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Narrative, thematic and symbolic structures in Celine’s "Voyage au bout de la nuit" Walker, David M. 1974

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NARRATIVE, THEMATIC, AND SYMBOLIC STRUCTURES IN CELINE'S VOYAGE AU BOUT DE LA NUIT by David M. Walker B.A., University of British Columbia, 1966 D.E.S., Universite de Caen, 1967 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in the Department of French We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December, 197^ In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s u n d e r s t o o d tha t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f French The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumbia V a n c o u v e r 8, Canada Date December 16, 197^ ABSTRACT Adopting c e r t a i n p r i n c i p l e s of modern formal c r i t i c i s m , t h i s thesis examines i n depth Celine's f i r s t and probably most important novel, Voyage  au bout de l a nuit. As the text i t s e l f i s the primary object of study, h i s t o r i c a l , b iographical, and other external referents are not included i n t h i s analysis of the novel's s i g n i f i c a n t structures. An attempt i s made both to respect the polysemous nature of the l i t e r a r y object and to demonstrate that a deep coherence and unity underlie the novel's apparent formal looseness and fragmentation. Three d i s t i n c t but i n t e r r e l a t e d components of the text are analysed: the formal properties of the narrative; the novel's i d e a t i o n a l or thematic content; the r o l e of imagery i n the production of a work of art that i s simultaneously p l u r a l and u n i f i e d . An important s t r u c t u r a l aspect of the narration i s the double narrative focus through which the story i s r e f r a c t e d and communicated to the reader. The elements of the anecdote are perceived both by the protagonist and by his older, more experienced s e l f , the narrator-observer. This narrative duality i s echoed within the story i t s e l f by a number of f a c t o r s , among them the ambivalent attitu d e of Bardamu towards his personal quest f o r truth and knowledge and by i m p l i c a t i o n towards l i f e i t s e l f . A somewhat s i m i l a r ambivalence characterizes the protagonist's r e l a t i o n s h i p with h i s f r i e n d and a l t e r ego, Robinson Leon. This l a t t e r * s absolute r e f u s a l of existence allows him to go to the "end of the night"; Bardamu, on the other hand, appears to compromise with r e a l i t y . For him, the only p o s s i b i l i t y of not "being t o t a l l y defeated by l i f e seems to be i n the t e l l i n g of a l l that he has seen and experienced. By transforming himself into t e l l e r and his adventures into discours, Bardamu may transcend h i s personal egotism and i n a u t h e n t i c i t y through an a r t i s t i c creation which i s also a r a d i c a l denunciation of both man and the world — and thereby j u s t i f y h i s existence. In addition to an analysis of point of view, the narration i s examined i n terms of i t s seemingly loose episodic structure. A close study of narrative "morphology" and "syntax" reveals that a rigorous pattern underlies the surface formlessness often apparent i n novels r e l a t e d to the picaresque genre. The narrative consists of s t r u c t u r a l l y s i m i l a r episodes which are necessarily l i n k e d i n a t h e o r e t i c a l l y i n f i n i t e chain of action and reaction, of confrontation with and escape from the world. A second section of t h i s study attempts to elucidate the p r i n c i p a l aspects of the v i s i o n of r e a l i t y expressed i n the novel. A " b i o l o g i c a l " v i s i o n informs the work's thematique: man i s a prisoner of the body's in e v i t a b l e impulsion towards d i s s o l u t i o n and death. Human nature and behaviour are determined by b i o l o g i c a l f a c t o r s , both at the s o c i a l and metaphysical l e v e l s of being-in-the-world. L i f e i s absurd, r i d i c u l o u s , and i n t o l e r a b l e ; human a c t i v i t y i s characterized by a r e f u s a l to confront such truths and by a generalized recourse to role- p l a y i n g and various forms of inauthentic behaviour. The f i n a l s e c t i o n of t h i s study deals with the structure and operation of imagery i n the novel. Imagery may function: (a) d e s c r i p t i v e l y (sensual i m a g e r y ) , t o c r e a t e a c o n c r e t e atmosphere o r t o n e ; (b) t h e m a t i c a l l y ( f i g u r a t i v e i m a g e r y ) , t o convey t h e work's i d e a t i o n a l c o n t e n t ; ( c ) p r o d u c t i v e l y ( s y m b o l i c i m a g e r y ) , t o o r g a n i z e and i n a sense g e n e r a t e t h e t e x t ' s c a p a c i t y t o s i g n i f y . T h i s g e n e r a t i v e f u n c t i o n i s c a r r i e d out by t h e c o r e images ( a r c h e t y p e s ) o f t h e J o u r n e y and t h e N i g h t . These e x t e n d e d symbols s e r v e b o t h t o p r o v i d e t h e t e x t w i t h a deep s t r u c t u r a l u n i t y and t o "produc e " t h e work i n a l l i t s v a r i e t y and m u l t i p l i c i t y . T h i s s t u d y r e v e a l s t h e o p e r a t i o n a t d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s o f t h e t e x t o f a t e n s i o n o r c o n f l i c t between t h e t e n d e n c y towards f r a g m e n t a t i o n and p l u r a l i t y on one hand, and an o p p o s i n g movement tow a r d s s t r u c t u r a l u n i t y and c o h e r e n c e . I t i s perhaps i n t h i s i n t e r a c t i o n o f a n t i t h e t i c a l t e n d e n c i e s — t h e one a r i s i n g f r o m t h e d a t a o f e x i s t e n c e , t h e o t h e r from t h e demands o f A r t — t h a t one can l o c a t e t h e u l t i m a t e s o u r c e o f t h e n o v e l ' s u n q u e s t i o n a b l e power and g r e a t n e s s . TABLE OF CONTENTS Page INTRODUCTION 1 PART I Narrative Structures and Their Significance CHAPTER I Narrative Perspective 1 0 CHAPTER II Narrative Structures: Episode and Plot 35 PART II Thematic Structures CHAPTER I Authentic Experience: The Body's Truth 56 CHAPTER II Man's Destiny and Human Nature 7 2 CHAPTER III The Individual and Society 9 2 PART III Structures of Imagery and Symbolism CHAPTER I Sensual Imagery 1 2 8 CHAPTER II Image as Theme: Figurative Imagery 1^0 CHAPTER III Generative and Symbolic Imagery: The Journey and the Night 1 5 6 CONCLUSION 1 9 1 BIBLIOGRAPHY 199 INTRODUCTION How then i s the reader to divide his interest between the value of the assertion and the special way i t is made? Isn't the wording everything?- And yet, must not the wording i t s e l f be judged by i t s adequacy to state the author's ideas ? - Susanne K. Langer"'" II y a longtemps qu'on s'en doute: l'a r t reside dans cette solidarite d'un univers mental et d'une construction sensible, d1une vision et d'une forme. 2 - Jean Rousset After a relatively lengthy period of neglect, the works of Celine have become i n recent years the object of renewed c r i t i c a l interest. The sequestration of Celine — doubtless the result of his unpopular and reactionary p o l i t i c a l and racist views —• has been succeeded by the belated recognition of the writer's importance i n the history of modern French literature: "C'est l'ecrivain qui a eu le plus d'influence entre les deux guerres, le plus d'importance aussi" (Maurice Nadeau);"Celine est peut-etre le plus grand ecrivain d'entre les deux guerres" (Alain Robbe-Grillet). The explanation of Celine's importance and influence has been held to l i e i n the modernity of his vision of rea l i t y . His deeply pessimistic view both of human nature and of man's global metaphysical situation places him i n the mainstream of the so-called "absurdist" school of writers. Thus, Celine's 1 Feeling and Form (New York, 1953), p.. 208. 2 Forme et signification (Paris, 19.62),. p. I. 3 These appreciations appeared in Le Nouvel Observateur, No. 15 (25 February, 1965), p. 27. prestige can be related to his role as a prophet of doom, as an apostle of the anarchical and the purely negative: "There can be no doubt that Celine belongs i n the ranks of the great destroyers. Uprooting secure concepts of existence and literature at the same time, he commits what for many i s an unpardonable sin — that of leaving no refuge of any kind, no exit from the trap he has shown our world to be. While most recent c r i t i c a l studies of Celine have concentrated on discovering the principal themes which convey a vision of the world closely related to the existentialist current of French literature, a few of these studies have also noted the importance of s t y l i s t i c and formal^ elements i n the elaboration of this vision. Although the content (ideas, themes, "messages", etc.) of the novels remains the primary object of study, nevertheless a certain recognition of the importance of technique, form and structure i s evident. Increasingly the tendency i s to interpret Celine's works according to formal rather than ideological c r i t e r i a . This tendency i s reflected i n the appearance of studies — such, as the present analysis — which examine a single work, usually th.e author's-first, novel, Voyage au bout de l a nuit. The advantages of a specialized study l i e in the possibility afforded for in-depth analysis, a possibility not offerred to the study which attempts to deal with a writer's total output. Moreover, by concentrating upon a single work, the c r i t i c affirms the text's status as an autonomous, self-contained verbal construct, possessing i t s specific modes of functioning and patterns ^ Erika Ostrovsky, Celine and His Vision (New York, 1967), p. 18. ^ Marc Hanrez, Celine (Paris, 196l). Allen Thiher, Celine: The Novel as Delirium (New Brunswick, 'N.J..,-. 19.72). This essentially thematic study also contains interesting insights into the function of the Celinian narrator. 3 of meaning. The comprehensive study, on the contrary, i s obliged to disregard the autonomy and integrity of the single text. In order to cla r i f y the author's Weltanschauung or to trace the development of s t y l i s t i c and rhetorical techniques, the general study too often lapses into the superficial, 7 emphasizing only the most obvious thematic and verbal elements. It ignores the formal specificity and complexity which confers upon the li t e r a r y text it s authentic status as an object of aesthetic appreciation. While not wishing to denigrate the importance of the Celinian vision, the present study is ultimately most concerned with the formal characteristics of Voyage au bout de  l a nuit, with this novel as a work, not of ideas, but of art. The approach adopted here follows the general orientation of what has been termed new or formal criticism. The basic postulates of contemporary c r i t i c a l methodology — the primacy and relatively autonomous functioning of the text, the avoidance of both the biographical and the intentional f a l l a c i e s , the acceptance of the polysemous nature of lite r a r y language and the concomitant presence of ambiguous structures in any given literary work — these postulates are taken as basic starting points for my analysis. Yet, i f my approach i s resolutely formal, this i s not to deny that the novel signifies, that i t has meaning. What interests me principally here is the manner in which the work signifies. Many literary c r i t i c s have adopted the position that the essential g characteristic of a literary text i s i t s plurality. For such c r i t i c s the polysemous nature of the literary work is fundamental, the consequence of the capacity of verbal elements of the text to enter into multiple relationships The advantages of limiting a s t y l i s t i c analysis to a single work can be judged by the usefulness of such recent studies as: a) Gunter Holtus, Untersuchungen zu S t i l und Konzeption von Celines "Voyage  au bout de l a nuit" (Bern, 1972); and b) Yves de l a Queriere, "Effets de mots dans le Voyage au bout de l a nuit de Celine", unpubl. diss. (Columbia, 1969). o Roland Barthes speaks of "ce texte absolument p l u r i e l " in S/Z (Paris, 1970), p. 12. k with one another. This plural status does not, however, necessarily imply formlessness or a total fragmentation of meaning. . The text may — and according to some must — contain and manifest laws of formal organization which determine a tendency towards unity of:signification. Thus, whereas a novel may well express a reality which appears chaotic and amorphous, certain. literary principles are at work within the text i t s e l f to counteract this apparent tendency towards formlessness: "Mais tandis que l a structure du reel est ebranlee par l a f i c t i o n , qui en revele l a disorganisation, l a structure du livr.e, en revanche, revele au lecteur attentif ses l o i s extremement precises 9 d*organisation." It is the task of the c r i t i c to discover and describe these principles whose presence does not necessarily result from a conscious intention on the part of the author; rather, the presence of such laws is i n some sense inherent i n the mode of existence of a literary text. These principles can be considered as "autant de generateurs qui conditionnent le texte^ le commandent de 1 'interieur. " ^ In the approach to Voyage au bout de l a nuit adopted in this study I accept and seek to synthesize these two points of view with regard to the text: the work is examined both as a plurality of possible meanings and as an aesthetic whole exhibiting strong tendencies towards a unified structure of meaning. An attempt i s made to codify, or discover the underlying pattern or structure of certain fundamental components of the text — narrative perspective, themes, imagery — and to indicate the various interrelationships of these component-structures. This interaction of codes i s essential insofar as i t designates an internal impulsion of the text towards integration and ^ Franchise van Rossum-Guyon, "Michel Butor et le roman comme. instrument de connaissance", in Positions et oppositions sur le roman contemporain (Paris, 1971), p. 172. 1 0 R. Bourneuf and R. Ouellet, L 1Univers du roman (Paris, 1972), p. 205. 5 coherence. The novel can thus be seen not simply as containing a multiplicity of internal patterns or structures, but as an integrated system or network of interrelated elements, "un reseau simultane de relations reciproques."1"^" The format of this study reflects the double project of identifying both formal and significant structures and of indicating their functioning i n the production of a text which is both plural and unified. The analysis i s divided into three sections. The f i r s t two describe respectively the essential structures 12 of the novel's "form" and "content". The third seeks to synthesize the discoveries of the preceding sections by examining the text as i t functions as a kind of generative mechanism, "comme une machine qui fonctionne, qui cree „13 du sens. The f i r s t part of this analysis i s concerned with the formal properties of the narrative: i t s point of view, i t s ."morphology" and Its plot-structure. The interaction of these formal structures with aspects of the f i c t i o n such as the rSle of Robinson and the ambiguous character of the protagonist is underlined. In Part II ^"Thematic'Structures"), the emphasis i s in a sense reversed. Rather than examining formal structures and their influence upon the work's Ik content, I begin with the text's ideational substance — . the novel's vision of reality as conveyed by i t s dominant themes — and attempt to discover the form or pattern assumed by this substance. Thus the thematique of Voyage is organized around the interrelationship of a subjective (the protagonist's consciousness) and an objective (the external world) reality. This ^ Jean Rousset, Forme et signification, p. x i i i . 12 This terminology as well as the a r t i f i c i a l dichotomy i t implies i s used for purposes of convenience only. This study i s in part concerned with demonstrating the essential inseparability of these two aspects of the text. 13 * • • >' • v Paul Bouissac, "Analyse semiologique et analyse l i t t e r a i r e " , i n Problemes de 1'analyse textuelle (Montreal, 1971), p. 57. Ik Or, to use a more contemporary vocabulary, the interaction of the discours with the r e c i t , of the signifiant with the si g n i f i e . 6 interaction of subject and object i s realized on three levels or modes: a) the concrete or physical: the self and the body; b) the metaphysical: the self and the conditions of Being; c) the social: the self and the others. The fact that a similar dynamic is operative at the three levels indicates the structural unity of the thematic material and serves to confer coherence and forcefulness upon the work's vision of real i t y . Moreover, the parallelisms which appear to operate between the narrative and thematic structures offer an implicit indication of the text's organic coherence, of the ultimate unity of i t s diverse elements. Thus the existence of what has been termed "une forme du contenu" 1^ demonstrates that as well as expressing a particular vision of the world, the thematic content i s participating in the formal elaboration of the text. By means of an examination of the patterns and functions of imagery i n the novel, the third and f i n a l part of this study seeks expl i c i t l y to establish the simultaneous movement of the text towards multiplicity and structural unity. Imagery i n Voyage is shown f i r s t to function i n what might be termed a traditional manner; that i s , to concretize the text and to express indirectly (figuratively) the novel's principal themes: "... i t often happens that an author w i l l rely on similess and metaphors to formulate the main themes of his novel with the maximum of precision, concreteness and expressive force. Imagery may therefore take the c r i t i c by a straight route to the very core of the work of art, and the metaphors arising around these central 16 themes may develop into major symbols." , In addition to the descriptive ( l i t e r a l ) and expressive (figurative) functions of the imagery i n the novel, Gerard Genette, "Raisons de l a critique pure", i n Les Chemins, actuels de  l a critique,(Paris, 1968), p. 137. 1 Stephen Ullmann, The Image in the Modern French Hovel (Oxford, 1963), pp. v i i - v i i i . 7 a third function is examined in some detail: the organizational or generative . 1 7 . . . . . function. Here the image, and particularly the extended figurative image — the symbol or the archetype— i s considered as an essential element of the text's formal unity and coherence. This organizing function may be viewed as either a reductive or as a productive process; that i s , the symbol (or archetype) can be seen either as the universal all-encompassing element which contains the multiple components of the text or_ as a kernel structure which by means of associative and transformational operations generates the text i n i t s plurality. In either case, the analysis of i t s various modes of functioning indicates that the novel's imagery possesses i t s own specific structure and that i t embodies precisely the dual tendency of the text towards fragmentation and coherence, towards plurality and unity of signification. It would be remiss on my part not to mention in this introduction the l8 existence of a c r i t i c a l interpretation of Celine by. F. Vitoux which, like this study, seeks to integrate formal and. thematic considerations and to demonstrate the unified and plural nature of the Voyage. Vitoux posits a single underlying theme (la misere) i n the novel, a global theme which i s revealed or "encoded" in the text through the divers uses made of l a parole by the novel's characters. While Vitoux' analysis leads him to conclusions similar to some arrived at in this study, the c r i t i c ' s general approach to the work and the framework within which he inserts the novel are radically different from those employed here., Vitoux does not, for example, examine the novel's imagery in a systematic manner, nor is his approach to the 17 See Jean Ricardou, "Esquisse d'une theorie des generateurs", i n Positions et oppositions sur le roman contemporain, pp. 1^3-150; and by the same author, POur une theOrie '-6ju nouveau roman (Paris, 1971), pp. 118-158. Frederic Vitoux, Louis-Ferdinand Celine: Misere et parole (Paris, 1973). 8 thematic material similar to that adopted here. Vitoux' study marks perhaps a turning point in Celinian criticism and certainly contains the most competent structural analysis of Voyage yet to appear i n print. This study, like that of Vitoux, gives scant attention to the novel's external referents. The autonomy of the text, i t s innate capacity to contain and engender i t s own signification, i t s essentially self-enclosed nature — such factors have guided this analysis. Thus no attempt i s made to relate textual elements to either historical fact or biographical data. For while the novel may i n part reflect or express a vision of reality, i t seems probable that the historical or ideational (thematic) content of the novel cannot explain either the power or the merit of the novel. Celine himself attributed the force of his work not to any message i t may be held to contain"*" but rather to his personal, original style: the u t i l i z a t i o n of argot, of l a langue parlee, of a staccato and e l l i p t i c a l syntax. It i s my contention that while the author's vision and his style are evidently important (and inseparable) aspects of the work, the ultimate secret of the text resides i n i t s formal or structural properties, i n the existence of significant patterns, in the interaction of textual components, i n the interrelationship of i t s multiple elements. It is this secret that this study seeks, not to discover, since the mystery of a text i s f i n a l l y inviolate, but at least to approach and, hopefully, to illuminate. Entretiens avec le Professeur Y (Paris, 1955), PP« 19-22. 9 PART I NARRATIVE STRUCTURES AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE 10 CHAPTER I NARRATIVE PERSPECTIVE Les romans sont habituellement ecrits a l a troisieme ou a l a premiere personne, et nous savons bien que le choix de l'une de ces formes n'est nullement indifferent; ce n'est pas tout a f a i t l a meme chose qui peut nous §tre racontee dans l'un ou 1'autre cas... - Michel Butor"*" An important characteristic of the modern novel has been the development of new narrative forms. 5he origins of these technical innovations l i e i n the need to find alternatives to the traditional omniscient mode of narration where the narrator possesses a.god-like knowledge of events, motivations and desires. Modern novelists have objected to this omniscience because of i t s implication that the Certitude and i n f a l l i b i l i t y claimed by the narrator are in fact attainable i n this world. This more or less absolutist outlook appears somewhat anachronistic i n an age which has accepted the death of God, celebrates the sovereignty of relativism,, and i s s t i l l reeling under the philosophic blows delivered by Darwin, Marx, Einstein, and Freud. In order to remain fai t h f u l to an intellectual revolution which affects not only our ideas and values but also our total conception of real i t y , novelists have f e l t the need to transform radically their methods of re-creating this reality. Therefore, in place of the conventional omniscient mode of narration, modern 1 Essais sur le roman (Paris, 1969), p. 73. 11 literature has witnessed the birth of numerous new techniques of narration: the stream of consciousness, the Jamesian central intelligence, the shifting narrator (Faulkner), the complex first-person narrator (Proust), and so on. But are such formal innovations just a case of new bottles for old wines? Perhaps not. For i t cannot be denied that the subject matter of a work of art i s i n some way influenced by such technical transformations. The medium i s inseparable from the message. A change in the narrative point of view, for example, can be expected to engender an altered f i c t i o n a l content. A limited -4 because human — f i r s t person narrator (who may also be the central object of the narration: the hero) i s clearly incapable of knowing and interpreting reality i n the manner of the traditional all-knowing narrator. For even the elements.which are f i n a l l y chosen to be narrated w i l l be determined to a large extent by the situation of the narrator; that i s , by his position inside or outside of the events recounted, his personal prejudices and interests, and so on. i It should be remarked also that changes i n the technique of relating a story w i l l affect elements of literary communication other than the message, or content. The r<51es of both the sender and receiver of the f i c t i o n a l message — the author and the reader — undergo a substantial modification. In many contemporary fictions for example the author, who traditionally is indistinguishable from the detached omniscient narrator, finds himself as i t were exiled from his own creation and replaced by a narrator (or narrators) who is often a specified character within the f i c t i o n a l universe. This dramatized narrator may either present or betray the author's personal views. 12 In the latter event an ironic relationship is established between the author 2 and his usually reliable narrator. Although i t remains true that the author ultimately controls the narration, one should not forget that the modern narrator often mediates the author's personal vision i n terms of his own independent existence. The reader's role too w i l l be transformed by alterations i n the narrative form. Normally, the reader acquiesces to the conventional omniscience of the narrator, accepting this latter's selection and interpretation of facts and events without question. With the appearance of the fragmented and subjective narrative viewpoint however, the reader may no longer remain in this state of pure acceptance and comfortable passivity. He i s obliged, on the contraryj to suspect the narrator — because the latter has lost his divine status — and to reinterpret actively the narration. Since events and characters are now imaged and refracted through a limited and perhaps unreliable subjectivity, the reader must become an active participant in the decoding of the text and i n the creation of i t s meaning. In short, the selection of a certain narrative form, and particularly the choice of a narrative perspective w i l l tend to affect profoundly a l l aspects of the work. Both the disposition of elements within the text and the relationship of the reader to the text are modified by the presence of a specific point of view. Indeed i t would not be an exaggeration to contend that i t is precisely this element of the narration that determines in large measure "toute l'economie generale de l'oeuvre'.'V . Consequently, this study 2 A good example i s the pastor i n Gide's La Symphonie Pastorale, who, while expressing many of the values of gidisme, is also the victim of an interior blindness which Gide indirectly condemns. Consequently, an ironic relationship exists between Gide and his first-person narrator. The pastor cannot be f u l l y trusted. Roland Bourneuf and Real Ouellet, L'Univer s du roman, p. 75. 13 of Voyage au bout de l a nuit begins with, an examination of the narrative modalities of this novel. Point Of View The narrative, point of view adopted in Celine's f i r s t novel may be described as first-person retrospective, In the manner of an autobiography the narrator recounts his l i f e from the moment of his enlistment into the army just prior to the outbreak of World War I up to the death of his friend Robinson some twenty years later. The narrator i s thus dramatized; that i s , he has an autonomous existence within the narrative. As the novel's central character he functions as the focal point of the narration since i t is through his consciousness that events and characters are perceived and given meaning. In general the retrospective mode of narration tends to create a bifurcation i n the narrative perspective. On one level the narration is assured by an observer who recalls and organizes his past from a position outside and after the events he is relating. But on a second level, the protagonist experiences this past as a concrete and chaotic present which he confronts daily. Clearly therefore the "je" of the narration possesses a twofold reference: f i r s t , to the t e l l e r of the tale recollecting i n tranquillity (more or less), whose relationship to the events and characters he recalls i s mediated by a temporal and a f o r t i o r i psychological distance; and second', to the protagonist whose relationship to these same events i s existential, direct and unmediated. Such a division of the narrator into two entities may very well appear somewhat arbitrary and a r t i f i c i a l . After a l l , are not these two narrators ultimately a single identifiable character (Ferdinand Bardamu)? Ik The answer is both yes and no. For present purposes what is important is the fact that the narrative form u t i l i z e d in Voyage offers the framework in which two radically different narrative perspectives can cohabit. The protagonist, for example, w i l l perceive existence as a succession of confrontations with reality obliging him to modify his attitudes, to react, and i n short, to become. The observer, on the other hand, i s concerned mainly with relating — that i s , organizing — the destiny lived by the protagonist. The observer's primary function is to give form to the re a l i t y which has i n a sense formed his"other self". The narrative dichotomy I am describing is doubtless inherent i n a l l instances of the f i r s t person retrospective form of narration. Normally such a duality functions as a formal cadre for a basic f i c t i o n a l motif: the growth and evolution of a personality from, for instance, a state of innocence to one of experience. This, as we shall see, holds true for the novel under study. Moreover, this dual perspective affords the observer the advantage of hindsight over the protagonist and creates thereby the possibility of an ironic relationship between the two. Indeed, i t i s this ironic function of the narrator-observer that is emphasized in the Voyage. In most narratives of this type the t e l l e r i s content simply to organize and show events and characters; the reader is l e f t free to draw the conclusions and make the judgments he deems suitable. A singular aspect of Voyage however i s the aggressiveness of the observer. The narrative is constantly interrupted by the editorializing of the narrator whose commentaries ^ "If the problem i s one of tracing the growth of a personality as i t reacts to experience, the protagonist narrator w i l l prove most useful..." points out Norman Friedman in "Point of View in Fiction: the Development of a C r i t i c a l Concept", i n The Novel: Modern Essays i n Criticism,ed. R.M. Davis (Englewood C l i f f s , 1969), p. 166. 15-form a kind of contrapuntal relationship with his recollections of the past. These interventions impose a second temporal register upon the narrative: the present of the narrator-observer. Accordingly, such interventions are designated by a switch from the normal past tense of narration to the present tense.^ Normally, these interruptions of the story take the form of either definitive judgments concerning a specific event.or character, or a general definition or moral lesson based upon a particular set of circumstances. The following are but a few of the many examples of the integration into the text of narrative recollection and narrative commentary. Chosen at random, these examples are taken from the; episode aboard the Amiral Bragueton: Quand on a pu s'echapper vivant d'un abattoir international en f o l i e , c'est tout de m§me; une reference sous le rapport du tact et de l a discretion. Mais revenons a ce voyage. Tant que nous restSmes dans les eaux d'Europe, ca ne s'annongait pas mal (p. I l l ) ; Se sentir nourri, couche, abreuve pour rien pendant quatre semaines consecutives, qu'on y songe, c'est assez, n'est-ce pas, en soi, pour delirer d'economie? Moi,seul payant du voyage, je fus trouve par consequent... nettement insupportable (p. 113); > On n'est jamais assez c r a i n t i f . Grace a. certaine habilete je ne perdis que ce qu'il me restait d'amour-propre. Et voici comment les choses se passerent. Quelque temps apres les l i e s Canaries... (p. 113); On ne m*y reprendrait plus a voyager avec des gens aussi d i f f i c i l e s a, contenter. l i s etaient tellement dlsoeuvres aussi, enfermes trente jours durant avec eux-memes qu'il en f a l l a i t tres peu pour les passionner. D'ailleurs, dans l a vie courante, reflechissons que cent individus au moins dans le cours d'une seule journee bien ordinaire desirent votre pauvre mort... (p. 116). The present tense is also employed i n the novel for purposes of dramatization thus the present i s employed at the moment of the decisive meeting with Arthur Ganate which opens the novel: "On se rencontre done place Clichy... II veut me parler. Je l'ecoute""(p. 11). N.B. A l l textual references i n this study are to the 1962 edition of the collection "Bibliotheque de l a Pleiade", published by Gallimard. 