Briony H Being To get Metafictional Narrative Ethics

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 Briony S i9000 Being To get Metafictional Story Ethics Dissertation

Critique, 52: 74–100, 2011

Copyright © The singer & Francis Group, LLC

ISSN: 0011-1619 print/1939-9138 on-line

DOI: 10. 1080/00111610903380154

Briony's Being-For:

Metafictional Narrative Values

in Ian McEwan's Atonement


ABSTRACT: This kind of essay endeavors to identify a peculiar brand of self-conscious narrative by focusing on Ian McEwan's story, Atonement (1992). What makes this minority metafictional style specifically unique isn't only its occurrence in the work of one from the late 20th century's outstanding British writers, but as well its honest character. For this reason, the kind of metafiction being reviewed should not be conflated with more traditionally ideological varieties that verify their own fictionality in the name of shorting " realist” illusions. Rather, it will be argued that self-conscious narrative, in the matter of McEwan, is definitely oftentimes utilized for order to reassert an honest complex that lies between author and reader, text and community. The fundamental differentiation being made, after that, is that among a properly postmodernist metafiction and what could be considered a restorative metafiction that works, in a self-justifying fashion, toward an affirmation of narrative ethics. For this latter style of metafiction, storytelling will not mark quick a free-play of signifiers or a dispersal of constituting fictions, but rather the beginning of a dialogical and ethical relationship between text messages and readers; of testimonies not just being told from one to a different, but by one another.

Ultimately, this kind of essay investigates the way the Ian McEwan of Atonement explores the same self–Other dynamics that underpin the work of Levinas, MerleauPonty, and Zygmunt Bauman while metafictionally making claims regarding narrative certainly not unlike these found in the hermeneutic sagesse of Richard Kearney seventy four


and Paul Ricoeur. For it is usually precisely this same ethical propensity of story as understood by Kearney and Ricoeur that Atonement not only dramatizes in its story, but self-consciously illustrates in the level of its metafiction. Keywords: Atonement, ethics, hermeneutics, Kearney, narrative, Various other, Ricoeur


s selves living amongst others, we are all put in a challenge. " The existence of other people, ” as Maurice Merleau-Ponty somewhat facetiously points out, " is actually a difficulty and an outrage” (349). If we are able to scholarhip that nonextended conscious subjects—" other minds”—do exist outside of our own honnetete, then we need to also face something like a Copernican Wave of selfhood: the personal is demoted, becoming yet another point of view within a universe of many. Yet, due to being a personal, each of us remains at the center of our own experiential actuality; we are irrevocably restricted by that which is definitely not each of our self, by simply otherness. As a result, we are asked to manage each of our subjective encounter in tandem having a recognition that " other folks are just while real to themselves even as are to ourselves” (McEwan, Interview by Michael jordan Silverblatt). Merleau-Ponty refers to this as a " contradictory operation”; encountering the Other, were compelled to both " distinguish him from [the] self, and so place him in a associated with objects, and think of him as a consciousness” (349; emphasis added). The issue for the self should be to decide how better to reckon with otherness and what credit, if any kind of, to give individuals other heads.

The same uncertain relationship among selves yet others lies in the middle of Ian McEwan's novel, Atonement. Throughout McEwan's perspectiveshifting narrative, we discover characters, over and over, realizing that they are bounded by simply otherness, by simply other brains with their individual plans, their own interiorities, their particular ways of perceiving the world. Early in the story, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis, when alone in her space, wonders if everyone else could in fact always be as " alive” while she:

In the event the answer was yes, then your world, the social world, was unbearably complicated,...

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