NARRATIVE TECHNIQUE IN FOUR GIONO NOVELS
LIFE, THOMAS ELLIOTT
Doctor of Philosophy
In Narrative Discourse Gerard Genette suggests the usefulness of examining narratives in terms of the relationships which exist among the story which the narrator sets out to relate, the narrative version of the story he actually tells and the act of telling the story. Taking as his model the various grammatical aspects of the verb, he examines these relationships with respect to time, mood and voice. The application of this approach in a study of four representative novels by Jean Giono--Un de Baumugnes, Le Chant du monde, Mort d'un personnage and L'Iris de Suze--brings to light aspects of his narrative technique which have not been clearly perceived before. The time aspect involves a comparison of the order, duration and frequency of events in the narrative with those in the story. Each of the Giono narratives displays a marked tendency to follow in its broad outlines the chronology of the story. At the level of smaller, mid-level narrative units a pattern of beginning many major divisions in medias res and returning to the past by means of alternating secondary narratives can be observed. At the microstructure level the primary narrator's utterances tend to remain closely tied to the narrative present moment. An examination of narrative speed reveals the texture of three of the narratives to be richest in the expositional sections, thinnest in the non-resolution portions and at a middle value as the conflicts are resolved. Each of the three is also found to follow a general pattern of scenes separated by ellipsis with narrative pause being rare and substitutes for summary the norm. The extensive use of iterative narrative in one work leads the narrator into conceptualization difficulties. The category of mood reveals a tendency to strive for less narrative distance by the direct reporting of characters' speech. Each of the four stories is internally focalized and a trend toward stricter adherence to a focalization concept can be detected. A study of narrative voice reveals a definite progression as the narrator in each successive work tends to be less evident as a personality than his predecessor.