

Journal

Western American LiteratureThe Western Literature Association

Published: Nov 21, 2012

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