16 The double narrative (and temporal) register i s often evoked i n an even more explicit manner, as when the narrator-observer underlines the differences between the past he i s recounting and the today of which he is expressly conscious: Et puis i l s'est passe des choses et encore des choses, qu'il n'est pas facil e de raconter a present, a cause que ceux d'aujourd'hui ne les comprendraient deja plus (p. h9)» Sa haine pour l'Agent general Directeur me semble encOre aujourd'hui, a. tant de distance, une des passions les plus vivaces qu'il m'ait ete\ donne d'observer chez un homme (p. 135); Je n'oserais pas affirmer que je puisse aujourd'hui decrire ces jardins sans commettre de grossieres et fantastiques erreurs (p. l8o)'» Similarly, the narrator may choose to emphasize the remoteness of the events he i s relating, thereby throwing into r e l i e f the duality of the narrative: ... c'etait un spectacle a. remplir l'Alhambra d'alors, i l aurait eclipse Fragson, dans l'epoque dont je vous parle une formidable vedette, cependant (p. 23); Mais a ce moment-la, dont je parle, i l etait encore salement vivant l e Pincon (p. 25); Au moment dont je parle, tout le monde a Paris voulait posseder son petit uniforme (p. 5l); By explicitly separating himself from the period he is recounting the observer underlines his status as a semi-independent character with attitudes and opinions radically different from those of his earlier self. Yet another technique employed to contrast the outlooks of observer and protagonist can be located i n a series of derisive outbursts which the t e l l e r directs at the hero. This rhetoric of self-abuse appears most frequently i n the early sections of the work, corresponding to the period of greatest temporal separation between the two narrative perspectives. In the novel's 1 7 opening episode at Place Clichy, for example, the narrator immediately, although implicitly, dissociates himself from the other "je" by ironically presenting the smug naivete of the youthful Bardamu and his friend Arthur Ganate who are carrying on a l i v e l y discussion on the state of the world: Bien fiers alors d'avoir f a i t sonner ces verites ut i l e s , on est demeure l a assis, ravis, a regarder les dames du cafe (p. 1 1 ) . On numerous occasions thereafter, the protagonist w i l l be corrected, ridiculed and condemned by the observer, and consequently w i l l be devalued in the eyes of the reader: Peut-etre etais-je a plaindre, mais en tout cas surement j'etais grotesque (p. 39); Pour que dans l e cerveau d'un eouillon l a pensee fasse un tour, i l faut qu'il l u i arrive beaucoup de choses et des bien cruelles. Celui qui m'avait f a i t penser pour l a premiere fois de ma vie, vraiment penser, des idees pratiques et bien a moi, c'etait bien surement le commandant Pincon, cette gueule de torture Cp. 30); J'ai cru longtemps qu'elle etait sotte l a petite Musyne, mais ce n'etait qu'une opinion de vaniteux econduit (p. 78); II ne me repondait meme pas sur cette question du mariage. C'etait, c'est vrai aussi un conseil bien niais que je l u i donnais la. (p. 293). Clearly therefore the narration offers a double perspective, a duality the function of which is primarily contrastive and ironic. But what is the significance of this polarizing configuration? Why this schism dividing the t e l l e r from the,protagonist? It would appear that a satisfactory response to these questions requires an examination of "non-formal" elements, or more precisely, of those meaningful elements in the text which present correspondences or parallels with the dual narrative structure we have been observing. In short, one must seek out examples of radical dichotomies within the f i c t i o n , and attempt to relate them to the dichotomy narrator-observer/narrator-protagonist 18 which characterizes the narrative perspective of the novel. The presence of such examples would tend to underline the interaction and basic inseparability of technique and content within the text. Bardamu and Robinson Thus far we have seen that the narration in the Voyage is structurally dualistic. The u t i l i z a t i o n of the first-person retrospective form i n i t s e l f infers a double narrative and temporal register. The marked separation of the narrator into two often conflicting characters strengthens and underlines the dual nature of the narration. Given the premise basic to this study, namely that formal and significant structures are intimately related, i t is not surprising to discover that this formal dichotomy is mirrored i n the content of the narrative. Most obviously, the formal scission serves to place i n sharp r e l i e f the limits of the development of Ferdinand Bardamu from adolescent protagonist to adult observer. Here we recognize the fundamental narrative motif of the maturation and evolution of the hero in the course of his experiencing the world. Secondly, we w i l l see that the recurring juxtaposition within the narration of the conflicting views of the double narrator corresponds to a constant psychological ambivalence within Bardamu. And f i n a l l y the form-content parallel i s manifest in the ambiguous relation-ship linking Bardamu with Robinson. We w i l l observe that this strange friendship i s closely related not only to the hero's development and to his psychic duality, but also to the formal structure of the narration. 19 Bardamu's evolution It has already been noted that the narration of the novel i s at once chronological (retrospective) and yet also discontinuous, since the t e l l e r constantly breaks up his recollections of the past with comments and generalizations drawn from his "present".. Significantly, the pattern of the hero's development parallels this pattern of the narrative. For while the evolution of the hero is basically linear and progressive i t is also resisted and at times even refused. On one hand, Bardamu*s development corresponds to the straightforward archetypal progression from innocence to experience, from naivety and enthusiasm to knowledge and resignation, from youth to age. The older narrator comments in retrospect upon the virginal innocence of the youthful Bardamu with respect to his knowledge of the horrible nature of reality: "On est puceau on /'est de l'Horreur commeAde l a volupte" (.p. IT). The Flanders episode, for example, appears to function as a kind of i n i t i a t i o n r i t u a l wherein the young Bardamu is deflowered and deprived of any possible illusions as to the true nature of war:. "Rien a, dire. Je venais de decouvrir d'un coup l a guerre tout entiere. J'etais depucele" (p. 18). The references to transformations i n the hero's outlook as he travels i n time and space from one adventure to another are both explicit and implicit. Overt allusions to the protagonist's becoming, for example, are scattered throughout the text: II s u f f i t en tout et pour tout de se contempler scrupuleusement soi-meme et ce qu'on est devenu en f a i t d'immondice (p. 210); C'est vrai aussi ce qu'elle disait que j'avais bien change. L'existence, 5a vous tord et 5a vous ecrase l a face (p. 216); 20 Alors a, force de renoncer, peu a, peu, je suis devenu comme un autre... Un nouveau Ferdinand (p. 226); Dans ces moments-la. c'est un peu genant d'etre devenu aussi pauvre et aussi dur qu'on est devenu (p. 486). On a less explicit level the progressive nature of the hero's evolution i s clearly discernible. Thus the numerous c r i t i c a l comments about "youth" which appear towards the middle of the work function not just as editorial generalizations offered by the (relatively) old observer, but also as indirect allusions to the hero's growing out of his youthful phase and to the gradual movement towards unity with his more mature other self. Rather than applying solely to man i n general therefore, the blanket condemnation of one's past refers equally to the hero's particular situation and as such signals his arrival at a new stage in his development: Pendant l a jeunesse, les plus arides indifferences, les plus cyniques mufleries, on arrive a. leur trouver des excuses de lubies personnelles et puis je ne sais quels signes d'un inexpert romantisme. Mais plus tard, quand l a vie vous a bien montre tout ce qu'elle peut exiger de cautele, de cruaute, de malice pour etre entretenue tant bien que mal a. 37°» °n se rend compte, on est fixe, bien place, pour comprendre toutes les saloperies que contient un passe (p. 210); On decouvre dans tout son passe ridicule tellement de. ridicule, de tromperie, de credulite, qu'on voudrait peut-etre s'arreter tout net d'etre jeune, attendre l a jeunesse qu'elle se detache, attendre qu'elle vous depasse, l a voir s*en a l l e r , s'eloigner, regarder toute sa vanite, porter l a main dans son vide... (p. 284). In spite of such clear allusions to a progressive (and chronological) development, the hero's evolution i s complicated by his own ambiguous attitude towards the world. This ambiguity reveals i t s e l f i n Bardamu's reaction to the loss of youthfulness. For although this period may well be "ridicule" and f i l l e d with i l l u s i o n s , i t i s also a time of lyricism and great enthusiasm. To grow out of youth represents therefore both a gain and a loss: "Plus de 21 mystere, plus de niaiserie, on a bouffe toute sa poesie puisqu'on a vecu jusque-la" (.p. 210). Although maturation may well imply an end to i l l u s i o n and to superficiality, i t also means an end to sensual joy and perhaps even to happiness. Consequently, Bardamu1s attitude to the loss of youth is ambivalent: C'est content facilement les jeunes, i l s jouissent comme i l s veulent d'abord c'est v r a i ! Toute l a jeunesse aboutit sur l a plage glorieuse, au bord de l'eau, la, ou. les femmes ont l ' a i r d'etre libres enfin, ou elles sont s i belles qu'elles n'ont meme plus besoin du mensonge de nos reves. Alors bien sur, l'hiver une fois venu, on a du mal a rentrer,a se dire que c'est f i n i , a se l'avouer (p. 370). In short, the narrative perspective does indeed encompass the conventional development of the hero from a state of innocence to one of knowledge of the world. However, much as the narrative perspective of Voyage i s complicated by the interruptions of the observer, so the hero's development ceases to be "linear" as contradictory values are placed upon his experiences by Bardamu himself. Bardamu's inner conflict The protagonist's ambivalent attitude towards youth reveals a basic internal dichotomy which appears to underlie almost a l l his actions. In the novel's opening episode, for example, Bardamu suddenly enlists into the army although he has just declared himself unalterably opposed to a l l social institutions: "Tu l'as dit, bouffi, que je suis anarchiste!" (p. 12). Moreover, Bardamu has just condemned vehemently the iniquitous organization of society into the masters and the slaves, as illustrated by the image of the galere (p. 13). How can we account for such a stark contradiction between 22 word and deed, between thought and action, except in terms of some sort of deep-seated ambivalence before the facts of reality? Throughout the novel, Bardamu appears to oscillate between a desire to 6 refuse the world and to rebel, and an opposing inner need to. conform and submit to authority: Aussi, decidai-je en ce qui me concernait de me surveiller desormais de tres pres, et .puis d'apprendre a. me taire scrupuleusement, a. cacher mon envie de foutre l e camp, a prosperer enfin s i possible et malgre tout au service de l a Compagnie Porduriere (p. 139). In the war episode for example, the hero is torn between a powerful impulsion toward revolt —"Dans une histoire pareille, i l n'y a rien a faire, i l n'y a qu'a foutre le camp" (p. 16) — and an equally strong fear of the gendarme whose repressive actions aimed at keeping potential rebels in line, constitute in a sense the real war, " l a profonde, l a vraie de vraie" (p. 33). Later i n Africa, Bardamu hesitates between " l a terreur des comptes irreguliers" (p. 17*0 which keeps him loyal to the Company and the wish to desert his ramshackle hut and take to the forest. A similar ambivalence of attitude is evidenced by the protagonsit i n connection with the plan to murder l a belle-mere Henrouille. Bardamu is both intrigue by his possible complicity i n this act of e v i l and gmpoisonne by.his fear of "toutes les sales histoires, les sales chichis que remue l a Justice au moment d'un.crime rien que pour amuser les contribuables, ces vicieux..." (p. 310). Towards the end of the novel the protagonist reaches, a state of almost total resignation. The impulse towards revolt seems to have been totally repressed. To be right or wrong i s no longer important, rebellion i s just a 6 . .. ^ . . . . . . ^ "Le cimetiere, un autre encore, a c6te, et puis le boulevard de l a Revolte.. II monte avec toutes ses lampes droit et large en plein dans l a nuit. Y a qu'a. suivre, a gauche. C'etait ma rue" (p. 287). 23 memory: Les choses auxquelles on tenait le plus,vous vous decidez un beau JDUT a, en parler de moins en moins, avec effort quand i l faut s'y mettre. On en a bien marre de s'ecouter toujours causer... . On abrege... On renonce... Ca dure depuis trente ans qu'on cause... On ne tient plus a. avoir r a i son... II su f f i t desormais de bouffer un peu, de se faire un peu de chaleur et de dormir le plus qu'on peut sur le chemin de rien du tout (pp. 41+7-448). One may postulate therefore the existence of a fundamental dichotomy within the protagonist resulting from the conflict of the contradictory forces of rebellion and submission. The impulse towards rebellion results from the intolerable nature of the reality encountered by Bardamu. But the tendency towards an attitude of submissiveness i s extremely powerful particularly as i t is related to the influence upon him of the hero's mother: Certainement je devais. tenir cette terreur de ma mere qui m'avait contamine avec sa tradition: "On vole un oeuf... Et puis un boeuf, et puis on f i n i t par assassiner sa mere." Ces choses-la,•on a tous mis bien du mal a s'en debarrasser. On les a apprises trop petit et elles viennent vous t e r r i f i e r sans recours, plus tard, dans les grands moments (p. 1 7 4 ) . Much of the novel w i l l i n fact deal with the search for a resolution of this radical ambivalence manifested, by the protagonist. Doubtless the f i c t i o n a l element which reflects most significantly this internal dichotomy is the hero's complex and ambiguous relationship with Robinson Leon. Robinson and Bardamu Whereas Bardamu i s "double" i n the sense that his behaviour i s best understood i n terms of an inner conflict between the urge to revolt and the compulsion to conform, Robinson's acts and outlook are characterized by a certain singlemindedness. From the attempt at desertion in Flanders during the war to the abandonment of the Compagnie Porduriere in the jungle of Africa, from the hints of a l i f e of petty crime i n America to the i n i t i a l l y 2k unsuccessful and then successful attempts to murder the belle-mere Henrouille, and f i n a l l y to a kind of suicide at the novel's end, at a l l times Robinson's position i s constant: he consistently refuses his situation and rebels against i t . In a very real sense Robinson can be viewed as a reflection, or better as a projection (upon the "story") of that part of the hero which also tends to refuse the world, but which i s strongly opposed by powerful pressures towards 7 conformity and resignation. Robinson's function as the projection of a basic attitude of the protagonist is underlined by the non-naturalistic manner in which Robinson is often presented and described. At the moment of their f i r s t encounter in Flanders, for example, Robinson seems more a phantom than a "real" character. He appears at f i r s t as a "changement dans l a disposition de l'ombre" (p. k3), then as a "silhouette sortant des herbes" (p. kk). Less a physically well-defined being than a more or less disembodied voice, Robinson possesses a kind of supernatural status which endows him with a certain prestige: Je ne voyais pas sa figure, mais sa voix etait deja autre que les n6tres, comme plus t r i s t e , done plus valable que les nStres. A cause de cela, je ne pouvais m'empecher d'avoir un peu confiance en l u i (p. kk). This unreal or rather surreal status accorded Robinson recurs i n the African episode. The hero is at f i r s t strangely unaware that this precursor i s indeed the same Robinson he knew i n Flanders and again i n Paris (pp. 108-110). When fi n a l l y Bardamu succeeds i n identifying Robinson, the latter has disappeared. Significantly, the hero perceives the precursor to be less an individual than a type, an attitude towards l i f e : 7 Whereas Bardamu's attitudes have been strongly influenced by his mother, Robinson appears to lack the protagonist's respect or fear of l a mere and of authority i n general. Thus the attitude of Robinson towards the dying officer i n Flanders to whom he remarks: "MamanI Elle t'emmerde!" (p. k5). 25 Je ne 1'avals .pas .bien regard! en arrivant... . Mais je l u i trouvai, en 1'observant, par l a suite, une figure decidement aventureuse, une figure a. angles tres tracis et m§me une de ces t§tes de revolte qui entrent trop a. v i f dans 1'existence au l i e u de rouler dessus, avec un gros nez rond par exemple et des joues pleines en peniches, qui vont clapoter contre le destin avec un bruit de babillage. Celui-ci c'etait un malheureux (p. 163). As i n the Flanders episode, the result of this more than r e a l i s t i c presentation i s to accord Robinson a more than human status. Thus when Bardamu feels certain he w i l l soon be seeing Robinson i n Detroit -i- "Des lors, je me suis attendu a le rencontrer a, chaque instant le Robinson. Je sentais que ga venait" (p. 231) — or when he associates the presence of Robinson with the return of insomnia and feelings of Angst —> "On me retirera difficilement de l'idee que s i ga m'a repris ga n'est pas surtout a. cause de Robinson" (p.268) — i t seems clear that Robinson's rfile and powers go far beyond those of a normal character. Robinson appears to function as a kind of psychic projection (alter ego) of the protagonist; he is presented as a force, as a kind of mysterious symbol which Bardamu finds d i f f i c u l t to interpret: "C'etait pas comme un malade ordinaire, on ne savait pas comment se tenir devant l u i " (p. 487). In the course of the narrative, an ambiguous relationship develops between the protagonist and Robinson. In the early episodes, when the world is shown to be intolerably oppressive and the impulse to rebel i s correspondingly strong, the hero perceives Robinson as a benefactor and guide . who can understand, explain and perhaps even overcome the traumatic d i f f i c u l t i e s imposed upon the individual by the world: J'aurais bien voulu qu'il m'explique celui-la pendant qu'il y etait, ce reserviste, : pourquoi j'avais pas de courage non plus moi, pour faire l a guerre... (p. 44). 26 In Africa, Robinson precedes the hero in rebelling against the commercial representative of the colonial system: Foutez-vous done des affaires de l a "Compagnie Porduriere" comme elle se fout des vStres... (p. 166). Often Bardamu w i l l find himself obliged to recognize his indebtedness to Robinson: "Decidement, d'avoir suivi dans l a nuit Robinson jusque-la ou nous en etions, j'avais quand meine appris des choses" Cp. 305). At the novel's end, moreover, the hero seems s t i l l to accept a position inferior to that of his friend: Et cependant j'avais meme pas ete aussi l o i n que Robinson moi dans l a vie!... J'avais pas ri u s s i en definitive. J'en avais pas acquis moi une seule idee bien solide comme celle qu'il avait eue pour se faire derouiller Cp. ^89). Clearly, therefore, Robinson's anti-social activities and metaphysical revolt against l i f e possess a certain attraction for Bardamu. The hero admires particularly Robinson's capacity to "go a l l the way", to follow his rebellion to i t s logical and absolute conclusion. To some extent, this uncompromising attitude is precisely the quality which Bardamu lacks. Thus, i n the following quotation, i t seems probable that the reference to "les autres gens" is indirectly a reference to the protagonist as well: La vocation de meurtre qui avait soudain possede Robinson me semblait plutSt somme toute comme une espece de progres sur ce que j'avais observe jusqu'alors parmi les autres gens, toujours mi-haineux, mi-bienveillants, toujours ennuyeux par leur imprecision de tendances (pp. 30^-305). But as I. have already pointed out, Bardamu*s general outlook is profoundly ambivalent. This ambivalence is soon manifest i n the hero's attitude towards Robinson. For although following Robinson has taught Bardamu much, nevertheless the pressure to conform and the fear of authority which are the hero's legacy from the preceding generation provoke a reaction 27 against Robinson who gradually comes to represent an obstacle to the hero's search for a modus Vivendi with rea l i t y . Indeed as early as the African encounter, Bardamu's attitude towards Robinson i s dominated by fear, apprehension and h o s t i l i t y : Je n'etais pas tres sfir que ce soit reel, tout ce qu'il me racontait la, mais toujours e s t - i l que ce predecesseur. me f i t l'effet instantane d'etre un fameux chacal (p. 166). Henceforth, a l l encounters with Robinson w i l l be disagreeable to the protagonist. In Detroit for example, Bardamu's immediate, instinctive reaction upon being greeted by his friend i s one of distaste: ... i l m'a semble qu'on m'appelait par monnom: "Ferdinand! He Ferdinand!" Ca fa i s a i t comme un scandale forcement dans cette penombre. J'aimais pas ca (p. 232). Back i n France and now a doctor i n the poor d i s t r i c t of Garenne-Rancy, Bardamu associates Robinson with a recurrence of the depression and anxiety he had known i n New York. In the hero's mind, Robinson is intimately involved with the misfortune and unhappiness which have been the hero's l o t for many years: De le recontrer a nouveau, Robinson, ca m'avait done donne un coup et comme une espece de maladie qui me reprenait. Avec sa gueule toute barbouillee de peine, ga me fai s a i t comme un sale r§ve qu'il me ramenait et dont je n'arrivais pas a me deliyrer depuis trop d'annees* deja (p. 268). While i n the earlier adventures. Bardamu had followed Robinson, actively seeking him out in New York and Detroit, now i t i s Robinson who chases after the hero: II etait venu retomber l a , devant.moi. J'en f i n i r a i s pas. Surement qu'il m'avait cherche par i c i . J'essayais pas d'aller le revoir moi, bien sur... J'osais-meme plus sortir de peur de le rencontrer (p. 268);; Une fois seul avec l u i j ' a i essaye de l u i faire comprendre que je n'avais plus du tout envie de le revoir Robinson, mais i l est revenu quand meme vers l a f i n du mois et puis alors presque chaque soir (p. 291). 28 As the novel progresses this h o s t i l i t y comes to characterize and dominate the hero's reactions to the presence of Robinson: On ne se parlait pas beaucoup, on n'avait plus grand'chose a, se dire (p. 293); Je le regardais avec ses yeux clignants, encore un peu suintants au s o l e i l , et je me disais qu'apres tout i l n'etait pas sympathique Robinson (p. 383); Je ne l'ecoutais plus. II me decevait et me degoutait un peu pour tout dire (p. 385). In resume then, the attitude of Bardamu towards Robinson i s ambivalent, if.not quite contradictory. He admires and fears him, seeks him out as a guide, yet fears that his presence portends unhappiness. The explicit association of Robinson with misfortune goes back to the African episode: Je decidai, malgre l'etat ou je me trouvais de prendre l a foret devant moi dans l a direction qu'avait prise deja ce Robinson de tous les malheurs (p. 1J6). This ambivalence is evident when the hero reacts to Robinson's project to help the Henrouille family get r i d of the elderly mother-in-law: "Somme toute, j'^tais intrigue et empoisonne en meme temps" (p. 310). To the extent that Robinson functions as a projection of one pole of the hero's interior dialectic (revolt/obedience), clearly the hero's growing ho s t i l i t y towards his comrade.implies a gradual subordination of the w i l l to rebel to the search for a way to l i v e with reality. Bardamu,in short, compromises with existence, a step which of course Robinson refuses to take. Thus the hero w i l l leave his solitary position at the edge of society and by becoming a doctor w i l l be integrated into the social framework. The choice of medecine as a career i s i t s e l f significant i f seen as the attempt to combine the need for integration into the world with the rebellious element of the hero's nature — medecine constituting i n some measure an expression of man's refusal to 29 a c c e p t t h e i n e v i t a b l e triumph, o f d i s e a s e and d e a t h . When t h i s a t t e m p t t o combine c o n f o r m i s m w i t h r e f o r m i s m f a i l s — w i t h t h e d e a t h o f t h e c h i l d B e b e r t — t h e he r o appears t o e v o l v e away f r o m t h e s p i r i t o f r e b e l l i o n and to w a r d s a f e e l i n g o f apathy and r e s i g n a t i o n : " R e s i g n o n s - n o u s ! L a i s s o n s l a n a t u r e t r a n q u i l l e , l a g a r c e ! " ( p . 299). The v o l u n t a r y e x i l e i n t o t h e A s i l e c o n t i n u e s t h i s movement away f r o m a c t i v e r e v o l t and towards s i l e n c e ( P a r a p i n e ) and i n d i f f e r e n c e : Au fond,, j ' e t a i s devenu de p l u s en p l u s comme B a r y t o n , j e m'en f o u t a i s . . . On a beau d i r e e t p r e t e n d r e , l e monde nous q u i t t e b i e n a v a n t qu'on s'en a i l l e p o u r de bon ( p . kkj). Here t h e h e r o seems>content t o p l a y t h e r o l e o f an o b e d i e n t a s s i s t a n t , s a t i s f i e d t o a v o i d a d d i t i o n a l c o n f l i c t s and m i s f o r t u n e s : En p r i n c i p e , p our t o u j o u r s e t en t o u t e s choses j ' e t a i s du meme a v i s que mon p a t r o n . J e n ' a v a i s pas f a i t de grands p r o g r e s . p r a t i q u e s au c o u r s de mon e x i s t e n c e t r a c a s s e e , m a i s j ' a v a i s a p p r i s quand meme l e s b o n s p r i n c i p e s d * e t i q u e t t e de l a s e r v i t u d e . Du-coup avec B a r y t o n , g r a c e a. ces d i s p o s i t i o n s , on e t a i t devenus b i e n c o p a i n s pour f i n i r , j e n ' e t a i s j a m a i s c o n t r a r i a n t m o i , j e mangeais peu a t a b l e . Un g e n t i l a s s i s t a n t en somme, t o u t a, f a i t economique et pas a m b i t i e u x pour un s o u , pas menagant ( p . fell). L i k e a c o n c r e t e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f Bardamu's own bad c o n s c i e n c e , R o b i n s o n p e r c e i v e s and comments upon t h e watered-down s o l u t i o n t o l i f e a d o p t e d b y t h e h e r o . W i t h a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c melange o f cr u d e h e s s and i n s i g h t he condemns Bardamu*s e v o l u t i o n t o w a r d s compromise: A l o r s i l me r e g a r d a d r o l e m e n t , comme s * i l me d e c o u v r a i t s o u d a i n un a s p e c t i n o u i de d e g u e u l a s s e . " T o i quand j ' y p e n s e , t ' a s l e b on b o u t . . Tu vends t e s b o b a r d s aux c r e v a r d s e t pour l e r e s t e , t u t ' e n f o u s . . . T'as 1 ' a i r g e n t i l m ais t ' e s une b e l l e v a c n e t o u t dans l e fond!"..... (pp... 29^-295). F o r h i s p a r t , Bardamu p e r c e i v e s R o b i n s o n more and more as an o b s t a c l e t o t h e r e a l i z a t i o n o f h i s hopes f o r s e c u r i t y , t r a n q u i l l i t y and c o m f o r t : " I I me 30 s u f f i s a i t a p r e s e n t de me m a i n t e n i r dans un e q u i l i b r e s u p p o r t a b l e , a l i m e n t a i r e e t p h y s i q u e . Le r e s t e ne m 1 i m p o r t a i t v r a i m e n t p l u s du t o u t " Cp. 4l8).. H a v i n g e x c l u d e d t h e o p t i o n o f r e v o l t and r e f u s a l , t h e h e r o w i t h d r a w s i n t o a s t a t e o f p r a c t i c a l s e l f i s h n e s s . F o r m e r l y a g u i d e and s o u r c e o f i n s i g h t i n t o t h e way t h i n g s r e a l l y a r e , R o b i n s o n becomes f o r t h e h e r o an ominous and d i s a g r e e a b l e t h r e a t : A 1 ' i n s t a n t j e l e t r o u y a i a b o m i n a b l e de me d e r a n g e r au moment j u s t e ou. j e commengais a me r e f a i r e un bon p e t i t egoisme... P a r c e que j e peux b i e n l e d i r e a p r e s e n t , j ' e t a i s pas c o n t e n t du t o u t de l e r e v o i r . Ca me f a i s a i t aucun p l a i s i r (p. 435). I f , i n t h e c o n f i n e s o f an e x a m i n a t i o n o f n a r r a t i v e p o i n t o f v i e w , I have f e l t o b l i g e d t o l i n g e r o v e r t h e h e r o ' s d o u b l e a t t i t u d e towards t h e w o r l d and o v e r t h e a m b i g u i t y o f h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h R o b i n s o n , i t i s because I am f i r m l y c o n v i n c e d o f t h e u n d e s i r a b i l i t y o f c o m p l e t e l y s e p a r a t i n g f o r m a l d e v i c e s f r o m s i g n i f i c a n t c o n t e n t . R a t h e r , I am c o n c e r n e d w i t h d i s c o v e r i n g t h e " b r i d g e s l i n k i n g t e c h n i q u e t o s u b s t a n c e . I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g i n t h i s r e g a r d t o note t h e d e f i n i t e p a r a l l e l i s m w h i c h e x i s t s between t h e n a r r a t i v e c o u p l e o b s e r v e r / p r o t a g o n i s t and t h e f i c t i o n a l p a i r Bardamu/Robinson. B o t h t h e p r o t a g o n i s t and R o b i n s o n p o s s e s s a t w o f o l d f i c t i o n a l s t a t u s . The p r o t a g o n i s t i s a t once t h e a l t e r ego o f t h e t e l l e r ( h i s younger s e l f ) and a s e p a r a t e c h a r a c t e r w i t h a t t i t u d e s o f t e n i n s h a r p c o n t r a s t t o t h o s e o f t h e t e l l e r o r o b s e r v e r . S i m i l a r l y , R o b i n s o n f u n c t i o n s b o t h as Bardamu's a l t e r ego — embodying t h e h e r o ' s f r u s t r a t e d d e s i r e t o r e v o l t —: and as a r e a l i s t i c c h a r a c t e r w i t h an i n d e p e n d e n t f i c t i o n a l s t a t u s : r e s e r v i s t e , n i g h t - w o r k e r , , l o v e r o f Madelon, m u r d e r e r . 31 It might be objected that this analogy breaks down somewhat as the work progresses. For i f i n the course of the narrative the temporal and spatial distance separating the two narrative perspectives is gradually reduced — the reeit functioning precisely as the bridge which serves to reunite protagonist g and observer — the two characters are apparently forever•separated by a growing enmity and f i n a l l y by death. Yet i t can be argued that the unity of the narrative perspective and the f i c t i o n a l content is in fact reasserted i n an almost organic manner. For the death of Robinson does not mark the disappearance (from the text) of the s p i r i t of refusal and revolt. This s p i r i t i s i n fact assumed by the t e l l e r of the tale (the observer) and expressed i n his absolute judgments and implacable condemnations. Thus the separation and defeat that l i f e and death have effected w i l l be remedied by the decision of the protagonist to " t e l l a l l " . Robinson has realized within the f i c t i o n the absolute experience of negation and death, the authentic "voyage au bout de l a nuit" which Bardamu must recount i f his own existence is not to be deemed a failure: La grande defaite en tout, c'est d'oublier, et surtout ce qui vous a f a i t crever, et de crever sans comprendre jamais jusqu'a, quel point les hommes sont vaches. Quand on sera au bord du trou faudra pas faire les malins nous autres, mais faudra raconter tout sans changer un mot, de ce qu'on a vu de plus vicieux chez les hommes et puis poser sa chique et puis descendre. Ca s u f f i t comme boulot pour une vie tout entiere (pp. 27-28). The internal conflicts and fragmentation of the self w i l l be overcome by the act of remembering and of recounting. The death of Robinson which terminates the r l c i t w i l l lead to the birth of the t e l l e r and the beginning of the discours. Much as in Proust's A l a recherche du temps perdu. See also Michel Butor, Essais sur l e roman, p. 77. 32 If l i f e has crushed the hero'a w i l l to reyolt, Art, which, commences on the other side of l i f e , ^ may serve to transcend the "deceptions et fatigues" (p. 7) of existence. When the story has ended the narration is about to begin. Narrative Perspective: A Postcript In his important work of narrative classification, The Rhetoric of Fiction, Wayne C. Booth cites Voyage as offering an example of what he terms the "seductive" point of view i n f i c t i o n . According to Booth, the judgments and values professed by the narrator-observer are not clearly enough dissociated from — nor for that matter are they explicitly associated with — those of the author. As a result, the "innocent" reader risks being seduced by the n i h i l i s t i c vision and the ferocious attacks on c i v i l i z a t i o n which are contained i n the narrator's comments. According to Booth, Celine, by not dissociating himself from his narrator, has produced "a book, which, i f taken seriously by the reader, must corrupt him. Leaving aside for a moment the dubious art-as-morality premise upon which Booth bases his attack, i t would seem possible to refute the c r i t i c on the technical grounds where he is usually strongest. Booth cr i t i c i z e s the failure of Celine to make the reader doubt the truthfulness of the narrator's general pronouncements on l i f e . But i n fact, several factors i n the novel work against an unhesitating acceptance of the observer's outlook and judgments. F i r s t l y , to the extent that the observer is a continuation — a later, evolved self — of the protagonist, he implicitly, possesses the penchant for error which characterizes the hero. One might well interpret the "absolute" style of the observer — the frequent use of "jamais," "rien," "tout," etc. — as Q See the epigraph which functions as a sort of preface to the novel and i n which the author locates the origins of works of the imagination: "C'est de 1*autre cSte de l a vie" (p. 7). 