Table of Contents
Postmodern novel of Barthelme Snow White represents the author’s specific manner of playing with the language and in such a way demonstrating the usage of non-traditional form of fairy tale (Bressler 123). The author is concentrating on presenting individual aspects reflected in the words’ heaping that outline the second handed commodity. The absence of personality and the invented word of nothing open the new view on the language, while the play with it depicts the problems of modern world (Malpas & Paul 156). The specific approach induces the reader to search for philosophical aspects, simultaneously discussing the role of the language in the context of literature (225). Thus, the analysis of the novel bases on the identification of the new structure of it, which is reflected in fragmentation, word heaping, distortion of self notion, and closure, and which initiates the creation of the fiction world by stimulating personal imagination that is rather significant aspect attracting the reader (Bressler 246).
The Role of the Word in the Novel
Barthelme’s Snow White cannot be considered standard novel, so the majority of critics prefer to call it antinovel. The expert John Leland explains such approach to the work with its postmodernist style, which rejects any traditional structure and concentrates on the play of specific forms of phraseology (McCaffery 112). The unique aspect of the novel is the author’s usage of the habitualized form of language. Specifically, postmodern fiction is reflected in the consumed form of words. For example, Barthelme writes the word in the center of the paper, using much blank space and in such a way opening its essence and making the reader pay a significant attention to the word:
The author also utilizes clichéd evaluations of the literature, which provide a psychological background in order to help the reader to understand the core of the author’s thought:
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SNOW WHITE
IN THE AREA OF FEARS, SHE FEARS
POISONED COMBES (129)
Description of the revolution:
THE REVOLUTION OF THE PAST GENERATION
IN RELIGIOUS SCIENCES
HAS SCARCELLY PENETRATED POPULAR
CONCIOUSNESS AND HAS YET
TO SIGNIFICANTLY INFLUENCE PUBLIC ATTITUDES THAT REST UPON
TOTALLY OUTMODED CONCEPTIONS (143)
Evaluation of literature and history:
THE SECOND GENERATION OF ENGLISH
ROMANTICS INHERITED THE
PROBLEMS OF THE FIRST BUT
COMPLICATED BY THE EVILS OF INDUSTRIALISM AND POLITICAL REPRESSION
ULTIMATELT THEY FOUND AN
ANSWER NOT IN SOCIETY BUT IN VARIOUS
FORMS OF INDEPENDENCE FROM
SPIRITAL TRANSCENDENCE (155)
The words selected by Barthelme are aimed at creation of the fiction reality, but not communication. The peculiarity of the author’s approach is also represented in the absence of the punctuation marks and blankets that liberate the character and not restrict him or her by the structured language play (Malpas & Paul 287). Thus, the word in this work of Barthelme gained the second-handed commodity that changed the previously adopted forms of the novel.
The Role of Closure and Fragmentation in the Specific Author’s Manner
The play with the concept of novel is reflected in Barthelme’s usage of closure, which gave the feeling as if the page will never end providing the reader with an opportunity to search for something that will be revealed in the next chapter (Leitch 67). The author proved his approach by the following comments: “Trying to break out of this bag that we are in. What gave us the idea that there was something better? How does this concept “something better” arise? What does it look like, this “something better”?” (Barthelme 76). Evidently, Barthelme changes the structure of the fairy tale disconnecting the fulfillment and expectation, connecting the text and imagination instead.
The usage of postmodern fiction by the author shows that being is more relevant than meaningful, which is represented in the words of Paul: “I do not care what, I insists only that it be relevant, in a strange way, to the scene that has chosen to spread itself out before us, the theatre of our lives” (Barthelme 155). Such relevance goes through entire text and significantly deconstructs the reading context, forcing the reader to plunge into the fiction essence. At the same time, some expert are inclined to believe that Barthelme did not take care about the heart of the reader, but instead wanted to crack narratee’s mind leaving the space for creation of the own world (Leitch 77). Both characters, Snow White and Paul, represent the imaginative core, trying to move away from the text. This approach allows the reader to think beyond the world of language and transfer to the parallel reality. Leland outlined that Snow White searched for the happy end of the story, but reached the realization of her mythic paradigm (98). Thus, keeping away from the paradigm of the fairy tale, the heroine existed within the reduplication structure. Consequently, the end of the succession of episodes converted into the closed structure of the revised fairy tale (102).
