Narration in Flaubert’s Parrot
Essay Narration and facilitation in Flatfeet’s Parrot I must admit. I had lost every sense of direction after five pages In Barnes’ book. There were no signs of a plot whatsoever and a mysterious narrator was being philosophical. What on earth could he possibly mean by “Did that burst of bubbles announce the gurgling death of another submerged reference? ” I continued reading in every free minute, determined to finish the book in time, avoiding having to write the essay on the eve of the deadline.
Eventually, the novel turned out to be a little weird – but not as horrible as I had expected. Relieved, I started writing this essay on narration and facilitation in Julian Barnes’ ‘Flatfeet’s Parrot. ‘ Let us start with the most obvious type of narrator in the novel, Mr… Breathiest, who is homogeneity and extraditing, meaning that he is physically involved in the actions he describes and that his actions are not described by a higher narrator. This is perhaps not the most frequent type of narrator, but it surely Is the most important one.
The fictional Breathiest Is the fixed focally. He Is the one ‘seeing, thinking, hearing, things’. We can find examples of this narrator In chapters one, two (third part), three, five, SIX, seven, eight, ten, 13 and 15. Notice how Mr… Breathiest Is present throughout the whole book; he is our guide, commenting on the plot. An example can be found in chapter one: “Then I saw it. Crouched on top of a high cupboard was another parrot. I asked permission to take the second Lou down ” We can use this example to have a closer look at the position of the vocalizes.
It is external, reflecting the narrator’s perception in a memory. Often, the switch between internal and external position happens very frequently and in a fairly subtle way, making the reading more agreeable. It is furthermore interesting to note that there is a shift throughout the novel towards more and more internalizing, culminating In chapter Flatfeet’s Parrot, though quite amusing, Is not the easiest book to read due to 13. The constant switch between the first narrator described above and others.
Look at chapter five: “l once disparaged this lazy stratagem to a poet I met, a man presumably skilled in the coincidences of rhyme. ‘Perhaps,’ he replied with a genial loftiness, you have too prosaic a mind? When the man replies, he is a heterogeneity (third-person), intransigents (the man is subordinate to the main omniscient narrator who is retelling this dialogue) narrator. The facilitation is external. We have two more narrators to discuss: an extraditing/heterogeneity and an intransigents/ homogeneity one.
We can find the former in chapters two (first/ second part), four, nine and twelve. The storytelling is exclusively in the third person, yet the reading experience in these four chapters is deferent. Chapters two and twelve recite facts and figures – about Flatter of course – In a very dry and impersonal way – well, not completely, If you consider the title (“Barbiturate’s dictionary… “). An example from chapter two: “1893 – Expelled from the College De Rune for rowdy’s and disobedience”. Chapters four and nine are not that impersonal.
Again, Geoffrey refrains from personal interference, but this time, he is reader’s impression of the vocalizes is different: he knows that G. Breathiest is still the external source telling him the story, but when he uses citations, Flatter himself becomes the internal vocalizes. An example from chapter nine will make this clear: ” One day, if I write my memoirs – the only thing I shall write well, if I ever put myself to the task of doing it – you will find a place in them, and what a place!
For you have blown a large breach in the wall of my existence. ” Gustavo writes this in one of his earliest letters to Louise Collect; … ” Louise Collect, is our last narrator, in chapter eleven. “Now hear my story. I insist. ” Here is Louise, voicing her part of the story. Hers is a story within the story (G. Barbiturate’s) and it is in the first person. That makes chapter eleven intransigents and homogeneity. And what is more, this is the only art in the novel where the internal vocalizes is not Geoffrey or Flatter: it is Louise.
Yes, it is a bit of a change having to experience Flatfeet’s relationship through her eyes, but that makes it all the more interesting. There is one chapter left that we have not discussed: chapter 14. It is true that it is a very unusual chapter, but this can only be said of the content of the chapter. Neurologically speaking, the chapter is nothing more than a mix of the types of narrators we have Just been discussing. Therefore, it is not my task to say anything more of it. Did this complex narration ND facilitation in Flatfeet’s Parrot make it difficult reading?
No doubt. Did I enjoy it? Yes I did. Unlike most books I have read so far, the energy required – not only to read the words but to understand their message – was tremendous, and having to cope with all these narration changes did not quite boost the reading velocity. The content was like nothing I had ever seen, Juggling encyclopedic facts, romantic letters and so- called true’ personal testimonies from Geoffrey Breathiest. It was a very agreeable and new experience, a big step in my reading history, and I’m looking forward to other books by Julian Barnes.