1 0 The Rhetoric of Fiction (Chicago, 196l), p. 383. 33 t h e a u t h o r ' s a t t e m p t t o c o u n t e r a c t t h i s extreme f a l l i b i l i t y b y means o f an i n f l a t e d r h e t o r i c . But i t i s . p e r h a p s e q u a l l y j u s t i f i a b l e t o p e r c e i v e t h i s h y p e r b o l i c s t y l e as an i m p l i e d d e v a l u a t i o n o f a n a r r a t o r whose c l a i m s t o o m n i s c i e n c e a r e c o n t r a d i c t e d by t h e n a t u r e o f t h e w o r l d he h i m s e l f c o n f r o n t s , a w o r l d i n w h i c h a b s o l u t e c e r t a i n t y i s n e v e r a t t a i n a b l e . F i n a l l y , t h e u t i l i z a t i o n o f a f o r m a l w r i t t e n code w h i c h o f t e n c l a s h e s w i t h t h e dominant c o l l o q u i a l s t y l e o f t h e n a r r a t i o n may be t a k e n as an o b l i q u e r e f e r e n c e t o a c e r t a i n f a l s e n e s s and a f f e c t a t i o n 1 1 i n t h e o b s e r v e r . I n s h o r t , t h e r e i s e v i d e n c e w h i c h p o i n t s t o a c e r t a i n d i s t a n c i a t i o n o f t h e a u t h o r w i t h r e s p e c t t o t h e n a r r a t o r . A l l t h i s i s n o t meant t o i m p l y t h a t t h e v i s i o n o f r e a l i t y p r e s e n t e d i n t h e n o v e l i s n e c e s s a r i l y f a l s e o r m i s l e a d i n g . What seems c l e a r i s t h a t t h e r e a d e r i s n o t o b l i g e d t o a c c e p t p a s s i v e l y t h e d e c l a r a t i o n s o f t h e n a r r a t o r ; h i s sympathy w i t h t h e s u f f e r i n g c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f t h e n a r r a t o r - p r o t a g o n i s t i s n e v e r as t o t a l as B o o t h w o u l d have us b e l i e v e . A t t h e h e a r t o f Booth's a t t a c k upon Voyage l i e s t h e c r i t i c ' s d i s t a s t e f o r m o r a l a m b i g u i t y and u n c e r t a i n t y . But i n an age where t h e m e a n i n g l e s s n e s s o f e x i s t e n c e has become a common f i c t i o n a l theme ( K a f k a , S a r t r e , B e c k e t t ) , and where r e l a t i v i s m and i r o n y a r e b a s i c i n t e l l e c t u a l weapons, Boot h ' s m o r a l c r i t i c i s m s seem a n a c h r o n i s t i c . Thus h i s d e c l a r a t i o n t h a t " t a k e n s e r i o u s l y , 12 t h e book w o u l d make l i f e i t s e l f m e a n i n g l e s s . . . " c a n i t s e l f h a r d l y be t a k e n s e r i o u s l y . Even l e s s a c c e p t a b l e i s Booth's a f f i r m a t i o n t h a t t h e w o r l d p o r t r a y e d i n t h e n o v e l " c o n t a i n s no c o n c e i v a b l e e x p l a n a t i o n o f how anyone i n 13 t h a t w o r l d c o u l d b r i n g h i m s e l f t o w r i t e a book." On t h e c o n t r a r y , i n a 1 1 See f o r example t h e f r e q u e n t use o f t h e i m p e r f e c t s u b j u n c t i v e t h r o u g h o u t t h e n o v e l . 1 2 B o o t h , p. 384. 1 3 B o o t h , p. 383. 3k w o r l d d e v o i d o f m e a n i n g , o n l y t h e c r e a t i v e r e s p o n s e c a n e q u a l death, as a remedy f o r t h e n o t h i n g n e s s o f b e i n g . I n Voyage, b o t h r e s p o n s e s a r e p r e s e n t and,as we have s e e n , i n t i m a t e l y r e l a t e d : t h e d e a t h o f R o b i n s o n " g e n e r a t i n g " i n a s e n s e t h e appearance o f Bardamu c r e a t o r . 35 CHAPTER II NARRATIVE STRUCTURES: EPISODE AND PLOT In the picaresque novel, the chronological sequence i s a l l there i s : this happened and then that. The adventures, each an incident, which might be an independent tale, are connected by the figure of the hero. A more philosophic novel adds to chronology the structure of causation, ik In the preceding section dealing with narrative perspective I sought to outline the formal framework of the narration. I noted the dualism inherent i n the narrative perspective chosen and observed the temporal and psychological polarization implied by the coexistence of a narrator-observer and a narrator-protagonist. A few s t y l i s t i c consequences of this narrative dichotomy were indicated: the juxtaposition of two narrative voices — one of which recollects and recounts while the other pronounces — and of two temporal registers: the past of remembrance and the present of editorializing. The presence as well of a double s t y l i s t i c register — the colloquial oral and formal written codes — within the text corroborates further the importance of the dualistic structure implied i n the double narrative perspective. Going beyond s t r i c t l y formal and s t y l i s t i c considerations, I observed the radical schism between observer and protagonist and concluded R. Wellek and A. Warren, Theory of Literature (New York, 1956), p. 215. 36 that this s p l i t functions not only to stress a basic narrative motif — the evolution of the hero — but also to reflect a fundamental dichotomy located within the protagonist, an internal dialectic confirmed by the configuration of the hero's relationship with Robinson. Leaving the problem of narrative perspective, I shall now examine i n this section the "morphology" of the narration, i t s internal structure or skeleton. By "morphology" I understand the constituent elements of the narrative: actions, events, episodes; their functions, interrelationships, and the patterns that they form. Since I am concerned with the novel as a self-contained whole, my purpose i s not to relate these particular elements to more or less universal narrative categories such as those developed by such c r i t i c s as Propp or Bremond. Rather, I hope to demonstrate that specific laws and processes are at work regulating the narrative and conferring upon the work an organic unity rooted i n the bedrock of i t s own narrative structure. It may well be objected, however, that the plot-structure of the novel is clearly generically determined; that i s , the choice of the picaresque conventions employed in Voyage would include the loose episodic plot, rapid variations in the fortunes of the hero, event piled upon event, haphazard 17 encounters. Its hero indeed resembles in many ways the typical picaro: he i s an innocent who becomes a semi-rogue "because the world he meets i s l8 roguish;" he is capable of playing different rSles in order to survive, as evidenced aboard the Amiral Bragueton. Nevertheless i t would appear l i k e l y that generic determinism cannot Vladimir Propp, La Morphologie du conte (Paris, 1970). l6 Claude Bremond, "La logique des possibles narratifs", in Communications 8 (1966), pp. 60-76. 17 For an inventory of picaresque conventions see Stuart Miller, The Picaresque Novel (Cleveland, 1967). Ibid., p. 56. 37 account adequately for either the form or the content of the novel. For i f the conventions of the picaresque tend to imply "a total lack of structure i n the w o r l d , s e v e r a l factors i n Voyage clearly function as counterweights to this tendency towards chaos. We have ascertained for example that the apparently chance meetings with Robinson — fortuitous encounters reflecting a typically picaresque convention — p e r f o r m i n fact a unifying function: they mirror successive stages i n the hero's quest to resolve an internal dichotomy. The very presence of-, this quest motif endows the work with a unity alien to the picaresque genre. The existence of such unifying elements permits me; to postulate the presence of a structural (formal) resistance to the tendency towards form-. . . . . 20 lessness inherent i n the picaresque vision. Examples of this resistance to narrative anarchy abound i n the.text. One simple technique of preserving unity can be found i n the numerous references to past adventures which are clearly similar to the present situation of the "protagonist. The effect of such comparisons is to stress, the unified nature of the hero's experiences. The streets of New York for example w i l l remind Bardamu of the Parisian suburb where he was hospitalized during the war: Tout me rappelait les environs de mon h6pital de V i l l e j u i f , meme les petits enfants a gros genoux cagneux tout l e long des trottoirs et aussi les orgues foraines (p. 20h). The numerous references to the war i n later episodes function, i n a rather superficial manner, to unify the narrative. The g i r l who has undergone an abortion bleeds i n a manner reminiscent of the colonel shot down,in Flanders: "Ca f a i s a i t 'glougloul entre ses jambes comme dans le cou coupe du colonel a 1 9 Ibid., p. 131. 20 I do not deny the reality of a picaresque vision i n the novel. My point i s that a well-knit narrative structure constitutes an attempt to impose a form upon this vision, thereby adding an additional dimension.to the work. 38 l a guerre" (p. 259). The t r i p to A f r i c a aboard the Amiral Bragueton w i l l seem to reveal to the hero the white man's "vraie nature, tout comme a, l a guerre" (p. 112). The forces of authority which w i l l judge and condemn the hero for his inept handling of the Company's accounts, w i l l be armed with t e r r i b l e laws, l i k e " l e Conseil de guerre..." (p. 173). And i f Bardamu disapproves of l'abbe P r o t i s t e , his distaste results from an e a r l i e r experience: Je ne l e connaissais pas ce pretre, j ' a i f a i l l i l'econduire. Je n'aimais pas les cures, j'avais mes raisons, surtout depuis qu'on m'avait f a i t l e coup de 1'embarquement a San Tapeta (p. 331). Such examples confirm our suspicion that a tendency towards narrative unity i s indeed present i n the text. In addition, they lend p l a u s i b i l i t y to my hypothesis that a deep structural unity underlies the narration of the Voyage. By examining the morphology (the construction of episodes) and the "syntax" (the global narrative sequence) of the narration, we s h a l l observe • that a few basic dynamic structures, or processes, regulate, unify and i n a sense generate the narrative. For example, the novel's opening episode functions both morphologically the episode, i t w i l l be found, i s a model upon which l a t e r episodes are based — and s y n t a c t i c a l l y — the episode constitutes a sort of i n i t i a t i o n into both the f i c t i o n a l universe and the narrative sequence. Let us examine the structure of t h i s episode i n some d e t a i l . 21 By "episode" I mean a narrative fragment composed of a more or less autonomous and i n t e r r e l a t e d sequence of events and containing a discernible pattern or structure. Thus the major episodes of the novel appear to be: 1. Place Clichy 5. A f r i c a 9. Garenne-Rancy 2. Flanders 6. Infanta Combitta 10. Henrouille family 3. Paris 7• New York 11. Toulouse h. Amiral Bragueton 8. Detroit 12. A s i l e 13. Madelon and the Carnival The following pages w i l l deal with the homologous structure of these episodes as well as t h e i r capacity to function as either micro- or macro- sequences (their morphological and s y n t a c t i c a l operations, respectively). 39 La place Clichy The s i t u a t i o n of th.e tiero at the beginning of t h i s episode i s unclear. The reader knows nothing of the events of h i s l i f e previous to h i s conversation with Arthur Ganate. What does seem clear,.however, i s that the hero i s not immediately i n a c r i s i s s i t u a t i o n . On the contrary, he appears somewhat detached from the world, cut o f f from r e a l i t y by h i s naive egotism and i n t e l l e c t u a l posing. Student, poet, and ps e u d o - i n t e l l e c t u a l , the protagonist occupies a space which i s neither completely within nor t o t a l l y outside the world of d i r e c t experience. In a sense he i s i n a kind of limbo. The choice of a shaded cafe, protected from th.e g l a r i n g sun, i n which to hold a conversation r e f l e c t s a temptation to r e j e c t the world and i s o l a t e oneself from r e a l i t y . This tendency to r e j e c t r e a l i t y i s made e x p l i c i t i n Bardamu's "pri e r e vengeresse" (p. 12) and i n h i s comparison of the world to a "galere" (p. 13) i n which the many t o i l and s u f f e r while the e x p l o i t i n g masters l i v e i n luxury. 'With h i s lack of any concrete knowledge of the ways of the world, Bardamu can be viewed i n t h i s opening scene as a . r e l a t i v e innocent enjoying the s e l f - s a t i s f i e d well-being of discoursing confidently about a r e a l i t y with which he i s not t r u l y acquainted. Suddenly, however, a curious and f a t a l event takes place. Immediately a f t e r harshly condemning war, society, and l i f e i n general, the hero i s tempted by the seductive appearances — uniforms, music, etc., — of a passing m i l i t a r y regiment. Spontaneously, he decides to e n l i s t . His stated reason f o r doing so — "J.'vais v o i r s i c'est ainsi'." (p. 13) 4- implies a d e c i s i o n to gain knowledge of the world immediately through concrete experience rather than through a dependence upon newspapers and ko i n t e l l e c t u a l l y fashionable t h e o r i e s . Having abandoned a q u a s i - p a r a d i s i a l . . . 22 p o s i t i o n of repose and equilibrium the hero, i n one abrupt act, crosses i n t o a f a r l e s s comfortable p o s i t i o n d i r e c t l y i n contact with the " r e a l " world. For a very short period a l l seems w e l l : music, flowers, enthusiastic public approval greet the new r e c r u i t . Gradually however the s i t u a t i o n deteriorates. The applause grows weaker, r a i n s t a r t s to f a l l and Bardamu begins to understand what has happened. He r e a l i z e s that the seductive appearances of m i l i t a r y l i f e are a sham and fears that i n t r u t h "Nous n'etions done plus r i e n qu'entre nous?" (p. l k } . His f i r s t r e a c t i o n i s to turn back the clock and s t a r t again:. "C'est tout a recommencer!" (p. l h ) . Then he r e a l i z e s that he cannot escape, that he has been e f f e c t i v e l y trapped — "On e t a i t f a i t s , comme des r a t s " (p. lh} — and that perhaps there w i l l be l i t t l e opportunity to escape the r e a l world now that he i s i n s i d e , since "une f o i s qu'on y est, on y est bien" .(.p. 15). An examination of succeeding episodes reveals the presence of a process s i m i l a r to that which occurs at Place C l i c h y . This process, or rather pattern of events, can be roughly schematized as follows: a) The passage, from a p o s i t i o n of r e l a t i v e detachment to one of d i r e c t confrontation with the world; b) This passage into the world of experience i s often followed by a short period of r e l a t i v e well-being; c) Then occurs the period of intense s u f f e r i n g and the f e e l i n g of being trapped which accompany the period of confrontation with the world; d) There follows various attempts to escape the r e a l world; 22 " C l e a r l y t h i s i s a f a l s e equilibrium j u s t as the cafe i s a f a l s e paradise; the i n a u t h e n t i c i t y of Bardamu's o r i g i n a l p o s i t i o n of innocence i s , moreover, implied i n the i r o n i c a t t i t u d e of the narrator towards the young students. I l l e) The c i r c l e i s completed by the attainment of a shelter whose power of protection i s at best ephemeral, at worst i l l u s o r y . I t should be noted that t h i s schema does not take into account the spatio-temporal dimension of each episode, i t s dynamic i n t e r a c t i o n with what precedes and what follows. We s h a l l soon see how t h i s c i r c u l a r pattern i s transformed — when integrated into th.e s p a t i a l and temporal flow of the f i c t i o n — i n t o a c y c l i c a l process. Let us now examine the stages of t h i s fundamental narrative pattern i n more d e t a i l . The Entrance Bardamu's passage into the world of concrete experience i s r e g u l a r l y ambiguous. On one hand, he i s seduced, l i k e m i l l i o n s of others, by the emotional appeal of m i l i t a r y splendour and p a t r i o t i c r h e t o r i c - The 23 . . . enthusiasm provoked by such, appearances i s not the r e s u l t of an i n d i v i d u a l choice; rather, Bardamu's spontaneous re a c t i o n bears witness to the over-whelming power of i n h e r i t e d c u l t u r a l and r e l i g i o u s t r a d i t i o n s : Un Chretien de vingt s i e c l e s , j'en savais quelque chose, ne se r e t i e n t plus quand devant l u i vient a. passer un regiment. Ca l u i f a i t j a i l l i r trop d'idles (p. 139). On the other hand, there d e f i n i t e l y does e x i s t an element of personal choice i n the d e c i s i o n to e n l i s t . The hero consciously desires to v e r i f y h i s theories i n the r e a l world; he i s indeed driven by a personal need to understand the ways of the world: "J'avais comme envie malgre tout d'essayer de comprendre l e u r b r u t a l i t e " (p. ik.). The hero i s therefore a v i c t i m of external forces but at the same time a w i l l i n g v i c t i m : the destiny to which "Moi, je ne f i s qu'un bond d'enthousiasme" (p. 13). he i s forced to submit r e s u l t s i n part from a personal, e x i s t e n t i a l choice. This ambivalence which surrounds the entrance into the world of concrete experience recurs throughout the novel. Often the hero i s pictured as the plaything of forces beyond h i s c o n t r o l . The t r i p to A f r i c a r e s u l t s l e s s from a.positive project on the part of Bardamu than from pressures brought to bear upon him by "ceux qui me voulaient du bien" (p. 1 1 1 ) . More acted upon than master of h i s acts, Bardamu l e t s himself be manipulated by the others: On_m'avait embarque la-dessus... I l s y tenaient... a. ce que je fasse fortune... Va pour l ' A f r i q u e ! que j ' a i d i t alors et je me  suis l a i s s e pousser vers l e s tropiques, ou m'assurait- on, i l s u f f i s a i t de quelque temperence et d'une bonne 22 conduite pour se f a i r e tout de suite une s i t u a t i o n (p. 1 1 1 ) . S i m i l a r l y , the t r i p to Toulouse near the end of the novel r e s u l t s more from the o f f e r of money from P r o t i s t e and the demonic temptation of a good time than from any personal choice or project: Toujours une ou deux semaines de bonne existence! que je me d i s a i s . Le diable possede tous l e s trues pour vous tenter! On en f i n i r a jamais de l e s connaitre (p. 373). But equally often the hero chooses to confront r e a l i t y , mainly i n order to s a t i s y a "desir d'en savoir toujours davantage" (p. 235)- The taste f o r adventure and even f o r danger deeps returning: A i n s i pass'erent des jours et des jours, je reprenais un peu de sante, mais au fur et a mesure que je perdais mon d e l i r e et ma f i e v r e dans ce confort, l e gout de l'aventure et des nouvelles imprudences me r e v i n t imperieux. A 37° tout devient banal (p. 1 8 9 ) . I t a l i c s mine. 43 In a c r u c i a l episode, for example, the hero rejects the permanent shelter which Molly's love offers him. Consciously he elects to re-enter the painful cycle revealed "by his direct encounters with r e a l i t y : Je retournai tout seul en moi-meme, bien content d'etre encore plus malheureux qu'autrefois parce que j'avais rapporte dans ma solitude une nouvelle fagon de detresse, et quelque chose qui ressemblait a du v r a i sentiment (p. 230). In short, both int e r n a l and external factors motivate the hero's many' passages into the world of suffering and unhappiness. To the extent that the external forces operating upon Bardamu impose a certain conformism and that the in t e r n a l motivation on the contrary i s i n d i v i d u a l i z i n g , i t i s cl e a r l y possible to correlate t h i s ambivalence with the d i a l e c t i c "obedience/ r e v o l t " which I have already examined within the context of narrative perspective. The Period of Grace The entry into the world of experience i s often followed by a short period of r e l a t i v e well-being. The t r i p aboard the Amiral Bragueton begins we l l : "Tant que nous restames dans les eaux d'Europe ga ne s'annongait pas mal" (p. 111). Likewise, the v i s i t to America begins with the tra n q u i l period during which the hero counts the fleas on immigrants to America. Sim i l a r l y the f i r s t moments i n Toulouse — or i n any new milieu — are d e f i n i t e l y the best: C'est bon les v i l l e s inconnues'. C'est l e moment et l'endroit ou on peut supposer que les gens qu'on rencontre sont tous gentils (p. 375)• "En somme, c'est l e p e t i t delai ou on est inconnu dans chaque endroit nouveau qu'est l e plus agreable. Apres sc'est l a meme vacherie qui recommence" (p. 340). kk But "aucune indulgence ne dure en ce monde" (p. 188), and such moments of grace are always s h o r t - l i v e d and constitute l i t t l e more than the s t a r t i n g point f o r a gradual descent into s u f f e r i n g and unhappiness: A mesure qu'on reste dans un endroit, l e s choses et les gens se d e b r a i l l e n t , pourrissent et se mettent a. puer tout expres pour vous (p. 272). The Confrontation with th.e World L i t t l e space need be devoted here to evaluating the nature of the r e a l i t y encountered by the hero. This r e a l i t y w i l l be the subject of Part II of t h i s study. S u f f i c e i t to say that the e f f e c t upon Bardamu of seeing things as they r e a l l y are u s u a l l y takes the form of a f e e l i n g of being trapped and rendered immobile:.. "En somme, on ne pouvait plus, nous, ni a l l e r , n i revenir; f a l l a i t r e s t e r ou. on e t a i t " ( p . 32). This sense of entrapment r e s u l t s from a r e a l i z a t i o n of the e s s e n t i a l l y negative nature of being-in-the-world. Each entry i n t o d i r e c t contact with the world i s soon followed by a r e v e l a t i o n which i s both a source of s u f f e r i n g and another step i n a gradual process of disillusionment. The following i s a p a r t i a l l i s t of these negative discoveries: 1. Man's b r u t a l i t y and inhumanity (Flanders) 2. The r e a l i t y of death (Flanders) 3. Man's hypocrisy (Paris i n war-time) k. Persecution and sadism (Amiral Bragueton) 5. S o c i a l e x p l o i t a t i o n ( A f r i c a ) 6. A l i e n a t i o n (America) 7. The sordidness of poverty (Garenne-Rancy) 8. The betrayal of f r i e n d s h i p (.Robinson and Madelon) 9. The dangers of romantic love (Madelon) 45 Escape The normal r e a c t i o n of the hero when he r e a l i z e s the true nature of r e a l i t y and h i s i n a b i l i t y to change or reform the world i s to seek ways of protecting himself. The desire to escape from r e a l i t y comes to determine much of Bardamu's behaviour: La meilleure des choses a, f a i r e , n'est-ce pas, quand on est dans ce monde, c'est d'en s o r t i r ? Fou ou pas, peur ou pas (p. 6l). The episodes of the novel are f i l l e d with various escape projects: desertion ( i n Flanders [pp. 44-49],- and i n the A f r i c a n f o r e s t -[pp. 175-176"}), feigned (or r e a l ) madness (pp. 60-6l), cinema (pp. 200-201, 347, 349), theatre (pp. 98-100; p. 345), drunkenness (.p. 264), eroticism (p. 352) and so on. Unfortunately, a l l these strategies to leave the world f a r behind share a si m i l a r weakness: they do not l a s t . The fi l m ' s images soon fade, sobriety succeeds i n e b r i a t i o n , dreams are interrupted by the return of day. R e a l i t y returns, and whether desired or not the process must begin again: "C'etait a, recommencer entierement" (p. 272). The question a r i s e s : does Bardamu a c t i v e l y seek out the misfortunes which each re-entry into the world implies, or i s he b a s i c a l l y , l i k e a l l the others, a more or less passive v i c t i m of external forces? As the following passage i n d i c a t e s , Bardamu's s i t u a t i o n i s complicated by h i s desire to know and understand. Not without a f e e l i n g of g u i l t , the hero comes to r e a l i z e that i n f a c t he i s the w i l l i n g v i c t i m of a r e a l i t y which, paradoxically, i s inescapable: J ' e t a i s surtout coupable de desirer au fond que tout ga continue. Et que meme je n'y voyais plus guere d'inconvenients a ce qu'on a i l l e tous ensemble se v a d r o u i l l e r de plus en plus l o i n dans l a n u i t . D'abord, i l n'y avait meme plus besoin de de s i r e r , ga marchait tout seul, et dare-dare encore! (p. 327). To summarize, the presence of a recur r i n g narrative sequence or " c i r c l e " structures the episodes of the novel. This sequence contains three primary elements: the entry into the r e a l world; the confrontation with concrete r e a l i t y ; the attempts at escape from the world. It i s my contention that t h i s sequence, which i s respected throughout the novel, constitutes a "morphological" pattern underlying and uni f y i n g the ent i r e n a r r a t i v e . Narrative Syntax I t would be a gross s i m p l i f i c a t i o n to conclude that by unearthing a recurr i n g pattern of events I have a r r i v e d at a f u l l d e l i n e a t i o n of the novel's narrative structure. One should not overlook, f o r example, the fac t that each sequence i s both complete i n i t s e l f and yet strangely "open-ended". For the i l l u s o r y nature of the escape element of the sequence implies the necessity of " s t a r t i n g again". The process becomes therefore i n f i n i t e l y repeatable, since each sequence c a r r i e s within i t s e l f the necessity of r e i t e r a t i o n . Thus, i n addition to being superimposable one upon the other — because they are i d e n t i c a l , s t r u c t u r a l l y — the narrative sequences are " h o r i z o n t a l l y " a r t i c u l a t e d i n a t h e o r e t i c a l l y never-ending chain. This s y n t a c t i c a l unity can be perceived i n the i n s e p a r a b i l i t y of the hero's escape from the war from h i s entry into the A f r i c a n adventure: En Afrique! que j ' a i d i t moi. Plus que ga sera l o i n , mieux ga vaudra'. (p. 111). S i m i l a r l y , the hero's abandonment of the Company hut and f l i g h t into the jungle constitute the f i r s t step i n h i s pilgrimage to America, much as h i s escape from Molly marks h i s entry into a new cycle i n France. bl This unity of the narrative syntax i s underlined by yet another aspect of the interrelatedness of episodes. A global view of the narrative reveals an i n t e r e s t i n g s t r u c t u r a l phenomenon: the dual status of each episode as both an independent sequence and as one element i n a larger sequence. Thus the opening episode at Place Clichy functions both as a complete sequence and as the entrance element i n t o the l a r g e r War episode. The Flanders 25 episode i n turn contains the basic sequence but also constitutes the confrontation element of the War episode. A s i m i l a r pattern of organic interrelatedness i s d i s c e r n i b l e i n the A f r i c a n episode with i t s constituent sequences: the episode aboard the Amiral Bragueton (Entrance).; the v i s i t s to Fort-Gono, Topo, and to the Company's hut (Confrontation); the i l l n e s s , followed by the burning of the hut, the -glight into the jungle, the meeting with the Spanish sargent, the stay i n San Tapeta, and the t r i p aboard the Infanta Combitta (Escape). The same s t r u c t u r a l phenomenon operates i n the American episode with i t s minor but complete constituent sequences (aboard the galere; as flea-counter; i n New York; i n D e t r o i t ; with M o l l y ) . This s p e c i f i c episodic pattern i s continued throughout the second h a l f of the novel which i s composed of the following macro-sequences: ( l ) Garenne-Rancy, (2) the Henrouille adventure, (3) the v i s i t to Toulouse, (b) the A s i l e . The structure of these episodes i s , however, somewhat l e s s coherent than that of e a r l i e r episodes. This r e l a t i v e looseness of form may be a t t r i b u t a b l e to the protagonist's progressive i n t e g r a t i o n into the amorphous f l u x of experience: . "Maintenant i l n'y avait plus qu'a y a l l e r carrement, dans l e t a s " (p. 2^0). Bardamu becomes in c r e a s i n g l y a p a r t i c i p a n t 25 The entrances before the enemy; the confrontations with death; the escape attempts (loss of consciousness, desertion, e t c . ) . 48 i n the daily struggles of existence and less of a marginal voyeur. Nevertheless, despite t h i s apparent tendency towards formlessness, the pr i n c i p a l elements of the basic narrative pattern can be isolated: I. Garenne-Rancy A. Entrance 1. Medical Studies (p. 237) 2. I n s t a l l a t i o n (pp. 240-241) B. Confrontation 1. Sordidness of poverty a) Aborted woman (pp. 258-262) b) Tortured daughter (p. 265) c) Abandoned mother (pp. 269-271) 2. Disease and death (Bebert) C. Escape 1. Renunciation (p. 26l) and resignation (p. 299) 2. Provocation of scandal (pp. 271-272) 3. Cinema (p. 272) 4. Contemplative l i f e (pp. 284-285) and stoicism (pp. 285-286) I I . The Henrouille Adventure A. Entrance 1. Promise of money to Bardamu (p. 257) 2. Promise of money to Robinson (p. 304) B. Confrontation 1. Plan to exile grand'mere Henrouille (pp. 253-254) 2. Plan to murder grand'mere Henrouille (pp. 303-305) C. Escape 1. Into street (p. 257) 2. Into blindness (Robinson, p. 323) 3. Into theatre and pornography (pp. 345-355) I I I . The v i s i t to Toulouse A. Entrance 1. Early period of grace (p. 375) 2. Pleasure with Madelon (pp. 378-379) 49 B. Confrontation 1. Sentimental love (pp. 398-402) 2. Friendship betrayed (p. 399-402) 3. Murder of grand'mere Henrouille (p. 403) C. Escape 1. Into world of the r i c h (pp. 392-398) 2. Return to Paris ( A s i l e , p. 403) IV. The A s i l e A. Ent ranc e 1. Obedient Assistant (p. 4ll) 2. Director (pp. 434-435) B. Confrontation 1. Absurdity of world (Baryton, pp. 426-427) 2. Angst (p. 419; p. 450) 3. Murderous jealousy (p. 484) C. Escape 1. Silence (Parapine, p. 4l6) 2. Violence (pp. 459-460) 3. Erotici s m (pp. 463-464) 4. Carnival (pp. 467-478) In resume then, the narrative i s composed of s t r u c t u r a l l y s i m i l a r episodes (sequences) recurring r e g u l a r l y throughout the novel. The nature of the sequence i s such that i t s r e i t e r a t i o n r e s u l t s from an i n t e r n a l necessity. Complete i n i t s e l f , each sequence serves also as a necessary l i n k i n a t h e o r e t i c a l l y ^ ^ i n f i n i t e n a r r a t i v e chain. The narrative structure presents therefore both a morphological and a s y n t a c t i c a l unity. This l a t t e r i s re i n f o r c e d by the f a c t that each sequence can be seen to form an element of what might be termed "macro-sequences"; the War episode, the Henrouille episode, the Madelon episode. These macro-sequences i n turn can 2b T h e o r e t i c a l , because i n f a c t the adventure does come to an end. But t h i s ending i s - r a d i c a l l y ambiguous, since Robinson's death constitutes both the denouement of the story and the incep t i o n of the narration (of the protagonist as narr a t o r ) . Thus i n a sense the chain is_ f i n a l l y i n f i n i t e insofar as the end of the text as story obliges a return to the beginning of the text, now conceived as a proj ect. 50 27 be grouped as simple elements c o n s t i t u t i n g the two p r i n c i p a l sections of the work. Given the "organic" i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p of episodes as well as t h e i r s i m i l a r configuration, there appears to be l i t t l e doubt as to the profound s t r u c t u r a l unity.of the novel's narrative universe. P l o t - s t r u c t u r e In Bart I of t h i s study I have described both the formal framework (perspective) through which the narrative i s presented and the patterns revealed i n the narrative as such. I have sought to demonstrate that the narrative possesses a complex but d e f i n i t e formal unity which counteracts the tendency towards fragmentation and formlessness inherent i n the u t i l i z a t i o n of elements of the picaresque genre. This unity i s reinfo r c e d by the existence of an almost c l a s s i c a l p l o t - s t r u c t u r e . When the work i s considered as a whole, i t i s indeed possible to extrapolate a pl o t - s t r u c t u r e possessing an almost conventional unity. The f i r s t two stages of conventional . . . . . 28 p l o t s — exposition and i n i t i a t i n g a c t i o n — are c l e a r l y present i n the Clichy episode: The conversation between the hero and Arthur Ganate' 129 introduces the " s i t u a t i o n within which the c o n f l i c t develops. Their comments concerning the nature of humanity, the structure of society, and the place of the i n d i v i d u a l serve to "expose" the problems that w i l l be developed i n l a t e r episodes. Moreover, the Clichy episode presents the i n i t i a t i n g act (the enlistment of Bardamu) which brings the opposing forces 27 The f i r s t section presents a c i r c u l a r movement which commences and terminates at Place C l i c h y ; the second section begins with the reformist-project of Bardamu and f i n i s h e s with the hero's t o t a l detachment from the world. Both sections can be seen to contain the three major elements — Entrance / Confrontation / Escape — common to both micro- and macro-sequences. 