The analysis of the work proved that the plot lost its ability to express something requiring to create the new form. In this regard, Barthelme uses a specific textual shape of the ending, which returns to the beginning and modulates a circle (108). However, every beginning is different from the experienced one, so the reader is more and more involved. The critic Thomas M. Leitch specified that every ending is the end of the end, because each of them uncovers during the next part of the main theme (115). The author regarded such structure as the occurrence of the new nothing that was full of everything. In such a way, he tries to raise the interest of the reader since the latter does not feel the ending, but just sees the new subject for exploration and the new perspectives for investigation (120). Barthelme said that every person can rewrite the text changing the beginning of any chapter. The endlessness that the author proposed provides the ability of telling or retelling the new story and shows the circulation of creation. Such strategy is rather important because it invokes the feeling of desperation and frustration and thus helps to go deeper into the fiction manner and understand its core essence.
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The book is the notion, which is complete in itself, a self-enclosed text that was rejected by the Snow White. The fragmentation used by the author is the form of logocentric format that is a constituent part of postmodern text and revised fairy tale. The text represented by Barthelme is the form of refusal literature, which proved that in his eyes, the conventional structure of the literature has lost its privilege (Malpas & Paul 74). The author suggests that literature should discourage the activity of submitting and stimulate the “nothing” (156). He explains the significance of this factor for the reader by its ability to represent the values of the world in the new form. Only such innovative approach can attract the attention of the narratee and emphasize crucial aspects.
In addition, Barthelme creates his fiction upon the huge pile of the outlined words that induce the reader to pay attention to the main idea the author wanted to highlight (166). The deconstructive reading strategy is the advanced approach that enable the narratee to go beyond the world of the simple words and destroy the limitations. Such approach breaks the rules and creates the new perspectives, which further build the new world of something unknown and not definite, called “nothing” (134). The author created such structure that did not let Snow and the readers to be closed into the cave of Plato. Deconstruction is the light, which they try to reach overcoming the obstacles of the cave that implies the language (McCaffery 98). Barthelme provides every reader with the possibility to decide whether to stay or escape from the cave. In other words, everyone can make the choice whether to stay in the newly formed world or turn back to the one that is called “the prison of word” (McCaffery 176). The author also appeals the reader to liberate from the limitations and read postmodern fiction that will open the new window to the unknown world.
Language and Distortion of the Self Notion
In his novel, the author played with the language through the absence of the ultimate meaning, introducing the new patterns. Characters in the discourse are constantly searching for the limits of the language and change the order of words (Norris 66). Barthelme regarded the language as the core structure of any meaning represented in the Snow White confrontation with numerous lexical fields that bumbled into one another (190). Another significant factor that changes conventional structure of the fairy tale is the distortion of the self notion. For example, first pages of several chapters begin with the bold words like “she sharps Snow White” showing the possibility to interpret the Snow White as a variation of the fairy tale (Barthelme 89). Such phenomenon proves the presence of numerous contexts and meanings. Consequently, the change of the context can alter the potential voice as well. However, Snow White is not the only character in the fairy tale who cannot be identified as a conventional version. For example, dwarfs also could not identify their father: “Our father was a man about whom nothing was known. Nothing is known about him still. He gave us the recipe. He was not very interesting. A tree is more interesting” (Barthelme 178). The author played with the readers and skillfully used the words that blocked identification thus providing no physical descriptions of the dwarfs and their father. (Norris 154). Another character, Paul, also had difficulty realizing his role that is obvious from the situation when he understood the nature of birds and creatures, and craved somebody could help him to discover and understand his own (Nealon 67). In addition, Snow White was unsure about her role s well, and tried to understand herself writing the pornography poem. In her poem, she wrote about the disappointment in Paul as a prince and called him “a poor frog.” Therefore, with help of complications of personality identification, the author showed the problems with stereotypes concerning literature (120). He was sure that real personality loses itself in the darkness of language.
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The new deconstructive manner represented by Barthelme outlines the aspects, which were ignored previously and prevented the usage the own voice of expression, in such a way breaking the literature standards. The language in the novel becomes a relative form of the world of nothing that creates the ideological structure rejected by postmodern fictions. Word heaping, problems with personality identification, and closure induced readers’ imagination in such a way making a fiction effect stronger. Fragmentation opened the new world by representing the new subject in every part that raised the interest. Consequently, the proposed literature structure had a significant effect on the narratee because of the advanced perspective for widening imaginative abilities as well as the acknowledgement of the problematic issue through the new approach.
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