28 These d e f i n i t i o n s are taken from the a r t i c l e " Plot" i n the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetics, edited by Alex Preminger (Princeton, 1965), pp. 622-625. on 7 Poetics, pp. 62U-625. 51 — the hero and " r e a l i t y " ; — into contact and c o n f l i c t . The war experience as well..as the protagonist's adventures i n A f r i c a and America constitute the period of r i s i n g a ction leading to the c r i s i s , or c r u c i a l point upon which a l l further action depends. At this.stage, "the protagonist i n the c o n f l i c t takes, consciously or unconsciously, the ac t i o n which determines the future course of the c o n f l i c t irrevocably'. 1." In Voyage, t h i s c r i s i s period takes place when the•protagonist, almost i n spite of himself, refuses the shelter of love, generosity and t r a n q u i l l i t y offered to him by Molly i n order to pursue "cette envie de m'enfuir de partout, a l a recherche de j e ne sais quoi..." (p. 2 2 9 ) . The c r i s i s i s then followed by a long period of f a l l i n g , action corresponding to the protagonist's gradual submission to the way things are and h i s awareness of the i n e v i t a b l e triumph of nature over the i n d i v i d u a l ' s desire to change r e a l i t y . The period of f a l l i n g a c t i o n concludes with the .denouement. In Voyage, the conclusion i s marked by the death of Robinson and the apparent resignation and detachment 31 of the protagonist from the,world. Here the d e f i n i t i v e "escape" projects 32 appear to have been r e a l i z e d , death and si l e n c e : "qu'on n'en parle plus" (p. ^ 9 3 ) . However, the sequential process i s c l e a r l y not terminated, since others must continue the cycle as long as the world and man coexist: "Mais a. d'autres'. ... C'est l a jeunesse qu'on redemande comme ga sans avoir l ' a i r . . . " (p. 4 8 9 ) . The novel thus ends i n an "open" manner — between cycles, between night and day — much as i t began. This s t r u c t u r a l s i m i l a r i t y between beginning and end may be inte r p r e t e d as the l a s t of numerous elements which 3 0 Poetics, p. 6 2 5 . 3 1 "Mon trimbalage a moi, i l e t a i t bien f i n i . A d'autres! ... Le monde e t a i t refermei Au bout qu'on e t a i t a r r i v e s nous a u t r e s i " (p. 4 8 9 ) . 3 2 I say "appear" because, as we have seen, the project to " t e l l a l l " — the r e c i t w i l l intervene between the death of Robinson and the f i n a l s ilence of Bardamu. 52 create the profound unity of the work's narrative structure. The novel, i n short, possesses a c l o s e l y - k n i t narrative structure which defies and counteracts the tendency towards d i v i s i o n , looseness of form, and fragmentation inherent i n a work possessing many c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the picaresque genre. As we have seen i n t h i s chapter, t h i s narrative cohesion i s assured f i r s t l y by the presence of a basic sequence of actions which i s repeated throughout the novel, secondly by the causal l i n k i n g of these s t r u c t u r a l l y s i m i l a r sequences.in a " h o r i z o n t a l " narrative chain, and t h i r d l y by the f u s i o n of basic sequences (episodes) r e s u l t i n g i n the creation of l a r g e r but analogous narrative patterns. A further source of narrative unity can be located i n the novel's paradoxical ending, an ending which marks, i n a fundamental sense, the beginning of the n a r r a t i v e . F i n a l l y , i f I have bothered to point out the presence of a u n i f i e d p l o t structure i n Voyage, i t was i n order simply to underline the powerful tendency towards unity — that i s , towards a r t i s t i c wholeness — which we have observed i n the context of both narrative perspective and narrative morphology and syntax. This profound unity i s s i t u a t e d , paradoxically, within a series of d u a l i s t i c structures: the double n a r r a t i v e focus, the ambivalence of the protagonist, h i s double attitu d e both towards his f i c t i o n a l a l t e r ego, Robinson, and towards l i f e i n general. What ultim a t e l y transcends these dualisms and confers a formal unity upon the text i s the protagonist's transformation, a f t e r Robinson's death, i n t o a narrator who has decided to "raconter tout" (p. 27), and thereby endow his own existence with a c e r t a i n i n t e g r i t y . By " t e l l i n g a l l " therefore, the text escapes from the s t r u c t u r a l fragmentation imposed by the picaresque form and refutes those who would in t e r p r e t the work as t o t a l l y negative and n i h i l i s t i c i n i t s message. PART II THEMATIC STRUCTURES 54 Introduction In the preceding section of t h i s study we observed the presence of a dual narrative perspective. One of the functions of t h i s double point of view, was to emphasize and to d e l i m i t the protagonist's evolution, h i s gradual transformation from the youthful and.naive volunteer f o r m i l i t a r y service (at Place Clichy) to the resigned and detached d i r e c t o r of a mental asylum. This evolution, as we saw, r e s u l t s i n part from the hero's conscious desire to understand the world, his project to a r r i v e at a p r i v i l e g e d f a m i l i a r i t y with even the most negative aspects of existence. The protagonist,in short, undertakes a kind of quest, the ultimate goal of which, however, i s never c l e a r l y fcjpiulated: "... mon v i c e , cette envie de m'enfuir de partou.t, a, l a recherche de j e ne sais quoi..."• (p. 229). But i f the object of the quest proves to be vague and problematic, there i s no doubt that the process of searching i n i t s e l f constitutes a source of secondary revelations and discoveries about the world which r a d i c a l l y a l t e r the protagonist's outlook. This apprenticeship undergone by Bardamu normally assumes a regular pattern: from a state of i l l u s i o n and ignorance (only r e l a t i v e l y b l i s s f u l ) the hero makes a discovery which destroys the i l l u s i o n and r e s u l t s i n the attainment of authentic knowledge. The process may be schematized as follows: 55 A. State of False Knowledge (.Illusion, r e l a t i v e happiness); B. Discovery or Revelation (.Disillusion, s u f f e r i n g ) ; C. True Knowledge (Anguish, unhappiness). The consequence f o r the protagonist of the r e p e t i t i o n of t h i s pattern of discovery i s the gradual abandonment of the state of naive innocence and i t s replacement by an outlook clouded by "notre savoir hargneux des choses de ce monde..." (p. 463). The following chapters w i l l be devoted to a d e t a i l e d analysis of the content of these discoveries. This content'constitutes the novel's thematique. In these chapters my p r i n c i p a l , but not exclusive, concern i s with the semantic l e v e l of the t e x t , with the "meaning of words i n a context""'.'1 I have sought to organize t h i s content around a l i m i t e d number of elements or categories: (a) human nature and human destiny; (b) the s e l f and the others: the i n d i v i d u a l i n society. In a f i r s t chapter, however, I w i l l attempt to define the mode of discovery, the manner i n which the quest i s effected. An apprenticeship consists of both a p a r t i c u l a r approach to the objects of knowing and the objects themselves. I t i s imperative therefore to understand the way i n which the protagonist approaches r e a l i t y . For the s e l e c t i o n of. one mode of knowing which i s considered authentic over another r e f l e c t s basic presuppositions about the nature of existence. I t i s these premises upon which the protagonist's project i s based that I s h a l l now examine. Eugene H. Falk, " S t y l i s t i c Forces i n the Narrative",, i n Patterns of  L i t e r a r y Style, ed. Joseph Str e l k a (University Park and London, 1971), p. 43. 56 CHAPTER I AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE: THE BODY'S TRUTH ..." ce que nous pouvons veritablement savoir ou c r o i r e savoir en tous domaines n'est autre chose que ce que nous pouvons ou observer ou f a i r e nous-memes... 2 - Paul Valery La force et l a f a i b l e s s e de 1'esprit sont mal nominees; e l l e s ne sont en e f f e t que l a bonne ou l a mauvaise d i s p o s i t i o n des organes. 3 - La Rochefoucauld Place C l i c h y As I remarked i n my analysis of narrative structure, the novel's i n i t i a l episode — the enlistment scene at Place Clichy — functions as a 1+ kind of model f o r succeeding episodes: s t r u c t u r a l elements of the episode tend to recur throughout the work.- I f we turn our attention to the work's p r i n c i p a l themes i t i s again the Clichy episode which provides key information. I t i s t h i s tableau i n f a c t which suggests the importance of ascertaining the nature of the hero's approach to the world. For upon close inspection the episode i s seen to be dealing p r i n c i p a l l y with the t r a n s i t i o n from one mode of i n t e r a c t i o n with the world to another. 2 Oeuvres, I (Par i s , 1957), 1346. Maximes (Paris: Editions Garnier Freres, 1967), p. 16. k Another c r i t i c a l view would see t h i s episode as a generator of the episodes which follow i t . 5 7 S p e c i f i c a l l y , t h i s t r a n s i t i o n takes the protagonist from a r e l a t i o n s h i p with the world that i s mediated by abstractions to one that i s more concrete and d i r e c t . The global implications of t h i s t r a n s i t i o n are extremely s i g n i f i c a n t , both f o r an understanding of the work's Weltanschauung and for an in s i g h t into the text's poetic or verbal structure.'' Before attending to these general questions, I s h a l l f i r s t examine t h i s e s s e n t i a l episode i n some d e t a i l . The novel opens with the l i v e l y discussion i n a Montmartre cafe between two youthful carabins, the protagonist and h i s f r i e n d Arthur Ganate. While Bardamu i s an avowed.anarchist whose opinions are considered advanced, Arthur on the contrary i s extremely conservative and t r a d i t i o n a l i s t i n h i s 6 outlook. The conversation takes place i n the protective shade of a cafe, the t r a d i t i o n a l haven of the French i n t e l l e c t u a l and of bavards i n general. An important aspect of the debate between the students i s the f a c i l i t y with which t h e i r apparently d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed views can be reconciled: "Enfin nous nous reconciliames avec Arthur pour f i n i r , tout a f a i t . On e t a i t du meme avis sur presque tout" (p. 13). The discussion, which touches on several important t o p i c s , does not seem 7 to be serious. The protagonist i s more upset by the a t t i t u d e of a waiter than by the g r a v i t y of the problems being discussed. An aura of i n a u t h e n t i c i t y surrounds t h i s conversation between would-be i n t e l l e c t u a l s , an i n a u t h e n t i c i t y which i s implied — as we saw i n Part I of t h i s study — by the i r o n i c a t t i t u d e of the narrator-observer. ^ To be examined i n Part I I I of t h i s study. 6 "... j'en suis moi pour l'ordre e t a b l i " .(p. 12). "Et puis j ' e t a i s emu aussi parce que l e gareon m'avait un peu t r a i t e de sordide a. cause du pourboire" (p. 13). 58 Arthur Ganate unconsciously poses the fundamental problem when he accuses Bardamu's poem --"une maniere de p r i e r e vengeresse et s o c i a l e " (p. 12) — of not holding up before the fa c t s of l i f e : . "Ton p e t i t morceau ne t i e n t pas devant l a v i e " (p. 12). . Bardamu's response to t h i s objection to his ideas i s to e n l i s t i n order ( p a r t i a l l y ) to v e r i f y h i s opinions. In one enthusiastic leap, h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p to the world i s r a d i c a l l y transformed. From the p o s i t i o n of a detached and somewhat d i l l e t t a n t i s h i n t e l l e c t u a l he suddenly becomes an involved p a r t i c i p a n t . His viewpoint ceases to be mediated by concepts and ideas, which are malleable and e a s i l y r e c o n c i l a b l e : "... l e s i d l e s ne font jamais peur. Avec e l l e s , r i e n n'est perdu, tout s'arrange" (p. 332). Ideas are abandoned and replaced by d i r e c t observation and p a r t i c i p a t i o n . The mode of i n t e r a c t i o n with r e a l i t y becomes concrete: "Moi je ne f i s qu'un bond d'enthous'iasme. Je vais v o i r s i c'est a i n s i l que j e c r i e a Arthur, et me v o i c i p a r t i m'engager, et au pas de course encore" (p. 13). Thus i n a single act of enthusiasm, which can be viewed (symbolically) as a type of r i t e de passage, the hero forsakes the t r a d i t i o n a l p o s i t i o n of the s t u d e n t / i n t e l l e c t u a l . He leaves the shaded protection of the cafe and exposes himself to a scorching sun soon to be replaced by drenching r a i n s . Whilbe t h i s new v u l n e r a b i l i t y w i l l b r i n g with i t s u f f e r i n g and anguish, i t w i l l also f u r n i s h the l i g h t needed i f the hero i s to "voir c l a i r " . The exposure to the natural rains (p. l h ) w i l l constitute the f i r s t of many moments of disillusionment as they wash o f f the veneer of f a l s e appearances ( m i l i t a r y splendour, c i v i l i a n approval) and reveal to the protagonist the true s i t u a t i o n , i n i t s concrete ugliness and solitude: "La p l u i e est 59 tombee... Nous n'etions done plus r i e n qu'entre nous? Les uns der r i e r e l e s autres? La musique s'est arretee" (p. lh). The r a d i c a l difference between the pseudo-intellectual approach to the world represented by cafe conversations and the concrete approach of dir e c t experience i s confirmed at the outset of the war episode. The immediate, h o r r i b l e nature of t h i s experience i s such that the detached and abstract discussions of Place Clichy are completely i n v a l i d a t e d . Truly authentic discoveries about man and about r e a l i t y are made within the context of the experience i t s e l f : Comment aurais-je pu me douter moi de cette horreur en quittant. l a place Clichy? Qui aurait pu prevoir avant d'entrer vraiment dans l a guerre, tout ce que contenait l a sale ame heroique et faineante des hommes? (p. I T ) . This new knowledge i s of a d i f f e r e n t nature from the fashionable opinions proffered within the sheltered cafe. This difference r e s u l t s i n part from the fac t that the protagonist's p o s i t i o n (or viewpoint) has al t e r e d r a d i c a l l y . The distance between himself and the object of knowing has been reduced: he i s now positioned as i t were both before and beside the object. He has become both, observer of and p a r t i c i p a n t i n the process through which the o b j e c t - i n - i t s e l f i s made manifest: Je venais de decouvrir d'un coup l a guerre tout entiere. J ' e t a i s depucele. Faut etre a. peu pres seul devant e l l e comme .je l ' e t a i s a. ce moment-la pour bien l a v o i r l a vache, en face et de p r o f i l (p. 18). Throughout the tex t , the narrator w i l l r e f e r to the p r i v i l e g e d point of view afforded him by the t r a n s i t i o n to a l e v e l of concrete i n t e r a c t i o n with r e a l i t y . The authen t i c i t y which characterizes his experiences seems due to. the almost p h y s i c a l nature of h i s new r e l a t i o n s h i p with the world. The e s s e n t i a l aspect of the voyage to A f r i c a , f o r example, i s that the encounter with the t r o p i c s (and colonialism) w i l l not be of a t o u r i s t nature. 60 In t h i s l a t t e r instance, encounters with r e a l i t y are mediated by the comforting signs of European c i v i l i z a t i o n : r a i l r o a d s , t o u r i s t agencies, h i s t o r i c monuments, and so on. The protagonist's t r i p however w i l l be quite d i f f e r e n t : Nous voguions vers l ' A f r i q u e , l a v r a i e , l a grande; c e l l e des insondables f o r e t s , des miasmes deleteres, des solitudes i n v i o l e e s . . . Rien de commun avec cette Afrique decortiquee des agences et des monuments, des chemins de f e r et des nougats. Ah non'. Nous a l l i o n s nous l a v o i r dans son jus, l a v r a i e Afrique I(p. 1 1 2 ) . Consistently the protagonist establishes with the world the most immediate r e l a t i o n s h i p p o s s i b l e . The choice of a medical career i s i n part l i n k e d with the search f o r authentic knowledge, since medecine necessa r i l y involves a concrete contact with others: Avec l a medecine, moi, pas tre s doue, tout de meme je m'etais bien rapproche des hommes, des betes, de tout. Maintenant i l n'y avait plus qu'a y a l l e r carrement, dans l e tas (p. 2k0). The close p h y s i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p with the world afforded by medecine w i l l o f f e r to the observant protagonist p r i v i l e g e d and i r r e f u t a b l e d i s c o v e r i e s . His c u r i o s i t y and desire to understand the world w i l l be amply rewarded by an intimate acquaintanceship with h i s patients: Je me l a i s s a i s a l l e r , mentir. Je les s u i v a i s . l i s - me tenaient, pleurnichaient l e s c l i e n t s malades, chaque jour, davantage, me conduisaient a. l e u r merci. En meme temps i l s me montraient de la i d e u r s en laid e u r s tout ce q u ' i l s dissimulaient dans l a boutique de leur ame et ne l e montraient a personne qu'a moi (p..2UU). By adopting t h i s concrete and immediate i n t e r a c t i o n with the world, the protagonist i m p l i c i t l y c a l l s i n question other modes of obtaining knowledge. Compared to the concrete manner of knowing pr a c t i s e d by the hero, other approaches can be characterized as a b s t r a c t i o n i s t , mediated, and mystifying. Arthur Ganate, f o r example, expresses his opinions i n the 61 form of pious abstractions: "nos peres",.."la race frangaise". But the protagonist, foreshadowing h i s future orientation,.hastens to demystify these abstractions by describing the concrete r e a l i t y which the concept disguises: C'est pas v r a i l La race, ce que t'appelles comme ga, c'est seulement ce grand ramassis de miteux dans mon genre, chassieux, puceux, t r a n s i s , qui ont echoue i c i poursuivis par l a faim, l a peste, l e s tumeurs et l e f r o i d , venus vaincus des quatre coins du monde. l i s - ne pouvaient pas a l l e r plus l o i n a cause de l a mer. C'est ga l a France et puis c'est ga l e s Frangais (pp. 11-12). Another examplesof the u t i l i s a t i o n of abstract concepts which deform r e a l i t y can be found i n the naive outlook of the young American, L o l a . For her, the war i s a sort of epic romance i n which she plays the rS l e of Saviour — "son p e t i t a i r Jeanne d'Arc" (p. 52) — of a su f f e r i n g France: Pour Lo l a , l a France demeurait une espece d'entite chevaleresque, aux contours peu d e f i n i s dans l'espace et l e temps, mais en ce moment, dangereusement blessee... (p. 53). Her approach to the war-experience seems so inauthentic to the protagonist that he conceives a profound d i s t r u s t f o r a mind which can be taken over by deforming, "romantic" images of r e a l i t y . Lola's second-hand knowledge of the war, a knowledge mediated by the p a t r i o t i c r h e t o r i c which inundates g P a r i s , makes of her a dangerous but i n v i t i n g temptation, o f f e r i n g to Bardamu an unreal but charming impression of the world: Mais je me mefiais des impressions a present. On m'avait possede une f o i s a 1'impression, on ne m'aurait'plus au boniment. Personne. Je croyais a son corps, j e ne croyais pas a. son e s p r i t . Je -la considerais comme une charmante embusquee, l a Lola, a l'envers de l a guerre, a. l'envers de l a v i e . g "La p e t i t e Lola ne connaissait du frangais que quelques phrases, mais e l l e s etaient p a t r i o t i q u e s : 'On l e s aura!...', 'Madelon, viens!...' C'etait a pleurer" (p. 56). 62 E l l e t r a v e r s a i t mon angoisse avec l a meritalite du P e t i t Journal: Pompon, Fanfare, ma Lorraine et gants blancs... (p. 56). While the h i s t o r y teacher Princhard shares none of the i l l u s i o n s of a Lola, his- own approach to the war experience i s also held by the narrator to "be inauthentic. For although Princhard 1s knowledgeable analyses of the h i s t o r i c a l factors underlying the catastrophe may well be l o g i c a l , coherent, and even correct, such an i n t e l l e c t u a l approach i s t o t a l l y unable to a f f e c t the course of events, to put an end to the slaughter. Analysis i s consequently a waste of energy, and the i n t e l l e c t u a l , a p i t i f u l m i s f i t trapped i n a world of i r r e f u t a b l e concrete r e a l i t i e s . Thus upon the (probable) execution of Princhard, f o r desertion, the narrator observes: L u i , Princhard, je ne l e r e v i s jama-is. I I avait l e vice des i n t e l l e c t u e l s , i l e t a i t f u t i l e . I I savait trop de choses ce gargon-la. et ces choses 1 'embrouillaient . . . . Je n'ai jamais r i e n f a i t pour avoir de ses nouvelles, pour savoir s 1 i l e t a i t vraiment•"disparu" ce Princhard, comme on l ' a repete. Mais c'est mieux q u ' i l s o i t disparu (p. 71 )• Princhard's f a i l u r e to adjust to a world of d i r e c t experience c a l l s into question the worth and u t i l i t y of reason, logic,and a n a l y s i s . His i n a b i l i t y to cope with the modern world r e s u l t s from his attempt to defend himself from r e a l i t y by attempting to analyse and explain i t . More generally, the philosophic domain — where reason and l o g i c rule supreme — may well prove to be simply an escapist r e t r e a t f o r the f e a r f u l . For philosophy, with i t s penchant f o r jargon and systematization separates rather than unites the s e l f with the world. Its conclusions can only be a r t i f i c i a l and i n a sense second-hand: "Philosopher n'est qu'une autre facon d'avoir peur et ne porte guere qu'aux laches simulacres" .(p. 205). 63 To r e t u r n f o r a moment t o t h e C l i c h y e p i s o d e , i t seems c l e a r t h a t g i v e n t h e examples c i t e d above, t h e s i g n i f i c a n c e o f t h i s t r a n s i t i o n scene goes f a r beyond i t s f u n c t i o n as an i n t r o d u c t i o n t o t h e war e x p e r i e n c e . I n a s e n s e , t h e C l i c h y e p i s o d e g e n e r a t e s much o f what w i l l f o l l o w , s i n c e i m p l i c i t i n t h e a c t i o n s o f t h i s m i n i - e p i s o d e a r e p r e m i s e s and v i e w p o i n t s w h i c h s t r u c t u r e t h e work's t h e m a t i c framework. Bardamu's spontaneous and u n r e asoned d e c i s i o n t o " v o i r s i c ' e s t a i n s i " ( p . 13), c o n t a i n s an i m p l i c i t r e j e c t i o n o f n o r m a l l y a c c e p t e d ways o f a p p r e h e n d i n g t h e t r u t h o f t h e w o r l d : a n a l y s i s , c o n c e p t u a l i z a t i o n , i d e a l i z a t i o n , and so f o r t h . The h e r o ' s "bond d'enthousiasme", w h i c h he w i l l o f t e n r e g r e t — so i n t o l e r a b l e a r e t h e d i s c o v e r i e s i t l e a d s t o — c o n s t i t u t e s a l s o a l e a p o f r e v o l t , t h e i n i t i a l s t e p i n a l o n g and p a i n f u l r o a d t o l i b e r a t i o n f r o m i l l u s i o n . The C l i c h y e p i s o d e , t h e r e f o r e , p r e s e n t s t h e f i r s t s i g n i n t h e work o f an a t t i t u d e o f s y s t e m a t i c doubt and s u s p i c i o n d i r e c t e d t o w a r d s t h e t r a d i t i o n a l m e d i a t o r s o f knowledge. The h e r o ' s t r a n s i t i o n a l a c t i m p l i e s a C a r t e s i a n - l i k e t a b u l a r a s a w i t h r e g a r d t o knowledge. But i n Voyage, doubt and s u s p i c i o n a r e t u r n e d upon t h e C o g i t o i t s e l f . Reason's m y s t i f y i n g powers a r e r e j e c t e d and r e p l a c e d by t h e l e s s e x a l t i n g b u t c o n s i d e r a b l y more t r u s t w o r t h y d a t a o f d i r e c t p e r c e p t i o n and o b s e r v a t i o n : " I I y a, c ' e s t e x a c t , beaucoup de f o l i e a. s 'occuper d ' a u t r e chose que de ce qu'on v o i t " (p. 170). F o r t h e p o s t - C l i c h y h e r o — who i s i n a way r e b o r n i n t o t h e w o r l d o f c o n c r e t e e x p e r i e n c e — t o see i s t o e x i s t , and h i s c r e d o , v i d e o ergo sum. 6k Language and the Body On what premises i s based the protagonist's r e j e c t i o n of the i n t e l l e c t -u a l s ' " approach to r e a l i t y ? What factors can explain or j u s t i f y the s e l e c t i o n of d i r e c t p a r t i c i p a t i o n as a means of a t t a i n i n g understanding and knowledge? The answers to such questions should a s s i s t us i n determining the fundamental " v i s i o n " of the work, the basic presuppositions about the nature of man and r e a l i t y which inform the text. As we have seen, the enlistment scene at Place Clichy implies a r e f u s a l of the space (cafe) and the a c t i v i t y (discussion and debate) of the i n t e l l e c t u a l , that t r a d i t i o n a l seeker of knowledge and t r u t h . The protagonist chooses instead to gain understanding through concrete experience. It would appear that the underlying determinants of t h i s t r a n s i t i o n are twofold: f i r s t , the i n a u t h e n t i c i t y of language, which serves to mask rather than to c l a r i f y man's r e l a t i o n s h i p to the world; and second, the aut h e n t i c i t y of the body, which serves as a v a l i d source of revelations concerning the nature of r e a l i t y . Language Bardamu*s sudden leap into a world of d i r e c t experience i s motivated i n part by a need to confirm or v e r i f y h i s opinions and h i s words: a poem i s the object which Arthur Ganate accuses of not being true to l i f e (p. 12). Thus the v a l i d i t y of language as an e x p l i c a t o r of r e a l i t y i s i m p l i c i t l y questioned. Symbolic i n i t s very nature, language i s a structure of sounds and signs which tends to act as a r e f r a c t i n g prism, thus deforming or d i s t o r t i n g r e a l i t y . Through language, the world i s i n a sense "de-realized". 65 R e a l i t y i s conveyed by concepts, ideas and words; i n short, by abstractions. As a r e s u l t , knowledge of the t h i n g - i n - i t s e l f becomes d i f f i c u l t i f not impossible. The concrete r e a l i t y of war, as the protagonist discovers, i s s u f f e r i n g and death. Language can express the p h y s i c a l discovery, but beyond t h i s reporting function, i t has nothing to add. but empty words: "De l a prison on en sort vivant. Pas de l a guerre. Tout l e r e s t e , c'est des mots" (p. 18). But language's incapacity to a i d i n the discovery of fundamental truths does not make i t , an impotent and useless instrument. On the contrary, language's power to v e i l and to disguise r e a l i t y , i t s power of m y s t i f i c a t i o n therefore, renders i t a p o t e n t i a l l y dangerous weapon. For words — i n appearance simple movements of a i r — can be manipulated and exploited to provoke and even to i d e a l i z e the worst of horrors. Through language, falsehoods are transformed i n t o v i r t u e s . This fa c t i s c l e a r l y demonstrated i n the Paris section of the war episode wherein "on mentait avec rage" (p. 56) i n order to keep the slaughter going. Di s t r u s t and suspicion are consequently the only attitudes one can properly take with regard to language. To f a i l to assume such a stance i n v i t e s d i s a s t e r : Avec l e s mots on he se mefie jamais suffisamment, i l s ont l ' a i r de r i e n l e s mots, pas l ' a i r de dangers bien sur, plutot de p e t i t s vents, de p e t i t s sons de bouche... On ne se mefie pas d'eux l e s mots et l e malheur a r r i v e (p. 476). Pe. Perhaps the most important lesson learned by the protagonist i n the war experience i s p r e c i s e l y a language lesson. In wartime the manipulation of words i n order to deform and to i d e a l i z e r e a l i t y i s ubiquitous and so 66 9 . 1 0 blatant that r e a l i t y seems to have been turned upside-down. Trapped between two contradictory interpretations of the same s i t u a t i o n — the i d e a l i z a t i o n and abstractions of p a t r i o t i c r h e t o r i c on one hand, and the h o r r i b l e evidence of concrete experience on the other — the young protagonist finds himself pushed to the brink of i n s a n i t y : "Alors j e suis tombe malade, fievreux, rendu fou, q u ' i l s ont explique a l ' h o p i t a l , par l a peur" (p. 6l). As a v e h i c l e f o r truth about the world, therefore, language i s at best an u n r e l i a b l e t o o l . The protagonist opts.rather f o r a mode of i n t e r a c t i o n with r e a l i t y wherein language as a mediator i s replaced by d i r e c t experience and observation. I s h a l l now attempt to discover why the concrete mode i s considered a more v a l i d means of obtaining authentic knowledge of the world. The Body The t r a n s i t i o n scene at. Place Clichy brings the protagonist into a p h y s i c a l l y based r e l a t i o n s h i p with reality:. "J'vais v o i r . .." (p. 13).^" But what i n f a c t assures a greater a u t h e n t i c i t y to t h i s manner of knowing than to a more i n t e l l e c t u a l approach? It would seem that the answer i n part resides i n the n a t u r e o f the, body, the source of.man's p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the p h y s i c a l world. Throughout the text an a n t i t h e t i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p i s established between the body (le corps) and the mind ( l ' e s p r i t ) . Regularly, the protagonist i s forced to r e j e c t as f a l s e the products of the mind (language, 9 "On mentait avec rage au dela. de l'imaginaire, bien au dela, du r i d i c u l e et de 1'absurde, dans l e s journaux, sur les a f f i c h e s , a. pied, a. cheval, en v o i t u r e . C'est a. qui mentirait plus enormement que 1'autre. Bientot i l n'y eut plus de v e r i t e dans l a v i l l e " ,(p. 56). "Quand l e moment du monde a, l'envers est venu..." (p. 6 k ) . 11 T, n . I t a l i c s mine. 67 sentimental love, science, psychology, etc.) and to accept as authentic evidence provided by the body. This s i t u a t i o n i s r e f l e c t e d i n the ambivalent r e l a t i o n s h i p of the hero with Lola: "Je croyais a. son corps, je ne croyais pas a son e s p r i t " .(p. 56). Indeed i t i s perhaps i n the love r e l a t i o n s h i p that t h i s d u a l i t y of mind and body i s most c l e a r l y manifested i n the novel. The mind of a L o l a , f o r example, cannot be t r u s t e d since i t s tendency towards sentimentality deforms and m y s t i f i e s r e l a t i o n s h i p s between the sexes. Lola presents a danger to the protagonist insofar as Bardamu's fe e l i n g s threaten to drag him i n t o her world of romantic i d e a l i z a t i o n s , a world which the narrator places "a. l'envers de l a guerre, a. l'envers de l a v i e " (p. 56). Another of Bardamu's acquaintances, the P o l i s h dancer Tania, proves a v i c t i m of her overly sentimental r e l a t i o n s h i p with a German bank employee, a r e l a t i o n s h i p which the narrator characterizes as an example of "un d e l i r e tout b o u f f i de mensonges" (p. 358). Probably the most v i o l e n t attack upon sentimental love occurs i n the context of the a f f a i r between Madelon and Robinson. Their r e l a t i o n s h i p i s i m p l i c i t l y c r i t i c i z e d i n t h e i r melodramatic dialogue near Toulouse: - AhI comme t'es bon mon Leon. T'es meilleur que j'imaginais encore... T'est tendrel T'es f i d e l e l et t'es tout I . . . - C'est parce que je t'adore, ma mimime... (p. 400). It i s i n the course of t h i s dialogue d'amour that Robinson i s obliged by h i s jealous mistress to denounce Bardamu and betray t h e i r long friendship (pp. 400-402). It i s Robinson himself who f i n a l l y escapes the powerful g r i p of sentimental love, but only through a powerful e f f o r t of denunciation not j u s t of Madelon and of t h e i r love, but of l i f e i t s e l f (Robinson's attack i s 68 followed "by h i s death at the hands of h i s outraged ""beloved").: Eh bien, c'est tout, qui me repugne- et qui me degoute a present! Pas seulement t o i l . . . Tout!...- L'amour surtoutl ... Le t i e n aussi "bien que c e l u i des autres... Les trues aux sentiments que t u veux f a i r e , veux-tu que j e te dise a quoi ga ressemhle moi? Ca ressemble a, f a i r e 1*amour dans des chi o t t e s ! (p. 483). In general Bardamu manages to avoid sentimental entanglements by re s o l u t e l y p l a c i n g the body's truths before those of the mind. In h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p with Lola, f o r example, Bardamu i s p r i m a r i l y interested i n the e r o t i c revelations furnished by the young American's body: "Son corps e t a i t pour moi une j o i e qui n'en f i n i s s a i t pas. Je n'en avais jamais assez de l e parcourir ce corps americain" (p. 55)- Upon his f i r s t meeting MadeIon,Bardamu practises crudely, but with success, h i s "doctrine" of the primacy of the physi c a l aspect of re l a t i o n s h i p s between the sexes by immediately seducing the young g i r l i n the crypt of Sainte-Eponime Church i n Toulouse: "On e t a i t amis. Derrieres d'abord! Nous venions d^-economiser dix ans" (p. 3 7 9 ) . Even Molly, with whom Bardamu experiences a profound and authentic sentimental r e l a t i o n s h i p , i s valued highly not j u s t f o r the unquestionably f i n e q u a l i t i e s of her soul, but also f o r those of her body: "II me souvient comme s i c ' e t a i t h i e r de ses g e n t i l l e s s e s , de ses jambes longues et blondes et magnifiquement deliees et-musclees, des jambes nobles" (p. 227). Bardamu's preference f o r the body over the mind i s perhaps most evident i n h i s rapturous attitu d e towards the nurse Sophie. Here the protagonist's worship of the body —< "De muscles en muscles, par groupes anatomiques j e procedais..." (p. 462) — leads him to accord to sensual pleasure the capacity to create a kind of Golden Age f o r which, unfortunately, 69 man i s not yet ready: "L'ere de ces j o i e s vivantes, des grandes harmonies indeniables, physiologiques, comparatives est encore a ve n i r . . . Le corps, une d i v i n i t e t r i p o t e e par mes mains honteuses..." (p. 462). An important source of the body's superior a u t h e n t i c i t y can he found i n i t s immunity to the mystifying powers of language: " L 1 e s p r i t est content avec des phrases, l e corps c'est pas p a r e i l , i l est plus d i f f i c i l e l u i . . . " (p. 269). The body's evidence cannot e a s i l y be disguised and r e f i n e d by the magical powers of language. Although the discoveries which the body permits w i l l almost i n v a r i a b l y prove to be disagreeable — a probable reason i n i t s e l f f o r the frequent e x p l o i t a t i o n of the d i s t o r t i n g powers of words — they can nevertheless be considered as authentic, a l b e i t unappealing: "C'est quelque chose de toujours v r a i un corps, c'est pour c e l a que c'est presque toujours t r i s t e et degoutant a regarder" (p. 269). Many examples of repugnant but authentic truths revealed by the body could be c i t e d : the intimate knowledge of Death as incarnated by the mangled bodies of the colonel and messenger i n Flanders (p. 21), and by the agony of Robinson, presented i n c l i n i c a l , anatomical terms Cp. 487); the decayed nature of the c o l o n i a l enterprise, foreshadowed by the deleterious e f f e c t s of heat and alcohol upon the bodies of the col o n i s t s aboard 1'Amiral Bragueton (p. 115); the sordidness of the l i v e s of the poor of Garenne-Rancy, presented i n images of the unhappy and bloody consequences of sexual a c t i v i t i e s : i l l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d r e n (pp. 270-271), abortion Cpp. 258-259), miscarriage (pp. 297-298). In addition to being r e l a t i v e l y immune to language's deformation of r e a l i t y , tire body can be used to subvert and demystify language's powers. 70 By c a r r y i n g out " o b s e r v a t i o n s m e t i c u l e u s e s " upon t h e p h y s i c a l m e c h a n i c s o f l a n g u a g e p r o d u c t i o n — t h e a c t o f s p e a k i n g — t h e p r o t a g o n i s t i s a b l e t o e x o r c i z e l a n g u a g e ' s i d e a l i z i n g powers. I n p o i n t i n g out t h e p h y s i c a l b a s i s o f l a n g u a g e g e n e r a t i o n , t h e crude o r i g i n s o f g r e a t and e l e v a t i n g t h o u g h t s , t h e p r o t a g o n i s t succeeds i n u n d e r m i n i n g t h e f o r c e and p r e s t i g e o f t h e s e i d e a l i z a t i o n s : Quand. on s' a r r e t e a l a f a g o n p a r exiemple dont s o n t formes et p r o f e r e s l e s mots, e l l e s ne r e s i s t e n t guere nos p h r a s e s au d e s a s t r e de l e u r d e c o r baveux. C'est p l u s c o m p l i q u e e t p l u s p e n i b l e que l a d e f e c a t i o n n o t r e e f f o r t mecanique de l a c o n v e r s a t i o n . C e t t e c o r o l l e de c h a i r b o u f f i e , l a bouche, q u i se c o n v u l s e a s i f f l e r , a s p i r e e t se demene, pousse t o u t e s especes de sons v i s q u e u x . . . V o i l a p o u r t a n t ce qu'on nous a d j u r e de t r a n s p o s e r en i d e a l . C'est d i f f i c i l e ' (p. 332). An a n a l o g o u s f o r m o f " e x o r c i s m " i s p r a c t i s e d i n o r d e r t o d e m y s t i f y t h e " s a l e p r e s t i g e " t h a t c e r t a i n a c c o u t r e m e n t s — m i l i t a r y u n i f o r m s , r e l i g i o u s v e s t m e n t s — c o n f e r upon an i n d i v i d u a l . The p r o c e s s o f d e m y s t i f i c a t i o n i s s i m i l a r : t h e i l l u s i o n s c r e a t e d by a b s t r a c t symbols a r e d e s t r o y e d by t h e i n v o c a t i o n o f a l e s s t h a n e l e v a t i n g p h y s i c a l r e a l i t y . I n t h i s c a s e , t h e p r o t a g o n i s t u n d r e s s e s — i n h i s i m a g i n a t i o n — t h e p r e s t i g i o u s personage i n q u e s t i o n , t h e r e b y d e p r i v i n g t h e l a t t e r o f h i s s y m b o l i c s u p e r i o r i t y : C ' e s t a i n s i q u ' i l f a u t s ' h a b i t u e r a. t r a n s p o s e r des l e T . p r e m i e r a b o r d l e s hommes q u i v i e n n e n t vous r e n d r e v i s i t e , on l e s comprend b i e n p l u s v i t e a p r e s ga, on d i s c e r n e t o u t de s u i t e dans n ' i m p o r t e q u e l personnage s a r e a l i t e d'enorme et d ' a v i d e a s t i c o t . . . Son s a l e p r e s t i g e s e d i s s i p e , s ' e v a p o r e . Tout nu i l ne r e s t e p l u s devant vous enssomme qu'une pa u v r e b e s a c e . . . q u i s ' e v e r t u e a. b a f o u i l l e r f u t i l e m e n t dans un genre ou dans un a u t r e (p. 332). Thus t h e body i s c a p a b l e o f e f f e c t i v e l y u n d e r m i n i n g t h e t e n d e n c y towards a b s t r a c t i o n and i n a u t h e n t i c i t y , a t e n d e n c y i n h e r e n t i n l a n g u a g e and o t h e r s y m b o l i c s y s t e m s . 71 These powers of ph y s i c a l r e a l i t y r e s u l t from the existence, at the core of the organism,.of the forces which underlie and determine both human nature and human destiny. For the body i s the home and battle-ground f o r fundamental and a n t i t h e t i c a l forces i n perpetual c o n f l i c t : on one hand, the b i o l o g i c a l i n s t i n c t s f o r s u r v i v a l , unity, and security; on the other hand, the i n e v i t a b l e process of molecular fragmentation and decomposition, a process inseparable from l i f e i t s e l f . The absolute bedrock of man's being i s formed by t h i s i n t e r n a l d i a l e c t i c of. the i n s t i n c t s of preservation and the constant betrayal of these i n s t i n c t s : Ce corps a. nous, t r a v e s t i de molecules agitees et banales, tout l e temps se re v o l t e contre cette farce atroce de durer.' E l l e s veulent a l l e r se perdre nos molecules, au plus v i t e , parmi l'univers ces mignonnes I... Notre torture cherie est enfermee l a , atomique, dans notre peau meme, avec notre o r g u e i l (p. 333); L 'ordure e l l e , ne cherche n i a durer, n i a c r o i t r e . I c i , sur ce point, nous sommes bien plus malheureux que l a . merde, cet enragement a, perseverer dans notre etat constitue l'incroyable t o r t u r e (pp. 332-333). The importance accorded i n Voyage to the body, and more generally to the p h y s i c a l and the concrete, r e s u l t s i n short from a " b i o l o g i c a l " v i s i o n of r e a l i t y . Both the human condition and human nature f i n d t h e i r sources and determinants i n the realm of the p h y s i c a l or b i o l o g i c a l . This i s why the protagonist selects the road of- concrete experience and why h i s discoveries are authentic. In the following chapter I w i l l examine those discoveries which p e r t a i n both to human behaviour (or "nature") and to the human s i t u a t i o n , to man's o n t o l o g i c a l status. 72 CHAPTER II MAN'S DESTINY AND HUMAN NATURE In the previous chapter we saw that the protagonist's concrete approach to knowledge finds i t s j u s t i f i c a t i o n i n the framework of what may be termed a " b i o l o g i c a l v i s i o n " of r e a l i t y . Within t h i s c o n t r o l l i n g v i s i o n the body, and by extension the ph y s i c a l and the concrete ( i n contrast to the mental, the s p i r i t u a l , and the abstract) possess a p r i v i l e g e d status: they constitute authentic forms of mediation between the subject (the s e l f ) and the object (the world). Through t h e i r i n t e r c e s s i o n the hero may a t t a i n to a non-illusory knowledge of r e a l i t y . Consequently, the existence of t h i s b i o l o g i c a l v i s i o n confers upon the hero's adventures an added source 12 of a u t h e n t i c i t y , investing them with an epistemological dimension. In the present and the following chapters I s h a l l examine some of the major discoveries r e s u l t i n g from the protagonist's concrete i n t e r a c t i o n with the world. As these discoveries deal with fundamental aspects of existence — man's destiny and human nature — I have c a l l e d them metaphysical discoveries. ± c L It should be noted that t h i s b i o l o g i c a l v i s i o n i s not the s t a r t i n g p o i n j of the youthful protagonist but rather — and even here, i m p l i c i t l y — of the narrator-observer, who arri v e s at t h i s v i s i o n through empirical experience. The v i s i o n i s r e f l e c t e d back upon the experiences, which are thereby v a l i d a t e d and deemed authentic. (The dual narrative perspective r e f e r r e d to i n t h i s note i s analysed extensively i n Part I of t h i s study, which deals with narrative structures.) 73 Human D e s t i n y P erhaps t h e p r i n c i p a l r e v e l a t i o n o f t h e body i s t h a t o f i t s own e p h e m e r a l i t y , o f i t s c o n s t a n t t e n d e n c y towards f r a g m e n t a t i o n , d i s i n t e g r a t i o n and c o r r u p t i o n . Man's f a t e i s c o n t a i n e d i n h i s c e l l s , i n t h e b i o l o g i c a l f a c t s o f l i f e . We s h a l l see l a t e r i n t h i s c h a p t e r how t h e s e f a c t s d e t e r m i n e man's b e h a v i o u r and u n d e r l i e h i s " n a t u r e " . . My immediate aim however i s t o examine t h e manner i n w h i c h t h e h e r o ' s c o n c r e t e e x p e r i e n c e s i m p r e s s upon him an awareness o f man's m e t a p h y s i c a l s i t u a t i o n . How, by knowing t h e w o r l d p h y s i c a l l y , i s t h e p r o t a g o n i s t l e d t o m e t a p h y s i c a l knowledge? The i n i t i a l and most- t r a u m a t i c s o u r c e o f t h e h e r o ' s awareness o f t h e t r u e n a t u r e o f human d e s t i n y i s t h e War e x p e r i e n c e . Whereas t h e C l i c h y e p i s o d e p r e s e n t e d a c t i o n s w h i c h m o d i f y t h e p r o t a g o n i s t ' s manner o f a p p r e h e n d i n g r e a l i t y , t h e s u c c e e d i n g e p i s o d e — t h e F l a n d e r s t a b l e a u — i n t r o d u c e s t h e hero t o a f u n d a m e n t a l datum o f b e i n g ; t h e p r e s e n c e and c o n s t a n t t h r e a t o f th.e a b s o l u t e n e g a t i o n o f e x i s t e n c e : Death. W h i l e t h e t r a n s i t i o n a t P l a c e C l i c h y t r a n s f o r m e d e n t i r e l y t h e h e r o ' s a p proach to. t h e w o r l d , t h e c o n s c i o u s n e s s g a i n e d i n F l a n d e r s o f t h e c o n c r e t e r e a l i t y o f Death w i l l r a d i c a l l y m o d i f y Bardamu's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f h i s e x p e r i e n c e s . The War e p i s o d e p r o v i d e s r e v e l a t i o n s o f an a b s o l u t e n a t u r e i n terms o f a p h y s i c a l i n t e r a c t i o n between an o b s e r v i n g s u b j e c t and a c o n c r e t e space: t h e b a t t l e f i e l d s o f F l a n d e r s . T h i s space i s p r e s e n t e d i n i t i a l l y i n terms o f i t s a i m l e s s n e s s and e m p t i n e s s : Moi d'abord l a campagne, f a u t que j e l e d i s e t o u t de s u i t e , j ' a i j a m a i s pu l a s e n t i r , j e l ' a i t o u j o u r s t r o u v e e t r i s t e , avec s e s b o u r b i e r s q u i n'en f i n i s s e n t p a s , ses maisons ou l e s gens n'y so n t j a m a i s et ses chemins q u i ne vont n u l l e p a r t (pp. 16-17); Jk ... et puis on plongeait d'un coup dans l a sale aventure, dans l e s tenebres de ces pays a personne (.p. 29)-. As the "sale aventure" progresses, however, the emptiness and seeming purposelessness of t h i s space are transformed by a presence which gradually envelops the protagonist. The space becomes dominated by "des volontes homi'cicks enormes et sans nombre" (p. 26). As the b u l l e t s whiz around him the hero experiences a c o n s t r i c t i n g p h y s i c a l environment "oil tout s'est r e t r e c i au meurtre" .(p. k3). The presence of Death i s perceived as a concrete e n t i t y which dominates the countryside and which because of i t s progressive expansion becomes v i s i b l e even to those not wishing to see i t : "Bientot on s e r a i t en p l e i n orage et ce qu'on cherchait a, ne pas v o i r s e r a i t alors en p l e i n devant soi et on ne pourrait plus v o i r qu'elle: sa propre mort" Cp. 36). As Death's presence invades the f i e l d s of Flanders, the protagonist finds that h i s a b i l i t y to move i n t h i s contracting space has become severely impaired since each "metre d'ombre devant nous e t a i t une promesse nouvelle d'en f i n i r et de crever..." (p. 30). Soon Bardamu discovers that the ubiquitous presence of Death threatens to immobilize him completely. The crushing pressure of a space f i l l e d with Death f i x e s the protagonist and prevents him from progressing: "En somme, on ne pouvait plus, nous, n i a l l e r , n i revenir; f a l l a i t r e s t e r ou on e t a i t " (p. 32). The protagonist's awareness of Death i s extended from a personal to a u n i v e r s a l - l e v e l upon h i s return to Paris from the f r o n t . While walking near Saint-Cloud with L o l a , Bardamu comes across a deserted fairground. Here he discovers a shooting-gallery c a l l e d the "Stand des Nations". The g a l l e r y ' s targets represent a cross-section of society: the C i t y - H a l l , the p o l i c e , a 75 m i l i t a r y regiment, a marriage and so on. The sight of human targets provokes a strong reaction i n the hero, so strong that i n a sense he w i l l never recover: Je me sentais tout b i z a r r e . C'est meme a p a r t i r de ce moment-la, j e crois,que ma tete est devenue s i d i f f i c i l e a t r a n q u i l l i s e r avec ses. i d l e s dedans (p. 60). The shock caused by the "Stand des Nations" leads to the recognition that a l l i n fa c t are targets. This new awareness of the global nature of the danger produces a state of delirium i n the hero. While dining out a few hours af t e r coming across the "Stand des Nations", Bardamu begins to ha l l u c i n a t e , and warns his acquaintances and fellow-diners that they too are p o t e n t i a l victims: Tous ces gens assis en rangs autour de nous me donnaient 1'impression d'attendre eux aussi que des b a l l e s l e s a s s a i l l e n t de partout pendant q u ' i l s bouffaient. "Allez-vous-en tous'. que je l e s a i prevenus. Foutez l e camp', on va t i r e r ! Vous tuer!' Nous tuer tous!" (p. 6l). While the c i v i l i a n s take t h i s outbreak as a sure sign of madness, and the m i l i t a r y as one of cowardice, i t appears that on the contrary the h a l l u c i n a t i o n s are r e f l e c t i n g an authentic v i s i o n of man's fundamental s i t u a t i o n , that of being an "assassin! en s u r s i s " (p. 5^). We are a l l , l i k e the s o l d i e r s of Flanders, l i v i n g under the constant menace of death; l i k e them we are under sentence, "condamnes amort d i f f I r i s . . . " (p. 38 ) . Bardamu's outlook on and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of l i f e are r a d i c a l l y a l t e r e d by the metaphysical discoveries r e s u l t i n g from d i r e c t experience: "J' e t a i s dans l a v l r i t l jusqu'au trognon, et meme que ma propre mort me s u i v a i t pour a i n s i d i r e pas a, pas"(p. 5*0. Whereas at Place Clichy l i f e was a remote 76 pretext f o r clever witticisms and f a c i l e opinions, i n Flanders the protagonist experiences l i f e as a prison within which man serves an i n e v i t a b l e and a l l - i n c l u s i v e sentence: "Jamais je n'avais sen t i plus implacable l a sentence des hommes et des choses" .(p. 1 7 ) . This condition of imprisonment i s rendered even more i n t o l e r a b l e by the hero's gradual awareness that the sentence i s inescapable and that the a f f l i c t i o n of Death cannot be cured. This impotence of the i n d i v i d u a l before Death i s c l e a r l y i l l u s t r a t e d i n the Bebert episode. Here the protagonist, who has now become a medical doctor, c a l l s upon science — the new God of the modern age — to a s s i s t him i n saving the innocent c h i l d . Science's f a i l u r e to ef f e c t a cure suggests, symbolically, the transcendant powers of Death, and implies'that the ultimate and v i c t o r i o u s r e a l i t y i s the Emptiness l y i n g behind or beyond l i f e ' s a c t i v i t y : Je n'avais pas de veine avec l u i Bebert, mort ou v i f . I I me semblait q u ' i l n'y avait r i e n pour l u i sur l a t e r r e . . . C'est peut-etre pour tout l e monde l a meme chose d ' a i l l e u r s , des qu'on i n s i s t e un peu, c'est l e vide (p. 2 8 6 ) . Given the ineluctable nature of man's destiny and h i s i n a b i l i t y to a l t e r his fate — "... toujours emportes par notre meme i n v i n c i b l e d e s t i n " (p. 1 9 7 ) — the d a i l y a c t i v i t i e s of mankind are invested with an absurd dimension. For i f nothingness and emptiness describe man's ultimate destiny, then the normal dynamism of existence loses a l l s i g n i f i c a n c e . Thus the concrete immobility imposed upon the protagonist on the b a t t l e f i e l d s of Flanders figures the fundamental nature of human existence. Man i s metaphysically emptied of a l l s i g n i f i c a n c e . Consequently, h i s d a i l y a c t i v i t i e s are i n t r u t h "nothings" and "nothing" i s a l l that can be 77 communicated between men: .. "On est la., vide. On en baverait. On est content. On a r i e n a. causer, parce qu'au fond i l ne vous arrive plus r i e n . . . " (p. 294). Death's certain triumph mocks man's ordinary.struggles, ambitions, and projects. His a c t i v i t i e s are perceived as f u t i l e and r i d i c u l o u s . Man's existence i n a world ruled by Death makes of him a Sisyphus figure, forced, l i k e the legendary king of Corinth, to struggle vainly against an implacable destiny: Ce qui est pire c'est qu'on se demande comment l e lendemain on trouvera assez de forces pour continuer a. f a i r e ce qu'on a f a i t l e v e i l l e et depuis deja, tellement trop longtemps, ou on trouvera l a force pour ces demarches imbeciles, ces m i l l e projets qui n'aboutissent a r i e n , ces tentatives pour s o r t i r de l'accablante necessite, tentatives qui toujours avortent, et toutes pour a l l e r se convaincre une f o i s de plus que l e destin est insurmontable, q u ' i l faut retomber au bas de l a muraille, chaque s o i r , sous l'angoisse de ce lendemain, toujours plus precaire, plus sordide (p. 199). Viewed i n such a perspective, l i f e becomes a source of anguish and 13 despair. For man's sentence i s not simply to die, but also to l i v e , to treat the world as i f i t contained purpose and meaning. L i f e must be approached as i f i t were not a mask disguising a cosmic nothingness: "Dans ce metier d'etre tue, faut pas etre d i f f i c i l e , faut f a i r e comme s i l a v i e continuait, c'est ga l e plus dur, ce mensonge" (p. 37)'- Bardamu's quest . 14 w i l l permit him not only to obtain an authentic knowledge of r e a l i t y and of i t s essential nothingness, but also.to discover the fundamental irony inherent i n the human si t u a t i o n : that of having both to submit to r e a l i t y and to pretend that the world i s tolerable and even pleasurable: 1 3 "La v i e , c'est plus complique, c e l l e des formes humaines surtout, Atroce aventure. I I n'en est pas de plus desesperee" (p. 462). l i + "C'est cela l ' e x i l , l'etranger, cette inexorable observation de 1'existence t e l l e qu'elle est vraiment. ..." (p. 2l4). 78 Tout ... v i e n t s ' a j o u t e r . a , y o t r e immonde d e t r e s s e pour vous f o r c e r , d e b i l e , a, d i s c e r n e r l e s c h o s e s , l e s gens e t l ' a v e n i r t e l s q u ' i l s s o n t , c ' e s t - a - d i r e des s q u e l e t t e s , r i e n que des r i e n s , q u ' i l f a u d r a cependant a i m e r , c h e r i r , d e f e n d r e , animer comme s ' i l s e x i s t a i e n t (p. 2lh). Man i s , i n s h o r t , o b l i g e d t o p l a y a t e x i s t e n c e , t o " a c t " as i f r e a l i t y were o t h e r t h a n i t i s , as i f D e ath were no t a g l o b a l , a l l - p e r v a s i v e d e t e r m i n i n g f o r c e . I n t h e f a c e o f h i s m o r t a l d e s t i n y , man must l i e , he must d e l u d e h i m s e l f about t h e t r u e n a t u r e o f b e i n g : "La v e r i t e , c ' e s t une a g o n i e q u i n'en f i n i t p a s . L a v e r i t e de ce monde c ' e s t l a m o r t . I I f a u t c h o i s i r , m o u r i r ou m e n t i r " (pp. 1 9 9 - 2 0 0 ) . I t i s t h e manner o f c o p i n g w i t h t h i s m e t a p h y s i c a l p r e d i c a m e n t , t h e ways i n w h i c h man l i v e s h i s l i e , t h a t I s h a l l now examine. Man's N a t u r e To r a i s e t h e s u b j e c t o f human n a t u r e , i s t o a p proach t h e t h o r n y problems o f d e t e r m i n i s m and f r e e - w i l l , o f c o n d i t i o n i n g and l i b e r t y . W i t h o u t making o f t h e n o v e l a p h i l o s o p h i c a l t r e a t i s e — w h i c h i t c e r t a i n l y i s not — i t i s c l e a r t h a t such q u e s t i o n s a r e a t l e a s t i m p l i c i t l y r a i s e d i n v a r i o u s passages o f t h e t e x t . As e a r l y as t h e C l i c h y e p i s o d e t h e q u e s t i o n o f f r e e - w i l l v e r s u s c o n d i t i o n e d b e h a v i o u r i s p osed. I n d e e d i l e h a v e a l r e a d y a l l u d e d t o a c e r t a i n a m b i g u i t y w h i c h p e r v a d e s t h e e n l i s t m e n t scene and w h i c h i s c l o s e l y r e l a t e d t o t h e problems we a r e e x a m i n i n g . One a s p e c t o f t h i s a m b i g u i t y may be summarized as f o l l o w s : does n o t t h e p r o t a g o n i s t ' s " l e a p " i n t o a w o r l d o f a u t h e n t i c e x p e r i e n c e r e f l e c t an a p p l i c a t i o n o f t h e w i l l , an e x e r c i s e i n c h o o s i n g one's d e s t i n y ? I s t h i s a c t i o n n o t , t h e r e f o r e , a s i g n o f i n d i v i d u a l 79 freedom? Certain objections can be formulated, however, which argue against such an assumption. To begin with, the very spontaneity of the action and the lack of any period of r e f l e x i o n preceding i t would seem to weaken somewhat the argument of a " w i l l e d choosing".. This objection appears to be strengthened by the fa c t that the hero seems, i n Place Cl i c h y , to re-act more than to act. His reaction i s to external circumstances over which he asserts no control,^"^ and more s p e c i f i c a l l y , to concrete s t i m u l i : the passing of a m i l i t a r y regiment with i t s seductive r h e t o r i c (music, uniforms, public enthusiasm setc.).' In part, therefore, Bardamu's enlistment appears l i t t l e more than a conditioned r e f l e x , a reaction determined, i n t h i s instance, by a s p e c i f i c c u l t u r a l heritage: Un Chretien de vingt s i e c l e s , j 1 en savais quelque chose, ne se r e t i e n t plus quand devant l u i vient a. passer un regiment. Ca l u i f a i t j a i l l i r trop d'idees (p. 139). Consequently, i t would seem doubtful whether i n f a c t Bardamu was choosing h i s destiny at Place C l i c h y . Indeed the protagonist's succeeding adventures w i l l present him with revelations of powerful determinants"^ which control man's behaviour and form h i s nature. Such revelations would tend to i n v a l i d a t e a possible e x i s t e n t i a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the hero's actions. For i n a universe r u l e d by "l.'accablante necessite" (p. 199), man i s not capable of choosing, of forging h i s own destiny. Thus i n l a t e r episodes the protagonist w i l l only appear to be making free choices:. "Comme s i j'avais su ou j ' a l l a i s , j ' a i eu l ' a i r de c h o i s i r encore et j ' a i change "^ "Justement l a guerre approchait de nous deux sans qu'on s'en soye rendu compte..." (p. 12). I.am a l l u d i n g here to both, the empirical (objective) discovery of Death and to the " b i o l o g i c a l " v i s i o n which locates man's emotional d i f f i c u l t i e s i n the body's i n e v i t a b l e tendency towards decay: '. "Puisque nous sommes' que des enclos de t r i p e s t i l d e s et mal pourries nous aurons toujours du mal avec l e sentiment" (p. 332). 80 de route..."- -.(p. 192). . Bardamu -will become p a i n f u l l y aware that truth, i s not obtained through choice but rather through submission and observation. Indeed, i t i s the protagonist's authentic approach to the c o n t r o l l i n g forces of existence which w i l l permit him to see through the i l l u s i o n of free choice and e x i s t e n t i a l s e l f - c r e a t i o n . For to encounter r e a l i t y 17 a u t h e n t i c a l l y i s to be trapped i n a s i t u a t i o n where a l l choice i s f u t i l e because a l l the dice have already been thrown: Mais moi, j e ne pouvais plus c h o i s i r , mon jeu e t a i t fait'. J ' e t a i s dans l a v e r i t e jusqu'au trognon... (p. 54);-Question de temps et d'attente seuibement. Les jeux etaient ' f a i t s (p. 97). As the above quotations suggest, man i s forced by " l a force des choses" to assume an attitude of doc i l e p a s s i v i t y towards the world. He i s always more acted upon than acting. This passive stance i s re f e r r e d to very early i n the text, when the two students speak of t h e i r forefathers: Haineux et d o c i l e s , v i o l e s , voles, etripes et coui l l o n s pour toujours, i l s nous va l a i e n t bien I Tu peux l e d i r e ! Nous ne changeons pas! (p. 12). In general men accept t h e i r s i t u a t i o n completely, without bothering to seek explanations or examine causes: C'est t r i s t e des gens qui se couchent, on v o i t bien q u ' i l s se foutent que l e s choses a i l l e n t comme e l l e s veulent, on v o i t bien q u ' i l s ne cherchent pas a. comprendre eux, l e pourquoi qu'on est l a (p. 199). Along with t h i s r e f u s a l or i n a b i l i t y to seek to understand what i s happening l8 to them, men take refuge i n an at t i t u d e of defeatism and res i g n a t i o n . 17 • • Immediately a f t e r his enlistment, Bardamu senses that he has been caught i n a trap: "On e t a i t f a i t s , comme des r a t s " .(.p. i k ) . . "Eux ne cherchaient guere a comprendre ce qui se passaient autour de nous dans l a v i e . . . " \Cp. 87). 81 We have seen e a r l i e r that to. a certain extent th_e protagonist goes beyond this passive role and replaces acceptance by an active desire to 19 understand the true nature of the world. In t h i s respect at least he distinguishes himself from- the mass of ordinary individuals who "ne veulent r i e n comprendre a r i e n " (p. 2 2 ) . Much of the ambiguity of the episode at Place Clichy stems from th_e hero's active desire to understand and to interrogate r e a l i t y . His aggressiveness contrasts with the conventional passivity of the others (ArthurGGanate, the galeriens of 1 'Infanta Combitta, for example) and gives to his enlistment the appearance of an act of s e l f -! . 2 0 creation. But even i f Bardamu does abandon — at least temporarily the attitude of resignation and passiv i t y of his fellows, his project may we l l be interpreted as simply another of the possible roles which man may play as he reacts to his state of metaphysical emptiness. Bardamu's quest may be seen as simply another reaction, another r o l e . Man i s not only reduced — by the all-powerful and homicidal nature of things — to playing various roles; his condition also imposes upon him the par t i c u l a r role(s) that he must " l i v e " . The i n d i v i d u a l i s never conscious of having chosen his p a r t i c u l a r manner of reacting to r e a l i t y . Here again his personal nature i s a consequence of external determinants, of more or less obscure forces over which the i n d i v i d u a l exerts no control whatsoever: C'est. l a nature qui est plus forte que vous voila, tout. E l l e nous essaye dans un genre et on ne peut plus en s o r t i r de ce genre-la. Moi j ' e t a i s p a r t i dans une dir e c t i o n d'inquietude. On prend doucement son role et son destin au serieux sans s'en rendre bien compte et puis quand on se retourne i l est bien trop tard pour en changer. On est "J'avais comme envie malgre tout d'essayer de comprendre leur b r u t a l i t e . . . " (p. 1 5 ) . -20 As he grows older and his attempts to triumph over the nature of things prove to be f u t i l e , Bardamu appears to evolve towards a state of resigned detachment: "Resignons-nousI Laissons l a nature t r a n q u i l l e , l a garce!" (P- 2 9 9 ) . 82 devenu tout inquiet et c'est entendu comme ga pour toujours (p. 229). Thus " l a nature" a r b i t r a r i l y assigns roles to some which are absolutely 21 refused to others. Bardamu, f o r example, i s absolutely incapable of k i l l i n g , not because he does not wish to — although he well may not — and not because he has not been t r a i n e d to k i l l (he has), but because the r o l e of " k i l l e r " has not been a l l o t t e d to him: Je me sentais s i incapable de tuer quelqu'un, q u ' i l v a l a i t decidement mieux que j'y renonce et que j'en f i n i s s e tout de s u i t e . Non que 1 'experience m'eut manque, on ava i t meme tout f a i t pour me donner l e gout, mais l e don me f a i s a i t defaut (p. 91). On the other hand r o l e s are not of an exclusive nature. That i s , the same i n d i v i d u a l may play d i f f e r e n t , even contradictory ro l e s at d i f f e r e n t times. Man's behaviour may we l l be inconsistent: courage and cowardice may be manifested by the same i n d i v i d u a l . Each r o l e awaits, i n a sense, the determining circumstances which w i l l p r e c i p i t a t e i t s appearance: Lache ou courageux, c e l a ne veut pas di r e grand-chose. L a p i n - i c i , heros :-la-bas, c'est l e meme homme... (p. 83); . . . 1'angoissante f u t i l i t e de ces etres tantSt poules effrayees, tantot moutons f a t s et consentants (p. 82). In the face of such f l e x i b i l i t y of ro l e - p l a y i n g , can one speak r e a l i s t i c a l l y of a basic "human nature? Yes, but only i f we view t h i s human nature as a generalized need to play r o l e s , to be l i e v e i n f a l s e appearances, to refuse to see things as they are. Man seems born to be an actor — "II ne comprend que...le theatre" (p. 83). Let us now look more c l o s e l y at the types of roles men play, and attempt to understand why these forms of behaviour are common. 21 . "On est m i l i t a i r e ou'on ne l ' e s t pas" .(p. 25). 83 Escapism, Violence, and Egotism It .seems clear at .this stage .of .my analysis that i n Voyage .man's 22 "behaviour i s determined by both, p h y s i c a l and .metaphysical elements. As the work's b i o l o g i c a l v i s i o n implies, the body and, more s p e c i f i c a l l y , the i n s t i n c t s constitute fundamental determinants of behaviour. We have seen that a s i t u a t i o n p r e v a i l s wherein two i r r e c o n c i l a b l e forces, are i n c o n f l i c t : the inherent p h y s i c a l tendency towards decomposition against which react the i n s t i n c t s of s e l f - p r e s e r v a t i o n . These l a t t e r push men to deny, or to repress, any awareness of the on-going process of bodily d i s s o l u t i o n . The second global source of man's behaviour i s located i n the empirical r e v e l a t i o n of the external presence of Death. Death i s an 23 objective element of experience, an e s s e n t i a l aspect of bemg-in-the-world. Man copes with h i s predicament by refusing to face up to i t . He 24 follows h i s s e l f - p r e s e r v a t i o n i n s t i n c t s and represses i n d i g e s t i b l e t r u t h s . Escapism characterizes and motivates his behaviour. D i s t r a c t i o n s , which serve to postpone an i n t o l e r a b l e encounter with one's destiny, are f e v e r i s h l y pursued and constitute a basic occupation and source of v i t a l i t y f o r mankind: "Nous sommes, par nature, s i f u t i l e s , que seules l e s d i s t r a c t i o n s peuvent nous empecher vraiment de mourir" .(.pp. 203-204). Thus such va r i e d c u l t u r a l phenomena as the study of History, the cinema, and the enjoyment of the arts are i n t r u t h more or l e s s sophisticated escape techniques, means employed "pour vous amuser, vous d i s t r a i r e , vous f a i r e s o r t i r de votre Destinee" (p. 347) 22 . . . . C l e a r l y the influence of s o c i a l class i s also s i g n i f i c a n t : This element w i l l be discussed i n the following chapter, with p a r t i c u l a r attention given to the attitudes of l e s p e t i t s . 23 v. "On se cherche bien encore des trues et des excuses pour rester l a avec l e s copains, mais l a mort est l a aussi e l l e , puante, a. cote de vous, tout l e temps a. present et moins mysterieuse qu'une belote" (p. 448). 24 "La v e r i t e c'est pas mangeable"'Cp. 358). . "Lache q u ' i l e t a i t . . . de nature, esperant toujours qu'on a l l a i t l e sauver de l a v e r i t e . . . " (p. 324). 8k As t h e above example.suggests,.some o f th_e jnost c i v i l i z e d a c t i v i t i e s ' o f t n e mind s e r v e , i n f a c t , . e s c a p i s t p r o j e c t s . As we saw i n t n e p r e v i o u s c h a p t e r , t h e mind can be e a s i l y f o o l e d . Man's i n t e l l e c t p e r m i t s him t o c o n s t r u c t e l a b o r a t e b a r r i e r s between h i m s e l f and r e a l i t y . We have a l r e a d y o b s e r v e d t h e i n a u t h e n t i c i t y o f t h e mind's a c t i v i t i e s i n , f o r example, t h e f u t i l e i n t e l l e c t u a l v i c e s o f a P r i n c h a r d , as w e l l as i n t h e r o m a n t i c i d e a l i z a t i o n s o f a L o l a . I t s h o u l d , however, be p o i n t e d out t h a t not a l l man's m e n t a l a c t i v i t y must n e c e s s a r i l y r e s u l t i n i n a u t h e n t i c b e h a v i o u r . Man p e r v e r t s h i s i n t e l l i g e n c e by making i t f u l f i l l s e l f - j u s t i f y i n g e s c a p i s t f u n c t i o n s , r a t h e r t h a n h a v i n g i t s e r v e as a means by w h i c h t h e i n d i v i d u a l c a n come t o g r i p s w i t h h i s s i t u a t i o n . The p o s s i b i l i t y o f a more r e a l i s t i c use o f t h e i n t e l l e c t i s h i n t e d a t i n t h e e p i s o d e d e a l i n g w i t h t h e p a t i e n t s who a r e e m o t i o n a l c a s u a l t i e s o f t h e war. I n t h e i r a t t e m p t s t o b r e a k out o f t h e p r i s o n t h a t i s war t h e y f a i l t o e n v i s a g e t h e i r p r o b l e m i n a p r a c t i c a l and c o n c r e t e manner. Ha v i n g succumbed t o t h e f a l s e image'of r e a l i t y c r e a t e d b y p a t r i o t i c r h e t o r i c , t h e y f a i l t o l o o k a t t h e s i t u a t i o n d i r e c t l y and t o a s k t h e r i g h t q u e s t i o n : P r i n c h a r d , , i l s ' a p p e l a i t , ce p r o f e s s e u r . Que p o u v a i t - i l a v o i r d e c i d e l u i , pour s a u v e r ses c a r o t i d e s , ses poumons et ses n e r f s o p t i q u e s ? V o i c i l a q u e s t i o n e s s e n t i e l l e , c e l l e q u ' i l a u r a i t f a l l u nous p o s e r e n t r e nous pour demeurer s t r i c t e m e n t humains et p r a t i q u e s . M a i s nous e t i o n s l o i n de l a , t i t u b a n t s dans un i d e a l d ' a b s u r d i t e s . . . (pp. 6U-65). Such a r e a l i s t i c and c o n c r e t e u t i l i z a t i o n o f theromind's powers w i l l r a r e l y i f e v er o c c u r s i n c e t h e n o n - e s c a p i s t t y p e o f r e l a t i o n s h i p t h u s e s t a b l i s h e d , w i t h t h e w o r l d w o u l d p r e s u m a b l y be t o o p a i n f u l t o endure. As a r e s u l t , man c o n s i s t e n t l y r e f u s e s t o i n t e r r o g a t e r e a l i t y , t o u se h i s m i n d t o p e n e t r a t e 85 the v e i l s of i l l u s i o n and i n a u t h e n t i c i t y : Lapin i c i , heros la-has, c'est l e meme homme, i l ne pense pas plus i c i que la-has...'' Meme sa propre mort i l l a specule mal et de travers (p. 83). Most men resemble Lieutenant Grappa, f o r whom r e f l e c t i n g upon h i s wasted l i f e i n the A f r i c a n jungle or upon h i s inhuman methods of t r e a t i n g the indigenous peoples might well prove traumatic: Devant moi, i l te n a i t a, demeurer distant de ces choses. ... i l n'aimait pas non plus qu'on l e force a. penser. Ca l'agagait. Ce qui l e rendait i r r i t a b l e dans ses fonctions j u d i c i a i r e s , c ' e t a i t l e s questions qu'on l u i posait (p. 154). Mankind i s s i m i l a r to the employees of the Compagnie Porduriere who are s a t i s f i e d with ready-made formulas rather than r e a l thought: "Mes p e t i t s collegues n'echangeaient point d*ide.es > entre eux. Rien que des formules, f i x e e s , cuites et recuites comme des croutons de pensees" (p. 133). Along with the widespread tendency towards f a t a l i s m and resignation, t h i s degradation of the powers of human i n t e l l i g e n c e i n order to escape from the t r u t h makes up the passive element of human nature. At the opposite behavioural pole, however, one discovers a recurring pattern of agressiveness and violence both i n organized forms (war, colonialism, industrialism) and i n the amorphous context of everyday l i v i n g . Evidence of man's b r u t a l nature appears throughout the hero's adventures. Bardamu encounters violence and h o s t i l i t y i n Flanders, aboard the Amiral Bragueton, i n the colonies (the treatment of the nat i v e s ) , i n America (within the f a c t o r i e s ) and i n the slums of P a r i s . This tendency towards aggressiveness seems entrenched i n man's nature. War, f o r example, i s viewed as proceeding from the depths of man's being: "A present, j ' e t a i s 86 p r i s dans cette f u i t e en masse, vers l e meurtre en commun, vers l e feu... Ca venait des profondeurs et c ' e t a i t a r r i v e " (p. I T ) . War indeed i s claimed to constitute one of the "v e r i t a b l e s r e a l i s a t i o n s de nos profonds temperaments" (p. 407) • How can t h i s v i o l e n t pattern of behaviour be explained? What forces can make of ordinary men a "horde de fous v i c i e u x devenus incapables soudain d'autre chose, autant q u ' i l s etaient, que de tuer et d'etre etripes sans savoir pourquoi?" (p. 37). One possible answer to the above questions takes us back to the b i o l o g i c a l v i s i o n which, as I have suggested, informs and structures the novel's thematique. This v i s i o n would i n t e r p r e t the penchant f o r violence and aggressive behaviour as the expression of a need for ca t h a r s i s , of a need to purge the s e l f of an i n t o l e r a b l e i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t between l i f e and death f o r c e s . Through violence, man proclaims h i s h o s t i l i t y both towards the world — where Death awaits him — and towards himself, since h i s own body harbours the source of h i s anguish. The violence of man can be interpreted therefore as a dual death-wish (or i n s t i n c t ) d i r e c t e d at both the others and the s e l f : D ' a i l l e u r s dans l a v i e courante, re f l e c h i s s o n s que cent individus au moins dans l e cours d'une seule journee bien or d i n a i r e desirent votre pauvre mort... (p. Il6);. C'est tuer et se tuer q u ' i l s voulaient, pas d'un seul coup bien sur, mais p e t i t a p e t i t comme Robinson avec tout ce q u ' i l s trouvaient, des vieux chagrins, des nouvelles miseres, des haines encore sans nom quand 5a n'est pas l a guerre toute crue et que ga se passe alors plus v i t e encore que d'habitude (p. 268). To the extent that violence and b r u t a l i t y function as a temporary release from tension and repressed inner c o n f l i c t they are often experienced by man as pleasurable a c t i v i t i e s and as such are associated with the sexual 87 e x p e r i e n c e T h i s j u x t a p o s i t i o n of violence and sex i s f i r s t presented i n the war episode when the hero returns to Paris and observes the sexual excitement which the war has aroused: ... eux a. l ' a r r i e r e , i l s devenaient, a. mesure que l a guerre avancait, de plus en plus v i c i e u x . Tout de suite j ' a i compris ga en rentrant a, Paris et aussi que leurs femmes avaient l e feu au d e r r i e r e , et les vieux des gueules grandes comme ga, et l e s mains partout, aux culs et aux poches (p. 5 0 ) . The close r e l a t i o n s h i p between violence and sexuality i s v i s i b l e again i n the attitudes of women who seek to i d e a l i z e the s o l d i e r s and t h e i r e x p l o i t s : "Les femmes surtout demandaient du spectacle et e l l e s etaient impitoyables l e s garces... , La guerre, sans conteste, porte aux ovaires, e l l e s en exigeaient des heros..." (p. 9 0 ) . A s i m i l a r contiguity of sex and violence i s presented aboard the Amiral Bragueton where one of the female passengers f e v e r i s h l y hopes to see the protagonist destroyed by the c o l o n i a l o f f i c e r s : "Scene de haut carnage, dont ses ovaires f r i p e s pressentaient un r e v e i l . Ca v a l a i t un v i o l par g o r i l l e " (p. 117). A f i n a l and i n c r e d i b l y sordid l i n k i n g of sex and b r u t a l i t y i s witnessed by the protagonist i n Rancy; here a r i t u a l i s t i c child-beating i s the seemingly necessary preliminary to sexual a c t i v i t y (pp. 265-266). The pleasure man takes i n violence i s perhaps understandable i n the l i g h t of the novel's b i o l o g i c a l v i s i o n ; nevertheless, the narrator refuses to defend such an a t t i t u d e . On the contrary, man's moral p o s i t i o n i s pictured as somewhat lower than the beasts who at l e a s t do not r e f l e c t with pleasure upon t h e i r viciousness nor give themselves over enthusiastic a l l y "On passe son temps a. tuer ou a. adorer en ce monde et c e l a tout ensemble" (p. 72). 8 8 to the vi o l e n t unleashing of t h e i r i n s t i n c t s : ... plus enrages que l e s chiens, adorant l e u r rage (ce que les chiens ne font pas) cent m i l l e f o i s plus enrages que m i l l e chiens et tellement plus v i c i e u x ! Nous etions j o l i s ! • (p. 17);. Les chevaux ont bien de l a chance eux, car s ' i l s subissent aussi l a guerre comme nous, on ne leur demande pas d'y souscrire, d'avoir l ' a i r d'y c r o i r e . Malheureux mais l i b r e s chevaux! L'enthousiasme helas! c'est r i e n que pour nous, ce putain! (p. ko). The f i n a l and perhaps most fundamental behaviour-pattern which makes up human nature may be described as a univer s a l egoism. Man's behaviour, springing as i t does from the preservation i n s t i n c t s , i s i n a way n a t u r a l l y s e l f - c e n t r e d . His i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t s produce a turn i n g - i n upon the s e l f (to protect the ego from a h o s t i l e universe), a permanent and i n s t i n c t u a l preoccupation with the moi: II n'y a pas de vanite i n t e l l i g e n t e . C'est un i n s t i n c t . I I n'y a pas d'homme non plus qui ne s o i t pas avant tout vaniteux (p. 122). Unable to transcend h i s i n s t i n c t s , man cannot go beyond himself. His' existence takes necessarily the form of a s t e r i l e narcissism: " l i s continuent a s'admirer et c'est tout" (p. 11). Although the protagonist w i l l attempt to transcend the s e l f i n h i s search f o r a "punition pour l'egoisme u n i v e r s e l " (p. 373) which a f f l i c t s mankind, he i s unable to carry out h i s project and thereby escape a seemingly unavoidable self-centredness: J'avais beau essayer de me perdre pour ne plus me retrouver devant ma v i e , je l a retrouvais partout simplement. Je revenais sur moi-meme (p. 489). In the course of hi s experiences as a doctor the protagonist discovers 89 that any attempt to subordinate the s e l f and to act out of disinterestedness constitutes a kind of crime which bringsprompt punishment and s u f f e r i n g : "La misere poursuit implacablement et minutieusement l'altruisme et l e s plus g e n t i l l e s i n i t i a t i v e s sont impitoyablement chatiees" (p. 315). The suspicion and h o s t i l i t y of the others towards the would-be a l t r u i s t r e f l e c t s the "natural" character of egocentric behaviour. To be generous i n a world where the ego i s e t e r n a l l y menaced i s to engage i n behaviour that the others are not able to understand. And can they be blamed f o r not f e e l i n g w e l l -disposed towards t h e i r fellow-man? Est-ce que l a v i e est g e n t i l l e avec eux? P i t i e de qui et de quoi q u ' i l s auraient done eux? Pour quoi f a i r e ? Des autres? A-t-on jamais vu personne descendre en enfer pour remplacer un autre? Jamais. On l ' y v o i t l ' y f a i r e descendre. C'est tout (p. 30k). Since the s e l f constitutes the centre of man's preoccupations, values which t r a d i t i o n a l l y involve the subordination of the s e l f to the other are held to be l i t t l e more than impossible dreams. Interpersonal communication, f o r example, consists more of exchanged monologues than authentic dialogues or discussion: Autant pas se f a i r e des i l l u s i o n s , l e s gens n'ont r i e n a se d i r e , i l s ne se par lent que de leurs peines a, eux chacun, c'est entendu. Chacun pour s o i , l a t e r r e pour tous (p. 289). Even love, t r a d i t i o n a l l y considered the i d e a l example of the subordination of the s e l f , i s perceived as a b a s i c a l l y s e l f i s h r e l a t i o n s h i p i n which each member seeks to project h i s unhappiness onto the other: " I l s essayent de s'en debarrasser de l e u r peine, sur 1'autre, au moment de 1'amour..." (p. 289). This fundamental selfishness of love i s incarnated i n the person of Madelon, whose jealousy and possessiveness lead to the novel's f i n a l and f a t a l . denouement. 90 Resume Man's metaphysical condition "empties" him and renders h i s existence absurd and meaningless. Death's presence inva l i d a t e s man's ambitions, projects,and dreams. Faced with the i n d i g e s t i b l e f a c t s of h i s mor t a l i t y and consequent nothingness., man's behaviour has only one object: escape. The p r i n c i p a l means by which escape i s effected are: a) a passive a t t i t u d e of acceptance and resignation; b) a r e f u s a l to r e f l e c t upon the s i t u a t i o n i n any way; c) i r r a t i o n a l attempts to resolve the s i t u a t i o n through aggressiveness and violence; d) a protective t u r n i n g - i n upon .the s e l f . Men thus spend t h e i r l i v e s ignoring the true nature of t h e i r existence. They l i v e i n a world of ro l e - p l a y i n g i n which appearances must be reassuring even i f they are f a l s e . Man must present a mask of r a t i o n a l i t y , a mask which he often mistakes f o r his " r e a l " person. A l l h i s energy i s expended i n maintaining an i l l u s i o n about himself, i n pandering to a threatened ego, i n refusing to see things as they are: La grande fatigue de 1'existence n'est peut-etre en somme que cet enorme mal qu'on se donne pour demeurer vingt ans, quarante ans, davantage, raisonnable, pour ne pas etre simplement, profondement soi-meme, c'est-a-dire immonde, atroce, absurde. Cauchemar d'avoir a, presenter toujours comme un p e t i t i d e a l u n i v e r s e l , surhomme du matin au s o i r , l e sous-homme claudicant qu'on nous a donne (p. k07). Only very r a r e l y does the mask f a l l , and the true, hidden nature of man make a sustained appearance., Such a moment occurs aboard the Amirai Bragueton. The change of climate i s hard on the bodies of the Europeans and they are unable to repress t h e i r r e a l nature. For a short while they abandon t h e i r masks of reasonableness. Their b i o l o g i c a l confession may 91 stand as a summary of my analysis of the ph y s i c a l and metaphysical aspects of Being as presented i n the novel: Dans cette s t a b i l i t e desesperante de chaleur, tout l e contenu humain du navire s'est coagule dans une massive ivro g n e r i e . ... c'est depuis ce moment que nous vimes a f l e u r de peau venir s'etaler 1*angoissante nature des blancs, provoquee, l i b e r i e , bien d e b r a i l l e e enfin, leur v r a i e nature, tout comme a l a guerre. ... Dans l e f r o i d d'Europe, sous l e s g r i s a i l l e s pudiques du Nord, on ne f a i t , hors l e s carnages, que soupgonner l a g r o u i l l a n t e cruaute de nos f r e r e s , mais leur pourriture envahit l a . surface des que l e s Imoustille l a f i e v r e ignoble des tropiques. C'est alors qu'on se deboutonne eperdument et que l a saloperie triomphe et nous recouvre e n t i e r s . C'est l'aveu biologique (pp. 112-113). 92 CHAPTER III THE INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY The point i n question i s the organic, i n d i s s o l u b l e connection between man as a private i n d i v i d u a l and man as a s o c i a l being, as a member of a community. - Georg Luka.cs In the two preceding chapters we have observed the general approach to obtaining authentic knowledge of the world adopted by the protagonist and also the un i v e r s a l metaphysical truths which h i s concrete i n t e r a c t i o n with r e a l i t y permits him to discover. We have also remarked the hero's awareness of man's cosmic nothingness, of "tout l e r i d i c u l e de notre p u e r i l e et tragique nature" (p. 427), and described the p r i n c i p a l behavioural patterns of man as he seeks to react against h i s o n t o l o g i c a l predicament. In the present chapter I abandon these cosmic considerations and attempt to describe the i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p of the i n d i v i d u a l and the c o l l e c t i v i t y . According to Lukacs, "every action, thought and emotion of human beings i s inseparably bound up with the l i f e and struggle of the community ... whether the humans themselves are conscious of t h i s , unconscious of 27 i t or even t r y i n g to escape from i t . . . " . I f such i s indeed the case, one may expect to f i n d that the s i t u a t i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l within society i s Studies i n European Realism (New York, 1964), p. 8. Studies i n European Realism, p. 9. 93 somewhat analogous to h i s p o s i t i o n within the cosmos. One may also expect to discover that the i n d i v i d u a l ' s reactions to h i s s o c i a l condition resemble those e l i c i t e d by h i s metaphysical dilemma. In order to a s c e r t a i n whether or not such p a r a l l e l s do exist I w i l l ex:amine society from both a s t a t i c and dynamic viewpoint: society as structure and process. I w i l l seek to uncover the organizing p r i n c i p l e s around which society i s constructed and the means employed to create and uphold t h i s organization. F i n a l l y I w i l l look at the various a c t i v i t i e s of i n d i v i d u a l s within the c o l l e c t i v i t y and attempt to discern s i g n i f i c a n t behavioural patterns. The Structure of Society Je n'avais pas encore appris q u ' i l existe deux humanites tres d i f f e r e n t e s , c e l l e des riches et c e l l e des pauvres (p. 8 l ) . The basic elements of the s o c i a l structure are suggested i n the image . 2 8 of the g a l l e y - s h i p u t i l i z e d by the protagonist i n h i s discussion with Arthur Ganate at Place C l i c h y . The image i s that of a two-level structure, r e f l e c t i n g society's fundamental d i v i s i o n into two d i s t i n c t camps: the captains and the rowers, the masters and the slaves, the exploiters and the exploited, the powerful and the weak,.the few and the many. The protagonist's concrete experience of society w i l l substantiate t h i s " l i t e r a r y " image of a basic s o c i a l dichotomy. What are the sources of t h i s d i v i s i o n ? How do the few gain power and authority over the many? There i s no evidence i n the text that authority ^ "... mais enfi n on est tous a s s i s sur une grande galere, on rame tous a tour de bras, tu peux pas venir me d i r e l e c o n t r a i r e l ... On est en bas dans le s eales a, s o u f f l e r de l a gueule, puants, suintants des rouspignolles, et puis v o i l a ! En haut sur l e pont, au f r a i s , i l y a l e s maitres et qui s'en font pas, avec des b e l l e s femmes roses et gonflees de parfums sur l e s genoux" (p. 13). 9k derives from some moral or i n t e l l e c t u a l s u p e r i o r i t y held by those i n power. Authority appears rather to r e s u l t from the possession of c e r t a i n objects, the ownership of which i s a r b i t r a r i l y denied to the many. In the war episode, the c r i t e r i o n which confers the power of l i f e and death over others i s that of rank. Here the simple f a c t of possessing "quatre galons" (p. 30), binoculars and maps makes of the owner a "Roi de l a mort" (p. 38), endowed with divine powers of decision concerning the destiny of those "qui n'avaient pas de carte" (p. 30). The senile. General Celadon des Entrayes has attained, by the process of advancement through the ranks, to the status of an Inca god who demands human s a c r i f i c e s from the masses beneath him: "... notre general Celadon des Entrayes ... devenu par l ' e f f e t des avancements une sorte de dieu p r e c i s , l u i aus s i , une sorte de p e t i t s o l e i l atrocement exigeant" (pp. 39-^0). In c i v i l i a n society as w e l l , the two-tiered structure remains a dominant r e a l i t y . Here,however, the p r i n c i p a l source of power i s not rank, but wealth, not s t r i p e s but money. Bardamu's revengeful s o c i a l prayer — "Un Dieu qui compte l e s minutes et l e s sous, un Dieu desespere, sensuel et grognon comme un cochon" (p. 12) — suggests early i n the text the de c i s i v e r o l e that m a t e r i a l i s t i c values play i n the structuring of society. Later, i n the Flanders episode, the protagonist w i l l become acutely aware of the r o l e of money as the e s s e n t i a l mediator and f i n a l a r b i t e r of r e l a t i o n s h i p s within society. Obliged to pay a supposedly f r i e n d l y family f o r a much-needed drink, the young s o l d i e r discovers the p r i o r i t y accorded to monetary considerations by men i n t h e i r dealings with one another: "Pas 95 d'amour a perdre dans ce monde, tant q u ' i l y aura cent sous" (p. 43). As the vengeful prayer implies, Mammon .is the r e l i g i o u s i d o l of 29 . . . modern times. In the course of his v i s i t to America the protagonist notices the reverence f o r money exhibited by the progressive Americans. Here banks have replaced cathedrals as temples of r e l i g i o n , and monetary transactions possess the aura and form of r e l i g i o u s r i t e s : Quand le s f i d e l e s entrent dans l e u r Banque, faut pas c r o i r e q u ' i l s peuvent se s e r v i r comme ga selon leur caprice. Pas du tout. I l s parlent a. D o l l a r en l u i murmurant des choses a, travers un p e t i t g r i l l a g e , i l s se confessent quoi. Pas beaucoup de b r u i t , des lampes bien douces, un tout minuscule guichet entre de hautes arches, c'est tout. I l s ne 1'avalent pas l ' H o s t i e . I l s se l a mettent sur l e coeur (p. 192). A s o l i d bank-account confers upon i t s possessor a quasi-divine status. Just as advancement i n rank had made of Entrayes an imperious d i v i n i t y , so money allows men to climb the s o c i a l ladder, to become themselves gods. Such i s the destiny of the r i c h Argentinians whom the young protagonist observes i n Paris during the war: Me rechauffant done a. l ' o f f i c e avec mes.compagnons domestiques, je ne comprenais pas qu'au-dessus de ma tete dansaient l e s dieux argentins, i l s auraient pu etre allemands, frangais, chinois, c e l a n'avait guere d'importance, mais des dieux, des- r i c h e s , voila. ce q u ' i l f a l l a i t comprendre (p. 8 l ) . Money, therefore, constitutes a fundamental aspect of s o c i a l organization i n that i t s presence confers prestige and authority. I t should be noted here that money performs another c l o s e l y r e l a t e d function, that of providing benefits and p r i v i l e g e s not afforded to those who dwell i n the wrong camp. Lola, for example, glows with a happiness due to the advantages 2 9 "... l e D o l l a r , un v r a i S a i n t - E s p r i t , plus precieux que du sang" .(p. 192) 96 provided f o r the r i c h alone, f o r those on the " r i g h t " side of l i f e : "Lola, apres tout, ne f a i s a i t que divaguer de bonheur et d'optimisme, comme tous l e s gens qui sont du bon cote de l a v i e , c e l u i des p r i v i l e g e s , de i a sante, de l a securite et qui en ont encore pour longtemps a, v i v r e " (p. 54). The structure of society i s b a s i c a l l y d u a l i s t i c . There are two d i s t i n c t camps, the one possessing rank and/or wealth, the other deprived of these elements. This dualism i s modified s l i g h t l y however by the frequent textual a l l u s i o n s to a v e r t i c a l pyramid-like configuration. Many of the quotations already u t i l i z e d i n t h i s chapter express t h i s v e r t i c a l i t y : Entrayes i s a " p e t i t s o l e i l " , the 1 Argentinians dance "au-dessus" the head of the protagonist, the captains i n the gal l e y - s h i p image are found "en-haut sur l e pont".. The c o l o n i a l society presents the same general v e r t i c a l configuration. Above a l l the resident members of the colony stands the Governor whose glance, when lowered, p e t r i f i e s a l l below him: Dans cette colonie de l a Brambola-Bragamance, au-dessus de tout l e monde, triomphait l e Gouverneur. Ses m i l i t a i r e s et ses fonctionnaires osaient a. peine r e s p i r e r quand i l daignait abaisser ses regards jusqu'a, leurs personnes (p. 125). God-like i n his elevation and i n v i n c i b i l i t y , the Governor withstands "comme un charme" (p. 126) the disease and despair which ravage the members of the colony more lowly situated i n the pyramid. The Director of the Compagnie Porduriere occupies a s i m i l a r , i f l e s s Olympian, p o s i t i o n of v e r t i c a l supremacy which r e f l e c t s h i s powerful status within the c o l o n i a l s o c i a l s tructure. From h i s elevated p o s i t i o n — "la-haut sur l a f a l a i s e rouge" (p. 133) — the Director l i t e r a l l y looks down upon the port, the 97 natives and h i s white employees: "De sa maison nous dominions l e port f l u v i a l qui m i r o i t a i t en has..." (p. 129). In a d d i t i o n to presenting the conventional image of a h i e r a r c h i c a l s o c i a l structure, the r e c u r r i n g a l l u s i o n s to a v e r t i c a l s o c i a l space serve to designate another c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of those possessing power and authority: t h e i r separation or distance from th_e crude r e a l i t i e s of existence, from the p h y s i c a l r e a l i t y which., i n a sense, constitutes the basis of t h e i r 30 authority. Indeed, those who have climbed the s o c i a l pyramid and f i n d themselves on the good side of l i f e are there p r e c i s e l y to avoid these r e a l i t i e s and to forget t h e i r existence: "Etre r i c h e , c'est une autre i v r e s s e , c'est o u b l i e r . C'est meme pour ga qu'on devient r i c h e , pour o u b l i e r " (pp. 329-330). One can c i t e many examples which r e f l e c t a separation from concrete r e a l i t y proportional to the e l e v a t i o n attained i n the s o c i a l hierarchy: Lola's romantic patriotism, des Entrayes' taste f o r roses and a r i s t o c r a t i c comfort,- the Argentinians' l i f e of music and dance. But perhaps the clearest and most sustained presentation of t h i s distance separating the a u t h o r i t i e s from concrete r e a l i t y i s to be found i n the c o l o n i a l s o c i a l structure. The most powerful c o l o n i s t s are p r e c i s e l y those who remain.at the f a r t h e s t remove possible from the c o l o n i a l experience. Thus the Mi n i s t e r i n charge of the colonies remains i n Paris as do the shareholders, " l e s plus grands bandits que personne" (p. 133). These l a t t e r are only too content to spy upon the colony from f a r away, "d'encore plus haut, de l a rue Moncey a, 30 The god-like powers of a General des Entrayes are a d i r e c t consequence of the f a c t of war; but to be a general means also to be separated from the war i t s e l f : "... on l u i t r o u v a i t un v i l l a g e calme, bien a l ' a b r i . . . " (p. 25). S i m i l a r l y , the Governor and the Director receive t h e i r authority from the commercial e x p l o i t a t i o n of the colony, a process which they observe comfortably from afar. 98 P a r i s " (p. 133), and to p r o f i t from the sufferings of those who t o i l f o r them i n the disease-ridden jungles of A f r i c a . On the other hand, those members of the c o l o n i a l hierarchy who f i n d themselves closest to the p h y s i c a l r e a l i t y of the enterprise are the lowest oh the s o c i a l ladder. This i s the s i t u a t i o n of the a u x i l i a r y agent Tandernot whose concrete knowledge of the jungle (he supervises the construction of roads i n the forest) seems to condemn him to an i n f e r i o r s o c i a l status: "II n'avait pas du tout d'argent. Sa place e t a i t aussi i n f e r i e u r e que possible dans l a h i e r a r c h i e c o l o n i a l e . Sa fonction c o n s i s t a i t a d i r i g e r l a construction de routes en pleines f o r e t s " (p. 134). On the whole, the exploiters refuse to confront the absurd and uncomfortable r e a l i t y of th.e c o l o n i a l enterprise. They refuse, f o r example, 31 to u t i l i z e the roads leading i n t o the jungle of Tandernot. A t y p i c a l r e a c t i o n i s that of Lieutenant Grappa who, while he never hesitates to deal out the most c r u e l punishments to the " u n c i v i l i z e d " natives, nevertheless avoids a l l d i r e c t contact with the operations of a society he r u t h l e s s l y defends. His rank allows him to keep h i s distance from the f o r e s t and he spends most of his time i n attempting to forget where he i s and i n dreaming of being elsewhere: II n'avait pas non plus tres envie d'en savoir davantage sur leur compte a ces t e r r i t o i r e s . Les arbres, l a f o r e t , apres tout, on s a i t ce que c'est, on les v o i t t r e s bien de l o i n . ... Rien ne j u s t i f i a i t une expedition administrative douloureuse et sans echo. Quand i l avait cesse de rendre sa l o i , Grappa se tournait plutot vers l a mer et contemplait cet horizon d'ou c e r t a i n jour i l e t a i t apparu et par ou c e r t a i n jour i l s'en i r a i t , s i tout se passait bien..." (p. 156). "... aucun blanc ne passait jamais sur l e s nouvelles routes que c r e a i t Tandernot..." (p. 134). 99 The. v e r t i c a l c o n f i g u r a t i o n o f t h e s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e r e f l e c t s "both a r e l a t i o n s h i p o f a u t h o r i t y ("between s u p e r i o r s and i n f e r i o r s ) and a p a t t e r n o f s e p a r a t i o n f r o m c o n c r e t e r e a l i t y . To be r i c h , t h e r e f o r e , i s t o be b o t h p o w e r f u l and c o m f o r t a b l e . T h i s t w o f o l d a s p e c t i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n t h e a d v e n t u r e a b o a r d t h e l u x u r i o u s c a n a l - b o a t ( p e n i c h e ) , a n c h o r e d n e a r T o u l o u s e . A l t h o u g h t h e i n v i t a t i o n w h i c h t h e l u x u r y b a r g e ' s owner ( a r i c h a r t i s t ) e x t e n d s t o Bardamu and R o b i n s o n appears t o suspend t h e normal e x p l o i t a t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p between t h e r i c h and t h e p o o r , t h e b e h a v i o u r o f t h e two groups r e v e a l s ' t h e i r f u n d a m e n t a l d i f f e r e n c e and o p p o s i t i o n . The w e l l - t o - d o a r e u n a b l e t o r e p r e s s t h e b i t i n g a c c e n t and s u p e r i o r t o n e w h i c h t h e y h a b i t u a l l y employ when a d d r e s s i n g t h e i r i n f e r i o r s : E t meme quand i l s p r e n n e n t des t o n s c a n a i l l e s pour c h a n t e r des chansons de p a u v r e s en m a n i e r e de d i s t r a c t i o n , i l s l e g a r d e n t c e t a c c e n t d i s t i n g u e q u i vous met en m e f i a n c e e t en de g o t i t , un a c c e n t q u i a comme un p e t i t f o u e t dedans, t o u j o u r s , comme i l en f a u t un, t o u j o u r s , pour p a r l e r aux domestiques ( p . 393). The p o o r , f o r t h e i r p a r t , i n d u l g e a s e e m i n g l y i r r e s i s t i b l e need t o l i e about t h e i r s o c i a l s t a t u s ; t h e y p l a y f a l s e r o l e s , b o a s t , and g e n e r a l l y a t t e m p t t o r a i s e t h e m s e l v e s t o t h e l e v e l o f t h e i r w e a l t h y h o s t s . As i n a u t h e n t i c as such e f f o r t s may be — t h e y a r e t h u s a n o t h e r t e s t i m o n y t o t h e i r r e m e d i a b l e s p l i t between t h e two camps — t h e poo r appear t o p o s s e s s few weapons o t h e r t h a n f a l s e h o o d s w i t h w h i c h t o combat t h e i r i n f e r i o r i t y : "On s'en s o r t des h u m i l i a t i o n s q u o t i d i e n n e s en e s s a y a n t comme R o b i n s o n de se m e t t r e a. l ' u n i s s o n des gens r i c h e s , p a r l e s mensonges, ces monnaies du p a u v r e " ..(p. 396). T h i s r e c o u r s e t o l i e s and i n a u t h e n t i c i t y i s not o f c o u r s e r e s t r i c t e d t o t h e poo r a l o n e . We o b s e r v e d i n t h e p r e v i o u s c h a p t e r , and s h a l l see a g a i n 100 l a t e r i n the present chapter, that mankind i s continuously seeking escape from the t r u t h : "On n'y t i e n t pas a. sa v e r i t e " (p. 396). Indeed, Bardamu and Robinson are not the only passengers aboard the peniche who are playing rol e s and l i v i n g l i e s . The wealthy too seek to avoid r e a l i t y by l i v i n g i n comfortable dream-worlds. Their separation from r e a l i t y i s suggested by the very p o s i t i o n of the barge, anchored off-shore l i k e an i s l a n d , i n calm, sieep-inducing waters. The song which the wealthy passengers sing r e f l e c t s p e r f e c t l y the desire of the r i c h not to see the world as i t i s , but rather to sojourn i n a f a l s e but agreeable dream-world: "Ferme tes j o l i s yeux, , car les heures sont breves.../ Au pays merveilleux, au doux pays du re-e-ve" (p. 392). The Maintenance of the S o c i a l Structure Je vous l e d i s , p e t i t s bonshommes, co u i l l o n s de l a v i e , battus, ranconnes, transpirant de toujours, j e vous previens, quand l e s grands de ce monde se mettent a vous aimer, c'est q u ' i l s vont vous tourner en saucissons de b a t a i l l e . . . (p. 69). In order to ensure the continuity of what f o r them i s an excellent system, the a u t h o r i t i e s (the "establishment"). exert great e f f o r t s to maintain the non-privileged i n t h e i r enslaved condition. Two fundamental techniques are u t i l i z e d to guarantee the adhesion of members of the c o l l e c t i v i t y to the system: bribery and force. The protagonist, f o r example, i s seduced (bribed) into e n l i s t i n g by r h e t o r i c and impressive appearances: uniforms, music, gall a n t a i r s , p ublic enthusiasm, and so on. Later, however, when Bardamu considers deserting the system, the threat of force, brandished by 101 the hated Pingon, tends to dissuade him. Having imposed i t s e l f upon the ind i v i d u a l through seductive appearances, the system retains his l o y a l t y through force and repression. I t i s t h i s b a t t l e of repression waged against wavering individuals which constitutes the p r i n c i p a l means of maintaining s o c i a l order. Consequently, the r e a l war, that with the most far-ranging implications, takes place not between nations, but between the mutually h o s t i l e camps which form society: Ceux qui avaient encore un peu de coeur l'ont perdu. C'est a p a r t i r de ces mois-la, qu'on a commence a f u s i l i e r des troupiers pour leur remonter le moral, par escouades, et que l e gendarme s'est mis a etre c i t e a l'ordre du jour pour l a maniere dont i l f a i s a i t sa petite guerre a, l u i , l a profonde, l a vraie de vraie (pp. 32-33). A similar u t i l i z a t i o n of both force and bribery i s carried out by the colonial "establishment".. Force i s h i s t o r i c a l l y the primary method of s o c i a l control; i n recent centuries however more subtle means of persuasion have been developped. The c o l o n i a l system practises the authoritarian approach upon the "primitive" natives; the more " c i v i l i z e d " white employees are motivated by promises of wealth and s o c i a l r e s p e c t a b i l i t y . This l a t t e r technique of s o c i a l integration might well be termed the "democratic" method since i t s purpose i s to engage the voluntary collaboration of an "advanced" , society's members i n the process of t h e i r own enslavement: "Les indigenes eux, ne fonctionnent guere en somme qu'a coups de trique, i l s g a r d e n t cette dignite, tandis que les blancs, perfectionnes par 1'instruction publique, i l s marchent tout seuls" (p. 139). No need to use the,.whip upon the whites who work do c i l e l y and energetically to maintain the status quo. By providing the i l l u s i o n of p a r t i c i p a t i o n , the "establishment" employs a most effective 102 means to further i t s p r i v i l e g e d p o s i t i o n and to continue i t s e x p l o i t a t i o n : Qu'on ne vienne plus nous vanter 1'Egypte et le s Tyrans t a r t a r e s l Ce n'etaient ces antiques amateurs que p e t i t s margoulins pretentieux dans l ' a r t supreme de f a i r e rendre a l a bete v e r t i c a l e son plus b e l e f f o r t au boulot. I l s ne savaient pas, ces p r i m i t i f s , l'appeler "Monsieur" l ' e s c l a v e , et l e f a i r e voter de temps a autre, n i l u i payer l e j o u r n a l , n i surtout l'emmener a l a guerre, pour l u i f a i r e passer ses passions" (p. 139). The bribes of fortune and success transform the c o l o n i a l employees i n t o w i l l i n g slaves. Urged on by the "espoir de devenir puissants et riches dont l e s blancs sont gaves" (p. 139) these i n d i v i d u a l s tend to i d e n t i f y t h e i r existence with that of the Company. Martyrs f o r money, they embody the desired end-product of modern techniques of s o c i a l i n t e g r a t i o n : Une hate belliqueuse semblait.les posseder de proceder sans cesse au dechargement et rechargement des cargos l e s uns apres l e s autres. . "Ca coute s i cher un cargo sur rade!" q u ' i l s repetaient sincerement navres, comme s i c ' e t a i t de leur argent q u ' i l se fut agi (p. 132); I l s etaient venus en Afrique t r o p i c a l e , ces p e t i t s ebauches, l u i o f f r i r leurs viandes, aux patrons, leur sang, leurs v i e s , l e u r jeunesse, martyrs pour vingt-deux francs par jour (moins l e s retenues), contents, quand meme contents, jusqu'au dernier globule rouge guette par l e dix-millionieme moustique (pp. 132-133). T o t a l l y unaware of being exploited, r o b o t - l i k e i n t h e i r reactions, incapable of o r i g i n a l thought or of questioning the workings of the dehumanizing enterprise upon which they have embarked, these employees are the p o r t r a i t s of the p e r f e c t l y conventional and therefore legitimate sons, the t o t a l l y assimilated products of the s o c i a l system: Des employes en or, en somme, bien c h o i s i s , d'une inconscience enthousiaste a f a i r e rever. Des f i l s comme ma mere eut adore en posseder un, fervents de leurs patrons ... un dont on puisse etre f i e r devant tout l e monde, un f i l s tout a f a i t legitime (p. 132). 103 Perhaps the ultimate stage i n the system's i n t e g r a t i o n and destruction of the i n d i v i d u a l occurs within the context of modern i n d u s t r i a l production methods. Factory l i f e , as the scene at the Ford factory i n Detroit demonstrates, r e s u l t s i n the absolute repression of i n d i v i d u a l thought and i n i t i a t i v e . Even more so than i n the colonies, the i n d i v i d u a l i s reduced to an automaton;.. This point i s made clear to the protagonist by the medical examiner at the Ford factory: Ca ne vous s e r v i r a a r i e n i c i vos etudes, mon garcon'. Vous n'etes pas venu i c i pour penser, mais pour f a i r e l e s gestes qu'on vous commandera d'executer ... Nous n'avons pas besoin d'imaginatifs dans notre usine. C'est de chimpanzes dont nous avons besoin;;..." (p. 22k). In the factory the i n d i v i d u a l i s transformed into a machine, but a machine that one considers le s s important than the production machinery. In. t h i s downgrading of the i n d i v i d u a l , i n t h i s reduction of man to an impotent sub-machine, l i e s the f i n a l s o l u t i o n to the problem of inducing s o c i a l conformity and of assuring thereby to the p r i v i l e g e d members of society t h e i r continued well-being: Et j ' a i . v u en e f f e t l e s grands batiments trapus et v i t r e s , des sortes de cages a mouches sans f i n , dans l e s q u e l l e s on disc e r n a i t des hommes a. remuer,mais remuer a. peine, comme s ' i l s ne se debattaient plus que faiblement contre je ne sais quoi d'impossible'" (p. 223);. On e x i s t a i t plus que par une sorte d'hesitation entre 1'hebetude et l e d e l i r e . Rien n'importait que l a continuite fracassante des m i l l e et m i l l e instruments qui commandaient l e s hommes (p. 226); On en devenait machine soi-meme... (p. 225). I t would appear evident from what precedes that inducing or imposing s o c i a l conformity constitutes one of the p r i n c i p a l goals of the s o c i a l 104 system. Obedience becomes the c a r d i n a l s o c i a l v i r t u e that the exploited members of the c o l l e c t i v i t y are t r a i n e d to p r a c t i s e from t h e i r very e a r l i e s t days: "... l'ignoble envie d'obeir qu'on leur a donnee en naissant..." ,(p. 372). Most events of a c o l l e c t i v e nature serve to i n s t i l some lesson of obedience and conformity. The underlying function of the f a i r ( l a fete) i s l e s s to give r e a l pleasure than to serve the i n t e r e s t s and objectives of the system. The f a i r exploits f o r commercial benefits the human need f o r amusement and d i s t r a c t i o n : " I I n'y a jamais de fete v e r i t a b l e que pour l e commerce..."- (p. 309). Moreoever, the f a i r helps i n i t i a t e the young c h i l d to the monetary fac t s of s o c i a l l i f e . Pleasure i s l i m i t e d here by the basic s o c i a l law which decrees that "tout se paye" (p. 309). The innocent, unknowing c h i l d r e n of non-privileged f a m i l i e s p a i n f u l l y discovers t h i s • f r u s t r a t i n g r e a l i t y : I l s croient que c'est par g e n t i l l e s s e que l e s grandes personnes der r i e r e les comptoirs enlumines i n c i t e n t l e s c l i e n t s a s ' o f f r i r l e s merveilles q u ' i l s amassent et dominent et defendent avec des vociferants s o u r i r e s . I l s ne connaissent pas l a l o i l e s enfants. C'est a, coups de g i f l e s que l e s parents l a leur apprennent l a l o i et les defendent contre l e s p l a i s i r s (p. 309). The powerful thus strengthen t h e i r p r i v i l e g e d positions on top of the s o c i a l pyramid by manipulating and i n d o c t r i n a t i n g the mass of i n d i v i d u a l s . From the standpoint of the system, these ordinary i n d i v i d u a l s are simply objects, "mots qui souffrent" (p. 12). Their personal desires are r e g u l a r l y ignored or subordinated to the w i l l of the a u t h o r i t i e s , of the p r i v i l e g e d e l i t e . This process of r e i f i c a t i o n permits the a u t h o r i t i e s to remain i n d i f f e r e n t to the p l i g h t and s u f f e r i n g of t h e i r underlings. During the war experience, f o r example, i n d i v i d u a l s are obliged to s a c r i f i c e themselves 105 despite t h e i r overwhelming desire to survive. I n d i f f e r e n t to personal wishes', the a u t h o r i t i e s are s c o r n f u l and demanding: "... l e s Azteques et leur mepris du corps d'autrui, c'est l e meme que devait avoir pour mes humbles t r i p e s notre general Celadon des Entrayes..." (p. 3 9 ) . Demonstrating the same i n d i f f e r e n c e to the wishes of the i n d i v i d u a l , the mayor of Noirceur-sur-la-Lys underlines ( i n h i s r e f u s a l to a s s i s t Bardamu and Robinson) the f a c t that personal desires are as nothing i f the w i l l of the system opposes them: De c e r t a i n , i l n'y avait a opposer decidement, a tous ces puissants, que notre p e t i t d e s i r , a nous deux, de ne pas mourir et de ne pas b r u l e r . C'etait peu, surtout que ces choses-la. ne peuvent pas se declarer pendant l a guerre (p. 48). A p a r a l l e l i n d i f f e r e n c e to the i n t e r e s t s and well-being of ordinary i n d i v i d u a l s i s manifested by the Director of the "Compagnie Porduriere"•who crudely emphasizes the supreme importance of the organization: "On s'en fout q u ' i l soye malade'.... La Compagnie d'abord!" (p. 130). This i n d i f f e r e n c e of the boss can be viewed as a l o g i c a l , almost natural phenomenon. By d e f i n i t i o n an e x p l o i t e r ( i n the C e l i n i a n universe at any r a t e ) , the patron must act i n a manner which ensures the maintenance of the status quo, of h i s domination over the others. Even the k i n d l y psychologist Baryton must carry out the duties of a boss. Thus, when h i r i n g the protagonist, he offersEBardamu "un tout p e t i t s a l a i r e , mais avec un contrat et des clauses longues comme ca, toutes a. son avantage evidemment. Un patron en some" (p. 4o4). And i f by some rare chance the boss were to f e e l some g u i l t with regard to h i s e x p l o i t a t i v e function, a process of r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n and s e l f - j u s t i f i c a t i o n takes over. The boss contemplates some moral or p h y s i c a l defect i n h i s "slave" and thereby convinces himself 106 both of his personal superiority and of the essential good sense and rightness of the system. By means of such specious reasoning the most benevolent patron can j u s t i f y with a clear conscience the miserable fate of the masses: I I n-1 e t a i t point mauvais que Baryton me considerat dans mon ensemble avec quelque mepris. Un patron se trouve toujours un peu rassure par l'ignominie de son personnel. L'esclave doit etre coute que coute un peu et meme beaucoup meprisable. Un ensemble de petites tares chroniques morales et physiques j u s t i f i e l e sort qui l'accable. La terre tourne mieux a i n s i puisque chacun se trouve dessus a sa place meritee (p. 4l8). The Individual and the System: Conflict and Compromise Le v o l du pauvre devient une malicieuse reprise i n d i v i d u e l l e , me comprenez-vous? (p. 68). From the standpoint of those i n power — the r e a l "bandits",, as 32 . Princhard c a l l s them — the system functions perfectly. The more or less voluntary efforts of the indoctrinated and manipulated many maintain the r a d i c a l d i v i s i o n of society into the powerful and the weak. Unconsciously the ordinary people assist the wealthy i n t h e i r most unscrupulous schemings, 33 often i n the usually vain hope of themselves ascending the s o c i a l hierarchy. From the standpoint of the exploited i n d i v i d u a l , however, the si t u a t i o n i s much less agreeable. This i s the case especially when the indiv i d u a l happens to r e f l e c t , as does the protagonist, upon his position within the s o c i a l 32 "Certes, nous avons l'habitude d'admirer tous les jours d'immenses bandits, d o n t l e monde entier venere avec nous l'opulence et dont l'existence se demontre cependant des qu'on 1'examine d'un peu pres comme un long crime chaque jour renouvele, mais ces gens-la jouissent de g l o i r e , d'honneurs et de puissance, leurs f o r f a i t s sont consacres par les l o i s . . . " (p. 68). 33 "Les riches n'ont pas besoin de tuer eux-memes pour bouffer. I l s les font t r a v a i l l e r les gens comme i l s disent. I l s ne font pas l e mal eux-memes, les riches. I l s payent. On f a i t tout pour leur p l a i r e et tout l e monde est bien content" (p. 328). 107 structure, and to seek to understand the process which causes him to s u f f e r . The protagonist's concrete and open-eyed i n t e r a c t i o n with s o c i a l forces reveals to him the f a l s e bases upon which the structure functions. Society operates mainly by d i s g u i s i n g the true nature of r e a l i t y and by persuading i t s members that the disguise i s the r e a l i t y . I t masks, f o r example, the h o r r i b l e slaughter of war behind splendid uniforms and an exalted r h e t o r i c . I t substitutes the bribes of fortune and s e c u r i t y f o r the disease and pain, which form the concrete r e a l i t y of the c o l o n i a l enterprise. This widespread u t i l i z a t i o n of f a l s e appearances and masks by the system as well as the use of brute force i n order to e l i c i t the correct r o l e - p l a y i n g from i n d i v i d u a l s suggest a p a r a l l e l between s o c i a l a c t i v i t y and theatre. The extraordinary bravery of the colonel upon the Flanders b a t t l e f i e l d s t r i k e s the t e r r i f i e d protagonist as an example of s o c i a l t h e a t r i c a l i t y : Et je repensais encore au c o l o n e l . . . avec sa cuirasse, son casque et ses moustaches, on l ' a u r a i t montre se promenant comme je l ' a v a i s vu moi, sous l e s b a l l e s et les obus, dans un music-h a l l , c ' e t a i t un spectacle a, remplir l'Alhambra d'alors, i l a u r a i t e c l i p s e Fragson, dans l'epoque dont j e vous parle une formidable vedette, cependant (p. 23). 3k L o l a , who i n many ways t y p i f i e s society's t h e a t r i c a l essence, f i r s t meets the protagonist i n the s u i t a b l y symbolic s e t t i n g of the Opera-Comique (p. 51). The ambitious social-climbing Musyne ascends to the p r i v i l e g e d universe of the Argentinian "gods" a f t e r her successful tour with, the "Theatre aux Armees" (pp. 79-80). A r e c i t a l given to honour the armed forces, Fatherland ^ L o l a plays at nursing, at being a "Jeanne d'Arc" (p. 52), desirous of saving some vague mythical i d e a l which she c a l l s France: "Pour Lola, l a France demeurait une espece d'entite chevaleresque, aux contours peu d e f i n i s dans l'espace et l e temps..." (p. 53). 108 and V i c t o r y i s held i n that t r a d i t i o n a l s e t t i n g f o r masks and f a l s e appearances, the Comedie-Frangaise (p. 100). An important consequence of the t h e a t r i c a l nature of the system l i e s i n the imposition upon i n d i v i d u a l s of the need i n turn to play roles and keep up appearances. This o b l i g a t i o n i s perhaps most, apparent i n the h o s p i t a l of Bestombes f o r emotionally disturbed m i l i t a r y personnel. Here the patients are made to r e a l i z e that i n order to survive they must repress 35 t h e i r r e a l desires and f e a r s , and wear the masks of convinced p a t r i o t s : Comme l e Theatre e t a i t partout i l f a l l a i t jouer... (p. 90);. Nous vivions un grand roman de geste, dans l a peau de personnages fantastiques, au fond desquels, d e r i s o i r e s , nous'tremblions de tout l e contenu de nos viandes et de nos ames. On en aurait bave s i on nous avait surpris au v r a i (p. 99). Society i s e s s e n t i a l l y theatre. Unlike what occurs i n good theatre, however, the system disguises r e a l i t y , not i n order to better reveal i t i n some powerful manner, but rather i n order to repress or forget- i t . The r e f u s a l of society to see war f o r the bloody slaughterhouse i t i s r e s u l t s i n an epidemic of deceit as language i s perverted so that the truth may remain hidden: Le d e l i r e de mentir... s'attrape.comme l a gale (p. 56); On mentait avec rage... dans l e s journaux, sur l e s a f f i c h e s , a, pied, a. cheval, en v o i t u r e . Tout l e monde s'y e t a i t mis. C'est a. qui mentirait plus enormement que 1 'autre. Bientot, i l n'y eut plus de v e r i t e dans l a v i l l e (p. 56). 36 The protagonist's desire to see and not to forget allows him to 35 • • Repress, but not necessarily deny these f e e l i n g s , since m a world where only external appearances count, "tout' est permis en dedans" (p. 50). 36 "La grande d e f a i t e , en tout, c'est d' o u b l i e r . . . " (p. 27)'. 109 see through the system, to demystify f a l s e appearances. He can, i n the c o l o n i a l episode f o r example, penetrate the masks of progress and c i v i l i z a t i o n and denounce t h e i r falseness: . "... au fond e l l e s ne menaient nu l l e part l e s routes de 1'Administration a Tandernot, alors e l l e s d i s p a r a i s s a i e n t sous l a vegetation f o r t rapidement, en v e r i t e d'un mois a 1'autre, pour tout d i r e " (p. 134). S i m i l a r l y , Bardamu1s i n s i g h t allows him to perceive and denounce, i n the attempts to t r a i n natives f o r the m i l i t i a , -- the r i d i c u l o u s l y t h e a t r i c a l nature of the techniques employed to integrate i n d i v i d u a l s into the s o c i a l corpus: Des sept heures, chaque matin, l e s m i l i c i e n s d'Alcide se rendaient a l ' e x e r c i c e . .. .• j ' e t a i s aux premieres loges pour a s s i s t e r a cette f a n t a s i a (p. 1^9); Tels l e s m i l i c i e n s d'Alcide, tous ces etres semblaient t e n i r avant tout a. s'agiter frenetiquement dans l e f i c t i f . . . Cp. 152). Bardamu's experience and awareness of the basic falseness of society convince hime of the i r r e c o n c i l a b l e nature of the goals pursued by the system and those desired by the i n d i v i d u a l . - Intent upon affirming his . . . 37 i n d i v i d u a l i t y m the face of enormous pressures to conform and to be assimilated, Bardamu adopts an outlook upon the world d i r e c t l y contrary to the o f f i c i a l l i n e preached by the system. This global opposition of outlook forces (or permits) the protagonist to conceive as insane, behaviour which society considers acceptable and even desirable. Thus the world i s , i n a sense, turned upside-down before h i s very eyes. War, which i s j u s t i f i a b l e from society's standpoint, constitutes f o r the f u l l y conscious i n d i v i d u a l 37 " S e r a i e n t - i l s neuf cent quatre-vingt-quinze m i l l i o n s et moi tout seul, c'est eux qui ont t o r t ... et c'est moi qui a i r a i s o n , parce que je suis l e seul a, savoir ce que je veux...." (p. 66). 110 a type of madness. For him, the combattants are quite simply crazy: "... deux m i l l i o n s de fous heroiques et dechaines..." (p. 17); "une horde de fous v i e i e u x . . . " (p. 37). But since madness i s a malleable concept 38 defined by the majority that i s , by the dominant elements of society 3 9 and the obedient masses — the rebel who attempts to refuse the war finds himself i n a h o s p i t a l f o r the mentally deranged. In t h i s upside-down view of things, to oppose society's w i l l i s to be considered insane. In the war episode madness, i n the view of the system, i s not wanting to be k i l l e d : " E t a i t - i l [Princhard] fou vraiment? Quand l e moment du monde a l'envers est venu et que c'est etre fou que de demander pourquoi on vous assassine, i l devient evident qu'on passe pour fou a. peu de f r a i s " (p. 6k). In t h i s upside-down world.cowardice, as Bardamu's adventure aboard the Amiral Bragueton i l l u s t r a t e s , may prove a necessary v i r t u e . The optimism and honesty of the hero's mother, on the other hand, may well be signs of col l a b o r a t i o n with the forces of i n j u s t i c e and e x p l o i t a t i o n . I l l n e s s may constitute a disguised b l e s s i n g since i t permits one to take refuge i n the Hospital. The distance separating t h i s i n s t i t u t i o n from the homicidal intentions and projects of society transforms the h o s p i t a l ' s t r a d i t i o n a l image of a place to be avoided to that of an a t t r a c t i v e s h e l t e r , a kind of "Paradis Terrestre" (p. i k l ) . Consistent with the perception of a world turned inside-out are the examples of authentic v i r t u e and goodness demonstrated by i n d i v i d u a l s who are h a b i t u a l l y neglected or scorned by respectable society. The nondescript, humble Alcide immures himself i n the monotony of l i f e i n the jungle f o r the "... c'est l a majorite qui decrete de ce qui est fou et ce qui ne l ' e s t pas" (p. 62). 3 9 "Je l a [la guerre] refuse tout net, avec tous l e s hommes qu'elle contient, je ne veux r i e n avoir a, f a i r e avec eux, avec e l l e " (p. 66). I l l sake of an almost unknown r e l a t i v e . Although, unrecognized by society, Alcide's generous s e l f - s a c r i f i c e manifests "assez de tendresse pour r e f a i r e un monde en t i e r et ce l a ne se voyait pas" (p. 160). The conventionally scandalous f i g u r e of the p r o s t i t u t e attains i n the person of Molly to an angelic stature. The u t t e r l y u n s e l f i s h nature of t h i s s o c i a l reprobate can be contrasted with the egotism and f a l s e sentimentality of the r i c h , and therefore highly respectable Lola. In the eyes of the protagonist, the night-workers of Detroit provide another s t r i k i n g r e v e r s a l of conventional values. Although placed at the very bottom of the s o c i a l pyramid, the night-workers nevertheless possess i n f i n i t e l y more d i g n i t y and serenity than t h e i r day-time counterparts: . " I l s semblaient moins inquiets que nous autres,'gens de l a journee. Peut-etre parce q u ' i l s etaient parvenus, eux, tout en bas des gens et des choses" (p. 232). In order to protect h i s i n d i v i d u a l i n t e g r i t y the conscious i n d i v i d u a l r e j e c t s t h i s upside-down world of conventional behaviour and attempts to r e b e l . The carrying out of such a project proves however to be much more d i f f i c u l t than formulating i t . A p r i n c i p a l source of the d i f f i c u l t y i n r e a l i z i n g an authentic r e v o l t l i e s i n the t o t a l dependency of the i n d i v i d u a l upon the system f o r his s u r v i v a l . For although society exploits and oppresses most of i t s members, i t serves also as t h e i r only source of security and subsistence. The m i l i t a r y convoy brings sustenance to the s o l d i e r s without ceasing to function as an instrument of the system which condemns them to be slaughtered. The Compagnie Porduriere o f f e r s i t s employees both disease and fortune, s u f f e r i n g and the p o s s i b i l i t y of p r i v i l e g e and s e c u r i t y . 112 This ambivalent r e l a t i o n s h i p holding between the i n d i v i d u a l and society tends to modify any r e b e l l i o u s project that a r e c a l c i t r a n t member of the c o l l e c t i v i t y might consider. For the poor may scarcely be expected to r i d themselves of t h e i r unique,albeit t y r a n n i c a l , source of l i v e l i h o o d . The boss may indeed place h i s h i r e l i n g s i n a s e r v i l e p o s i t i o n ; nevertheless, he does provide a minimum v i t a l s e c u r i t y simply because he i s " c e l u i qui vous sauve de crever de faim" (p. 238). Therefore, i n t h e i r absurd l o g i c , the poor c l i n g to t h e i r enslaved condition. To be deprived of t h e i r master and benefactor i s unthinkable, and consequently " i l s ont enormement peur de l e perdre, l e s laches" .(.p. 238). The temptation to rev o l t i s also modified by the r e a l i z a t i o n that i n d i v i d u a l opposition i n v a r i a b l y brings down upon the s o l i t a r y r e b e l the wrath and vengeance of an offended s o c i a l system. As Princhard points out, the a n t i - s o c i a l act implies a c r i t i c i s m of the s o c i a l structure and i s perceived consequently as a d i r e c t attack upon the hierarchy. Thus severe punishments are i n f l i c t e d f o r even minor acts of r e b e l l i o n , as the system seeks to defend i t s e l f by se t t i n g an example f o r other would-be r e c a l c i t r a n t s : Aussi l a repression des menus l a r c i n s s'exerce-t-elle, remarquez-le, sous tous l e s climats, avec une rigueur extreme, comme moyen de defense s o c i a l e non seulement, mais encore et surtout comme une recommandation severe a tous l e s malheureux d'avoir a se t e n i r a leur place et dans l e u r caste, peinards, joyeusement resignes a crever tout au long des s i e c l e s et indefiniment de misere et de faim... (p. 68). The protagonist knows from his war experience that the a u t h o r i t i e s take a s a d i s t i c pleasure i n severely punishing, f o r t h e i r a n t i - s o c i a l misdemeanours, those who labour below them on the s o c i a l pyramid: 113 Si on avait d i t au commandant Pingon q u ' i l n ' e t a i t qu'un sale assassin lache, on l u i aurait- f a i t un p l a i s i r enorme, c e l u i de nous f a i r e f u s i l i e r , seance tenante, par l e capitaine de gendarmerie, qui ne l e q u i t t a i t jamais d'une semelle et qui, l u i , ne pensait precisement qu'a c e l a (p. 27). Direct confrontation with, society tends to he f u t i l e since the i n d i v i d u a l dissident w i l l i n e v i t a b l y be punished and the status quo restored. To be poor and to question the rules of the game i s simply to i n v i t e f a i l u r e and pain at the hands of the Law: . "La l o i , c'est l e grand "Luna Park" de l a douleur. Quand l e miteux se l a i s s e s a i s i r par e l l e , on l'entend encore c r i e r des s i e c l e s apres" (p. 173). As a r e s u l t , the protagonist finds himself divided between on the one hand a natural temptation to rebel openly ko against an unjust and i n d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l system and on the other hand a deepfseated fear of the a u t h o r i t i e s . The i n d i v i d u a l r e a l i z e s the necessity, f o r s u r v i v a l ' s sake, of avoiding a d i r e c t c o n f l i c t with the forces of law and s t a b i l i t y : "Ou qu'on se trouve, des qu'on a t t i r e sur soi l ' a t t e n t i o n des a u t o r i t e s , l e mieux est de d i s p a r a i t r e en v i t e s s e . Pas d'explications" (p. 194). The threat of severe r e p r i s a l s directed by the a u t h o r i t i e s against a l l dissenters considerably modifies the i n d i v i d u a l ' s urge to r e v o l t . Bardamu, for example, adopts a compromise p o s i t i o n between the extremes of t o t a l i n t e g r a t i o n into the system and d i r e c t confrontation and r e b e l l i o n . Unable to express openly his r e v o l t , the protagonist represses and r e d i r e c t s h i s r e j e c t i o n of the system. Thus the vomiting s p e l l he undergoes i n kl Flanders (p. 29), or again h i s v i s c e r a l reaction against the c o l o n i a l system ^ "Foutez-vous done des a f f a i r e s de l a Compagnie Porduriere comme e l l e se fout des votres..." .(p. 166). hi ".... j '-avals tenement mal au ventre de tout ga et de tout! J'aurais vomi l a t e r r e entiere""(p. 173). 114 r e f l e c t an organic r e f u s a l of an i n t o l e r a b l e enslavement. But h i s r e v o l t seldom goes beyond these profound but r e l a t i v e l y harmless manifestations of f r u s t r a t i o n . Although he desires desperately to get away from the war — "... -j'avais envie de m'en a l l e r , enormement, absolument. .." (p. 15)- — the protagonist f a i l s to carry out h i s desertion project. His subversive 42 desire that the e n t i r e system be destroyed i s not backed up by any d i r e c t l y treasonable a c t i v i t i e s on.his part. Even the apparent climax of his r e b e l l i o n — the burning and desertion of the hut of the Compagnie Porduriere (p. 175) — seems more symbolic than revolutionary, l e s s an act of t o t a l defiance than the f i n i s h i n g touch administered to an already rotten and crumbling e d i f i c e . Bardamu, i n short, l i m i t s the nature of h i s r e b e l l i o n , c l e a r l y f u l l y aware of the f a t a l consequences that attend upon a d i r e c t confrontation and c o n f l i c t with the a u t h o r i t i e s . The protagonist, . . . . . . 4 3 l i k e most i n d i v i d u a l s trapped within the structures of society, compromises. Patterns of'Compromise: Escape within the System La meilleure des choses a, f a i r e , n'est-ce pas, quand on est dans ce monde, c'est d'en s o r t i r ? (p. 61). The early sections of the novel (the War, A f r i c a , America) present a d e s c r i p t i o n of the structure and operations of the s o c i a l system as well as the protagonist's growing awareness of the nature of the i n d i v i d u a l ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p with society. Bardamu comes to understand the need to appear to play the s o c i a l game. In the second h a l f of the novel, with the hero's 42 v . "Puisqu'ils ne veulent r i e n comprendre a. r i e n , c'est ga qui s e r a i t avantageux-et pratique q u ' i l s soient tous tues tres v i t e " (p. 22). 43 I allude to t h i s a t t i t u d e of compromise i n Part I of t h i s study which deals with narrative structures; see above, pp. 28-30. 115 return to P a r i s , the focus of a t t e n t i o n moves away from the r e c u r r i n g confrontations between a structured hierarchy and a questioning i n d i v i d u a l . The emphasis i s now placed upon the amorphous mass of exploited and oppressed i n d i v i d u a l s and the p r i n c i p a l aspects of t h e i r sordid d a i l y existence. Although they are unable to attack s u c c e s s f u l l y the system which u t i l i z e s and enslaves them, and upon which they depend i n order to survive, the masses must and do seek to forget t h e i r misery, to reduce t h e i r s u f f e r i n g and to escape from t h e i r condition of poverty: "Contre 1'abomination d'§tre pauvre i l faut, avouons-le, c'est un devoir, tout essayer, se saouler avec n'importe quoi" (p. 211). To conclude t h i s chapter on the i n d i v i d u a l and society I s h a l l examine a few of the projects undertaken by members of the non-privileged section of society i n order to a l l e v i a t e and combat t h e i r condition. A widespread r e a c t i o n to t h i s condition, p a r t i c u l a r l y on the part of the p e t i t e s gens,is to accept unquestioningly the miserable fate that i s t h e i r s : "Jamais, ou presque, i l s ne demandent l e pourquoi l e s p e t i t s , de tout ce q u ' i l s supportent" (p. 15l). The protagonist's mother incarnates p a r t i c u l a r l y w e l l t h i s common tendency of the l i t t l e people towards fa t a l i s m . Not only does she accept her miserable l o t i n l i f e , she views her misfortunes as a consequence of some personal moral f a i l u r e which she i s very content to expiate by submitting to a l i f e of s u f f e r i n g : E l l e croyait au fond que l e s p e t i t e s gens de sa sorte etaient f a i t s pour s o u f f r i r de tout, que c ' e t a i t l e u r r o l e sur l a t e r r e , et que s i l e s choses a l l a i e n t recemment aussi mal, ga devait t e n i r a ce q u ' i l s avaient commis bien des fautes accumulees, l e s p e t i t e s gens... I l s avaient du f a i r e des s o t t i s e s , sans s'en rendre compte, bien sur, mais tout de meme i l s etaient coupables et c ' e t a i t deja 116 bien g e n t i l qu'on l e u r donne a i n s i en souffrant 1 'occasion d'expier leurs i n d i g n i t e s . . . C'etait une "intouchable" ma mere. Cet optimisme resigne et tragique l u i se r v a i t de f o i et formait l e fond de sa nature (pp. 95-96). Since money constitutes tne p r i n c i p a l basis and c r i t e r i o n of s o c i a l d i v i s i o n and s t r a t i f i c a t i o n , many of the e f f o r t s made by the poor to l i b e r a t e themselves are directed towards accumulating wealth. This path i s chosen, f o r example, by the Henrouille couple who have spent (and wasted) f o r t y years s t r i v i n g anxiously to economize s u f f i c i e n t l y to r a i s e themselves to the l e v e l of home-owner. In the process, however, saving ceases to be a means and becomes instead an end i n i t s e l f , the couple's rai s o n d' etre. Their b i l l s take up the en t i r e dining-room while the family — t h e human element — i s relegated to the t i n y kitchen. Far from being l i b e r a t e d from m a t e r i a l cares the Henrouille couple i r o n i c a l l y becomes enslaved by t h e i r very struggle to free themselves, servants to the objects they have l i t e r a l l y spent t h e i r l i v e s seeking to possess. For Robinson also the most promising means of escaping poverty and oppression l i e s i n obtaining money. According to him, to become r i c h i s tantamount to reversing the nature and course of one's existence: "Ah! Si j'avais du pognon!... Tout l e monde me trou v e r a i t bien g e n t i l " (p. 29^). Robinson i s prepared indeed to break any and a l l s o c i a l conventions to r e a l i z e t h i s desire, and when an opportunity f i n a l l y presents i t s e l f he i s convinced that the money he makes, f o r aiding i n a murder, w i l l enable him to be l i b e r a t e d from h i s miserable state: Dix mille'.... Me voila. t i r e d ' a f f a i r e tout simplement, ajouta-t - i l , ce sont ces dix m i l l e francs-la. qui m'ont toujours manque a, moil... II me l a i s s a i t me rendre compte de tout ce q u ' i l a l l a i t pouvoir effectuer, entreprendre, avec ces dix m i l l e francs... Un monde nouveau1'' (.p. 310/).. 117 A s i m i l a r sort of reverence before material benefits characterizes the patients of Bardamu who are s t r i c k e n with tuberc u l o s i s . Their primary-concern l i e s l e s s with being cured than with the p o s s i b i l i t y of being e l i g i b l e , because of t h e i r i l l n e s s , f o r a government pension: "... l a guerison ne venait que bien apres l a pension dans leurs esperances" (p. 329). Since i t allows them to entertain dreams of escape from poverty, the minuscule pension i s perceived by the si c k as possessing divine powers: "... une pension de l ' E t a t , meme infime, ga c'est divin, purement et simplement" (p. 330). Another group of projects involves an approach to escaping r e a l i t y quite d i f f e r e n t from the projects just mentioned. They are composed mainly of imaginative fantasies which tend to exaggerate, i d e a l i z e , or otherwise transform s o c i a l r e a l i t i e s i n order to render them more palatable. Individuals may f o r example imagine a more t o l e r a b l e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of a s i t u a t i o n ; they then project the r e s u l t s of t h i s wishful thinking upon an unacceptable r e a l i t y hoping that t h i s l a t t e r w i l l immediately disappear. Playing roles which dramatize one's p o s i t i o n i n the midst of banal and sordid circumstances constitutes a primary technique of t h i s imaginative escapism. The young unwed mother, f o r instance, becomes reco n c i l e d to her s i t u a t i o n by extracting from her abandonment material which allows her to play the r o l e of a glorious martyr. She c a p i t a l i z e s upon her unusual s i t u a t i o n to s a t i s f y some deep need "d.'heroi'sme et de s i n g u l a r i t e " (p. 270). By coming to terms as i t were t h e a t r i c a l l y with her unhappiness, she i s able to f i n d consolation and refuge i n a s e l f - g l o r i f y i n g dream-world: "... e l l e s'accommoda du grand malheur qui l a f r a p p a i t , avec d e l i c e s , et l e s ravages du sort furent en somme dramatiquement bienvenus" (p. 270). 118 The mother of the g i r l who undergoes an abortion pr a c t i s e s a s i m i l a r method of f l i g h t into exaggeration and r o l e - p l a y i n g . She seizes with great r e l i s h the opportunity of assuming the glorious r o l e of "defender of the family honour".. Rather than confronting the d i s t a s t e f u l f a c t s and perhaps considering the r e a l dangers to her daughter, the mother seeks to uphold the appearances of r e s p e c t a b i l i t y . By becoming h i s t r i o n i c , she e f f e c t i v e l y avoids the shame and scandal of r e a l i t y : . "Mais l a mere, e l l e , l e t e n a i t , l e r61e c a p i t a l , entre l a f i l l e et moi. Le theatre pouvait crouler, e l l e s'en f o u t a i t e l l e , s'y tr o u v a i t bien et bonne et b e l l e " (p. 259). Almost any s i t u a t i o n can serve as a spring-board f o r man's indefatigable escapist f a n t a s i e s . In the love experience, f o r example, the i n d i v i d u a l can pretend that he i s f i n a l l y happy and free of h i s personal anguish. Instead of accepting i t s l i m i t a t i o n s and contingencies, one attempts to transform the r e l a t i o n s h i p into a transcendant means of s e l f - l i b e r a t i o n . Love becomes an i l l u s o r y means of ri d d i n g oneself of unhappiness, a va i n and s e l f i s h attempt to escape from oneJs s u f f e r i n g : "... mais tout l e monde s a i t bien n'est-ce pas que c'est pas v r a i du tout et qu'on l ' a [sa peine] b e l et bien gardee entierement pour s o i " (p. 289). The general need on the part of the exploited members of society to f l e e from t h e i r s o c i a l condition and to seek a l e s s unpleasant world r e s u l t s i n the i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n of c e r t a i n forms of div e r s i o n . The theatre and the cinema are among the p r i n c i p a l products of the desire of the public to escape r e a l i t y and of the tendency of the system to p r o f i t from i t s members. The cinema provides a p a r t i c u l a r l y suitable and a t t r a c t i v e e s c a p i s t - i n s t i t u t i o n : I l s sortent de l a nuit tout autour les gens avec l e s yeux tout e c a r q u i l l e s deja. pour v e n i r a, se l e s remplir d'images (p. 34-5);. ... l e cinema, ce nouveau p e t i t s a l a r i e de nos reves (p. 3kj-). 119 S i m i l a r l y , t h e f e t e , as I have m e n t i o n e d e a r l i e r , f u r n i s h e s d i s t r a c t i o n s t o t h e p u b l i c . I t s t e c h n i q u e i s t o c o n v i n c e t h e v i s i t o r s t h a t t h e y have e n t e r e d i n t o a new w o r l d , f u l l o f g a i t y and f r e e o f s q u a l o r : . " P a r a d i s ! qu'on l e u r d i t " (p. 307). But much l i k e o t h e r " e s c a p e s " t h e f a i r i s b a s e d on a r t i f i c e and a p p e a r a n c e s , and c o n s t i t u t e s l i t t l e more t h a n an a t t r a c t i v e and s e d u c t i v e i l l u s i o n : C 'est l a musique a l a mecanique q u i tombe des chev-aux de b o i s , des a u t o m o b i l e s q u i n'en sont p a s , des montagnes pas r u s s e s du t o u t e t du t r e t e a u du l u t t e u r q u i n'a pas de b i c e p s et q u i ne v i e n t pas de M a r s e i l l e , de l a femme q u i n'a pas de b a r b e , du m a g i c i e n q u i e s t c o c u , de l ' o r g u e q u i n ' e s t pas en o r , d e r r i e r e l e t i r dont l e s o e u f s s o n t v i d e s . C'est l a f e t e a t r o m p e r l e s gens du bout de l a semaine (p. 307). S p u r i o u s and e p h e m e r a l , t h e r e f o r e , t h e p r o j e c t s o f l i b e r a t i o n and escape c o n c l u d e i n e v i t a b l y w i t h t h e r e t u r n o f t h e masses t o t h e i r o p p r e s s i v e and i n t o l e r a b l e s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n . T h i s u n p a l a t a b l e r e a l i t y i n t u r n n e c e s s i t a t e s a r e p e t i t i o n o f t h e same o r s i m i l a r f l i g h t s o f f a n t a s y . The s y s t e m r e s e m b l e s "une p r i s o n q u i n'a pas b e s o i n de p o r t e s " ( p . 364), f r o m w h i c h s u c c e s s f u l escape appears i m p o s s i b l e . The e x p l o i t e d members o f s o c i e t y move i n f u t i l e and v i c i o u s c i r c l e s , p e r f o r m i n g empty g e s t u r e s and i n v e n t i n g e n d l e s s , s t e r i l e p r o j e c t s : ... on se s e n t a i t chez eux comme dans un b a t e a u , une- espece de b a t e a u q u i i r a i t d'une c r a i n t e a 1 ' a u t r e . Des p a s s a g e r s r e n f e r m e s e t q u i p a s s a i e n t longtemps a f a i r e des p r o j e t s p l u s t r i s t e s e n c o r e que l a v i e . . . (pp. 322-333). F o r t h e p o o r , a c o n s t a n t l y f r u s t r a t e d need t o escape forms t h e c o r e o f t h e i r s o c i a l e x i s t e n c e . E v e r y Sunday i n Garenne-Rancy escape i n t o v i o l e n c e succeeds a b o r t i v e a t t e m p t s t o escape t h r o u g h d r u n k e n n e s s , f a i r s , t h e a t r e , cinema, and so f o r t h . F o r c e d by an i m p l a c a b l e s o c i a l s ystem t o abandon a l l i d e a o f 120 authentic r e v o l t the people f i n d only an ephemeral and disappointing shelter i n r o l e - p l a y i n g , dreams, and drunkenness. Since both, acceptance and true escape are inconceivable, the oppressed are condemned to o s c i l l a t e f u t i l e l y between these two i m p o s s i b i l i t i e s . 121 ,Conclusion In the v i s i o n of society presented i n the novel, a fundamental dualism i s evident. Society i s divided i n t o two d i s t i n c t groups of i n d i v i d u a l s : those with rank or wealth, and those without. The former possess power, security and comfort; the l a t t e r do not. Money, an object of r e l i g i o u s veneration, mediates a l l s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . People are judged and sentenced according to t h e i r f i n a n c i a l p o s i t i o n . A g l o b a l pattern of r e i f i c a t i o n i s thereby created, by which men are o b j e c t i f i e d i n each other's eyes. This r e i f y i n g process i s manifest not only i n the scornful a t t i t u d e of the au t h o r i t i e s towards t h e i r i n f e r i o r s but also i n the d i s t r u s t and in d i f f e r e n c e which, hold between i n d i v i d u a l s i n the same camp. The p r i v i l e g e d camp ensures the continuity of t h i s dual s o c i a l structure by obtaining from the masses either t h e i r forced or voluntary i n t e g r a t i o n into society. The poor collaborate, either w i l l i n g l y or under duress, i n t h e i r own enslavement and i n the maintenance of a p r i v i l e g e d , e x p l o i t a t i v e "establishment".. The few i n d i v i d u a l s who consciously perceive both the i n i q u i t i e s and the f a l s e representation of r e a l i t y upon which the structure i s based are tempted to re v o l t and to refuse the system. Their acts of r e b e l l i o n are severely punished by angry a u t h o r i t i e s who f e e l threatened. Most non-privileged i n d i v i d u a l s , however, remain unconscious of the underlying causes of t h e i r misery. They spend t h e i r l i v e s seeking escape routes which w i l l l ead them away from t h e i r true condition, but such projects are uniformly unsuccessful: . "Tout se passe en e f f o r t s pour eloigner ^ ". . . . 1 'indifference absolue de vos semblables..." (p. 82). ^ The l i t t l e i n d i v i d u a l never asks why: "Tout ce qui n'est pas gagner de '1'argent l e depasse... I I ne comprend que l'argent et l e theatre" (p. 83). 122 l a v e r i t e de ces l i e u x qui revient pleurer sans cesse sur tout l e monde...." . (p. 95). The l i v e s of the p r i v i l e g e d are escapist also, i n that they are directed towards separating the s e l f from a r e a l i t y which i s better forgotten. What d i f f e r e n t i a t e s the r i c h from the poor i n t h i s regard i s of course the fact that the former possess the means which permit them to ef f e c t more successful escapes into t r a n q u i l dream-worlds. To conclude t h i s analysis of thematic structures, I would do well to point out c e r t a i n patterns which recur i n the preceding three chapters. Whether on the ph y s i c a l , metaphysical, or s o c i a l l e v e l of experience the i n d i v i d u a l discovers himself placed i n a s i t u a t i o n of extreme tension. This tension may ori g i n a t e i n the fa c t s of phys i c a l d i s s o l u t i o n , of metaphysical emptiness or of s o c i a l oppression. At a l l l e v e l s severe c o n f l i c t s take place as the s e l f reacts to an i n t o l e r a b l e s i t u a t i o n . The forms of rea c t i o n p r a c t i s e d by the i n d i v i d u a l i n a s o c i a l context are analogous to the more univer s a l patterns of behaviour which, I have maintained, constitute a kind of human nature. Thus man's basic egocentricity and selfishness — defense reactions to his metaphysical dilemma — are transformed on a s o c i a l l e v e l into the materialism (possessiveness) and scor n f u l i n d i f f e r e n c e f o r others which, as we have seen, characterize man's s o c i a l a c t i v i t i e s . The glo b a l human tendency towards violence and aggressiveness — i n s t i n c t u a l reactions to unpalatable truths — reappears both i n the b r u t a l techniques employed by the e l i t e to impose s o c i a l conformity and i n the v i o l e n t week-end expressions of f r u s t r a t i o n by the poor. Humanity's escapist nature, determined by a hopeless cosmic Destiny, i s 123 m i r r o r e d i n t h e p r o j e c t s o f t h e weak and t h e p o w e r f u l , as both, t u r n away fr o m s o c i a l r e a l i t i e s . A t a l l l e v e l s , t h e r e a c t i o n s o f i n d i v i d u a l s t o t h e c o n d i t i o n o f e x i s t e n c e imposed upon them p r o v e i n t h e end f u t i l e . The i n d i v i d u a l ' s d e s i r e s a r e t h w a r t e d and opposed by f o r c e s much g r e a t e r t h a n h i m s e l f . And whether he adopts a f i n a l mask o f o b s t i n a t e r e f u s a l ( R o b i n s o n ) , o f • s i l e n c e ( P a r a p i n e ) , o r o f detachment a n d . r e p r e s s e d b i t t e r n e s s ( t h e p r o t a g o n i s t ) , t h e i n d i v i d u a l must u l t i m a t e l y s u r r e n d e r t o an i m p l a c a b l y h o s t i l e u n i v e r s e . PART III STRUCTURES OF IMAGERY AND SYMBOLISM 125 INTRODUCTION Formal c r i t i c i s m begins with an examination of the imagery of a poem, with a view to bringing out i t s d i s t i n c t i v e pattern. The recurring or most frequently repeated images form the t o n a l i t y , so to speak, and the modulating, episodic and i s o l a t e d images r e l a t e themselves to t h i s i n a h i e r a r c h i c structure which i s the c r i t i c a l analogy to the proportions of the poem i t s e l f . - Northrop F r y e 1 In the two preceding sections of t h i s study, I sought to describe c e r t a i n important narrative and thematic patterns or structures i n Voyage  au bout de l a ' n u i t . In the f i r s t part, I discerned a double narrative perspective through which the f i c t i o n i s f i l t e r e d and observed how the u t i l i z a t i o n of the f i r s t - p e r s o n r e t r o s p e c t i v e point of view created c e r t a i n i r o n i c and ambiguous patterns. This narrative dualism was then shown to be a c t i v e i n the s t r u c t u r a t i o n of the novel's action: the narration presents a l i n e a r p l o t structure within which a r e c u r r i n g , "open-ended", and c y c l i c a l pattern of a c t i o n was d i s c e r n i b l e . This c y c l i c a l pattern of a t t r a c t i o n (entry into contact with r e a l i t y ) and repulsion (escape from t h i s contact) defined the r e l a t i o n s h i p of the protagonist to the world. Bardamu's d u a l i s t i c attitude towards r e a l i t y (.concretely projected i n t o the anecdote by means of the a l t e r ego Robinson) corresponded i n turn to the double point of view. Thus, a s e r i e s of s t r u c t u r a l correspondences l i n k e d , i n an "organic" 1 Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m (New York, 1967), p. 85. 126 manner, the narrative and the f i c t i o n . In the second part of t h i s a n a l y s i s , I examined the approach to the world adopted by the protagonist, the content of the r e a l i t y he experiences, and the manner i n which t h i s content i s organized. A concrete or b i o l o g i c a l perception of r e a l i t y was held to constitute the fundamental informing v i s i o n of the work. The phys i c a l world contains the e s s e n t i a l determinants of man's i n d i v i d u a l and c o l l e c t i v e existence. Death — the sign of both the power and the absurdity of the p h y s i c a l — transcends the i n d i v i d u a l and s o c i a l l e v e l s of being-in-the-world and constitutes the basis of the novel's metaphysics. The t h i r d and f i n a l part of t h i s study w i l l deal with the novel's imagery, the poetic material which underlies both the narrative and the 2 themes of the work. Imagery may be viewed as the p r i n c i p a l component of the novel's symbolism. Normally, symbolism involves the u n i t i n g of "an image.(the analogy) and an idea or conception (the subject) which that image suggests or evokesVV . Not a l l imagery, however, can be l i n k e d d i r e c t l y to * an idea or to a concept. While ultimately s i g n i f i c a n t , the r e l a t i o n s h i p between an image and a theme may be extremely i n d i r e c t . Consequently, I s h a l l not l i m i t t h i s section to thematic imagery i l l u s t r a t i v e of a s p e c i f i c idea. I s h a l l rather seek to determine the d i f f e r e n t functions of images i n the novel and thereby a r r i v e at some knowledge of how imagery structures k the text.. The imagery i n the novel seems to perform three p r i n c i p a l functions: See Frye, Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m , pp. 85-86. The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetics, p. 833.. "Structure," presumably, r e f l e c t s or embodies such f u n c t i o n a l d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n . 127 ( l ) the creation of a c e r t a i n atmosphere or t o n a l i t y i n the work ( l i t e r a l or d e s c r i p t i v e imagery); (2) the expression of an idea or theme (the "formal" function of imagery, as Frye terms i t ' ' ) ; and f i n a l l y (3) the global organization or generation of the text (productive imagery). While images may function simultaneously i n each of these three modes — and the laws of a r t i s t i c economy require such polyfunctionalism — one can i s o l a t e c e r t a i n image systems which function p r i m a r i l y i n one of these manners. Thus a group of what I term "sensual" images confers upon the anecdote a concrete or p h y s i c a l t o n a l i t y . A second s e r i e s , the " f i g u r a t i v e " images, i l l u s t r a t e s c e r t a i n themes by means of analogy (man as beast, l i f e as i l l n e s s , e t c . ) . • A t h i r d series of images functions p r i n c i p a l l y as what I have c a l l e d producers or "generators" of the t e x t . These images or symbols (Voyage; U u i t ) , by t h e i r g l o b a l , archetypal nature, by t h e i r d i s p o s i t i o n en exergue i n the text, and by the frequency of t h e i r r e p e t i t i o n , possess a d i s t i n c t i v e status i n the work. By t h e i r presence, a l l other elements f i n d t h e i r place, function, and s i g n i f i c a n c e . Although the three d i s t i n c t functions of imagery described here p a r t i c i p a t e a c t i v e l y i n the d e f i n i t i o n of the s t r u c t u r a l properties of the text, i t i s perhaps t h i s l a s t productive function which ultimately confers upon the novel i t s deep or poetic unity and coherence. Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m , p. 12k. 128 CHAPTER I SENSUAL IMAGERY As we saw i n preceding chapters^ i t i s through an unmediated i n t e r -a c t i o n with p h y s i c a l r e a l i t y that the protagonist seeks to a r r i v e at an authentic knowledge of t r u t h and r e a l i t y . This approach finds i t s textual c o r r e l a t i o n i n the abundance of what can be termed "sensual" imagery; that i s , imagery which r e f e r s to the senses ( e s p e c i a l l y those of s i g h t , hearing, smell, and touch) and t h e i r s p e c i f i c a c t i v i t i e s . On the whole, t h i s imagery i s l i t e r a l or d e s c r i p t i v e i n i t s manner of functioning; that i s , i t does . . . . 7 not e x p l i c i t l y r e f e r to something beyond i t s e l f . As such,, i t s p r i n c i p a l function i s the creation of a p a r t i c u l a r atmosphere or tone ( i n t h i s case a concrete, p h y s i c a l , and sensual tone). This i s not to deny that sensual imagery may function thematically (as i l l u s t r a t i o n of a concept) or productively (as a p r i n c i p l e of the text's organization). We are dealing here with imagery which i s p o l y f u n c t i o n a l , but which appears to contribute most to one aspect or l e v e l of the novel's s i g n i f i c a t i o n : the creation of a p h y s i c a l substratum i n which the thematic, the symbolic and the s t r u c t u r a l dimensions of the text are rooted. P a r t - I I , Chapters I , - I I , and I I I . It i s not therefore "symbolic" i n the normal l i t e r a r y sense of the word. 129 Sight imagery In my analysis of the novel's p r i n c i p a l themes I noted the importance of v i s u a l perception to the protagonist i n h i s search f o r knowledge. Bardamu's entrance i n t o the process of d i r e c t experience i s motivated by the need to "vo i r s i c'est a i n s i " (p. 13)-. The hero's ultimate goal i s to recount l e s s what he has done, thought or f e l t , than what he has seen: "Quand on sera au bord du tro u faudra pas f a i r e l e s malins nous autres, mais faudra pas oublier non plus, faudra raconter tout sans changer un mot, de ce qu'on a vu de plus v i c i e u x chez l e s hommes..." (p. 27)'. Having refused, at Place C l i c h y , the temptation of abstract i n t e l l e c t u a l i z i n g , the protagonist confers upon the r e s u l t s of d i r e c t observation a p r i v i l e g e d status: . " I I y a, c'est exact, beaucoup de f o l i e a, s'occuper d'autre chose que de ce qu'on v o i t " (p. 170). His p o s i t i o n as spectator-participant i n the Flanders episode (and i n the adventures which follow) affords Bardamu an intimate, i n t e r n a l knowledge of the true nature of war and of the world: "Je venais de decouvrir d'un coup l a guerre tout entiere. J ' e t a i s depucele. Faut etre a. peu pres seul devant e l l e comme je l ' e t a i s a, ce moment-la pour bien l a v o i r l a vache, en face et de p r o f i l " (p. 18). The quest f o r v i s u a l knowledge of the world turns Bardamu into a kind of voyeur, as when he observes the bedroom r i t u a l s of American couples from h i s h o t e l room window: Dans certaines d'entre e l l e s [les chambres}, je pouvais apercevoir ce qui se passait (p. 198); C'est t r i s t e des gens qui se couchent, on v o i t bien q u ' i l s se foutent que l e s choses a i l l e n t comme e l l e s veulent, on v o i t bien q u ' i l s ne cherchent pas a, comprendre eux, l e pourquoi 130 qu'on est l a (p. 199). This voyeurism continues with Bardamu's return to Garenne-Rancy: the window of his kitchen allows him a p r i v i l e g e d observation (and l i s t e n i n g ) post, from which he can observe the ugliness of the neighbourhood and the sordid l i v e s of i t s inhabitants: "... comme je demeurais au premier, j'avais de cet endroit un beau panorama d'arriere-cour" (p. 264). Despite the'apparent s u p e r i o r i t y of what i s seen to what i s only talked about, with the r e s u l t i n g emphasis on d i r e c t experience as opposed to i n t e l l e c t u a l i z i n g , a c e r t a i n ambiguity with regard to the v a l i d i t y of v i s u a l perception pervades the t e x t . Since appearances can e a s i l y be manipulated to provoke a desired r e a c t i o n , any r e l i a n c e on the v i s i b l e alone i s fraught with d i f f i c u l t i e s . The protagonist i s not unaware of the danger of being misled by f a l s e appearances, as he himself was seduced i n t o the army by the pleasing spectacle of a m i l i t a r y parade, flashy uniforms, and e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y approving crowds (pp. 13-l4). Having once been a v i c t i m of h i s i m p r e s s i o n a b i l i t y , the hero determines not to allow himself to be taken i n again by f a l s e appearances: . "Mais je me mefiais des impressions • a. present. On m'avait possede une f o i s a 1'impression. On ne m'aurait plus au boniment" (p. 56). Invested with a c e r t a i n i n s i g h t , t h e r e f o r e , the protagonist attempts to see through appearances which would mislead most • i n d i v i d u a l s . Thus, while most would see i n Alcide a simple s o l d i e r with an " a i r bien o r d i n a i r e " (p. l6o), Bardamu goes beyond the s u p e r f i c i a l and sees Q Another example of sexual voyeurism — accompanied by a lesson on the u n r e l i a b i l i t y of friends — takes place during the stay i n Toulouse as the hero spies upon Madelon and Robinson: "Moi dans l'herbe a c6te, j'essayais de v o i r ce qui a l l a i t se passer. I I l u i prenait l e s bouts des seins entre les l e v r e s . . . " (p. 40l). ^ "Je me mis a l e regarder de bien plus pres A l c i d e . . . " (p. 158). 131 the true q u a l i t i e s of a man who "evoluait dans l e sublime a son aise et pour a i n s i d i r e familierement, i l t u t o y a i t l e s anges, ce garcon, et i l n'avait l ' a i r de r i e n " (p. 159). The protagonist's s p e c i a l v i s i o n , therefore, permits him (and the reader of the text) to transcend the o f f i c i a l view of r e a l i t y . In A f r i c a , f o r example, the ordinary t o u r i s t w i l l know only the "Afrique decortiquee des agences et des monuments, des chemins de f e r et des nougats" (p. 112). Rejecting the reassuring varnish of f a l s e appearances Bardamu's i n s i g h t takes him to the concrete, and v i t a l core of A f r i c a n r e a l i t y : "Ah non'. Nous a l l i o n s nous l a v o i r dans son j u s , l a v r a i e A f r i q u e l " ( p . 112). The possession of a c e r t a i n i n s i g h t and the r e s u l t i n g capacity to enter into an authentic, concrete r e l a t i o n s h i p with the world does not, unfortunately, d e l i v e r the protagonist from the realm of ambiguity. For i f t h i s i n s i g h t confers upon the i n d i v i d u a l a p o t e n t i a l for l i b e r a t i o n from i l l u s i o n , 1 ^ i t also reveals a r e a l i t y so repugnant 1 1 that Bardamu i s r e g u l a r l y tempted not to see, to keep h i s eyes f i r m l y closed to the truths around him: "Venu jusque-la, l e courage me manquait une f o i s de plus pour a l l e r vraiment au fond des choses. Maintenant q u ' i l s ' a g i s s a i t d'ouvrir les yeux dans l a nuit j'aimais presque autant l e s garder fermes" (p. 310). This temptation to compromise, to refuse to follow h i s quest f o r t r u t h "jusqu'au bout'.'*,'- places the protagonist i n a severe dilemma which he never t r u l y resolves. This danger of compromise i s alluded to i n the episode i n which the hero and h i s friends are i n v i t e d aboard a luxurious barge 1 0 As Robinson t e l l s the protagonist: " i l n'y a qu'une l i b e r t e , que je te dis moi, r i e n qu'une: C'est de v o i r c l a i r d'abord..." (p. 383). 1 1 "Je ne vois partout que de noires et v i e i l l e s •nd-aseries qui fermentent dans l e s corps..." (p. 372). 132 anchored near Toulouse. Here the r e f u s a l to see and the seductions of a 12 state of forgetfulness have been transformed into a l i f e s t y l e . Aboard the vessel reigns a state of dreamy-eyed t r a n q u i l l i t y , of immobility and s e l f - d e l u s i o n designed to protect the inhabitants of the boat from a l l contact with sordid r e a l i t y . This manner of coping with existence by consciously refusing to see i t i s epitomized i n the l y r i c s of the popular song which the a r t i s t - c o u p l e and t h e i r friends are singing when the protagonist f i r s t perceives t h e i r refuge: Ferme tes j o l i s yeux, car l e s heures sont breves... • Au pays merveilleux, au doux pays du re-e-ve, Ferme tes j o l i s yeux, car l a v i e n'est qu'un songe... L'amour n'est qu'un menson-on-ge... Ferme tes j o l i s yeuuuuuuux'. (p. 392). The f a c u l t y of v i s u a l perception, therefore, plays an important r o l e i n the novel. The deprivation of sight — as i n the blindness of Robinson 13 — i s a traumatic, absolute event. But i f to see i s to know, i t i s also to be misled, and a s p e c i a l kind of l u c i d i t y ("voir c l a i r " ) i s required i n order to pass beyond the v e i l s of f a l s e (manipulated) appearances. I r o n i c a l l y , the consequence of possessing such i n s i g h t i s an ambiguous, almost contradictory a t t i t u d e towards r e a l i t y : . "J'en avais trop vu moi des choses pas c l a i r e s pour etre content. J'en. savais de trop et j'en savais pas assez" (p. 199). Thus the protagonist's double a t t i t u d e towards r e a l i t y — manifested 12 In terms of the protagonist's o r i g i n a l p r oject, the passengers of the peniche have committed the greatest of errors: "La grande d e f a i t e , en tout,c'est d'oublier..." (p. 27). The f a c t that the owner of the barge i s an a r t i s t brings the danger of compromise even c l o s e r to home. 13 * x "II p l e u r a i t . I I e t a i t a r r i v e au bout l u i a u s s i . On >ne pouvait plus r i e n l u i d i r e . II y a un moment ou on est tout seul quand on est a r r i v e au bout de tout ce qui peut vous a r r i v e r . C'est l e bout du monde" (p. 323) 133 also i n the structure of the narrative (Part I) — i s indicated and i n a sense p a r a l l e l e d by the system of v i s u a l imagery. Sounds and:odours The implications'of v i s u a l imagery i n the novel are numerous. They extend from the af f i r m a t i o n of th_e concreteness of the text to an evocation of fundamental contradictions and ambiguities l i n k e d to the human condition. As an element i n a system of sensual imagery, however, v i s u a l perception functions p r i n c i p a l l y to underline the e s s e n t i a l importance of the ph y s i c a l . Two other modes of sensual perception, hearing and smell, supplement and rei n f o r c e t h i s o r i e n t a t i o n towards the concrete. Sounds and odours, by means of t h e i r ubiquity i n the tex t , sustain or.contradict the evidence of the eyes, often victims either of an exter n a l l y manipulated r e a l i t y , or of an i n t e r n a l need to be deceived by, f o r example, the d i v e r t i n g appearances of r e a l i t y o f f e r r e d by the images of the cinema. Because of t h e i r weak, underdeveloped nature i n man, the frequent presence of references to the aural and o l f a c t o r y f a c u l t i e s suggests an intimate a s s o c i a t i o n of the protagonist with the outside, concrete world. Sounds In the course of a series of concrete i n t e r a c t i o n s with the world, Bardamu often assumes the r o l e of an eavesdropper. Many of the most Ik shocking revelations are overheard. Such i s notably the case i n Garenne-Rancy, where Bardamu i s the aural witness to scenes of i n c r e d i b l e cruelty ~^"Je ne pouvais rien- f a i r e . Je r e s t a i s a ecouter seulement comme toujours, partout" (p. 266). 13k and m i s e r y : " J ' a i eu b i e n du temps a, moi pour l a r e g a r d e r l a mienne d ' a r r i e r e - c o u r e t s u r t o u t pour l ' e n t e n d r e . • La, v i e n n e n t c h u t e r , c r a q u e r , . r e b o n d i r l e s c r i s , l e s a p p e l s des v i n g t maisons e n . p o u r t o u r . . . " (p. 264). A t t h e b e g i n n i n g o f h i s v i s i t t o T o u l o u s e , Bardamu o v e r h e a r s t h e d i s c u s s i o n among t h e s t a f f o f a p a s t r y shop. The c r u e l t y , m i n d l e s s n e s s , and a b s u r d i t y o f human communication a r e p e r c e i v e d by t h e p r o t a g o n i s t t h r o u g h t h i s a p p a r e n t l y b a n a l c o n v e r s a t i o n : Des r a c l u r e s d'arguments a, l ' a s s a u t de r i e n du t o u t . J ' a v a i s f i n i p a r m ' a s s e o i r pour q u ' e l l e s m ' e t o u r d i s s e n t mieux e n c o r e avec l e b r u i t i n c e s s a n t des mots... • Un enorme b a b i l l a g e s ' e t e n d g r i s et monotone au-dessus de l a v i e comme un m i r a g e enormement decourageant (p. 376). A l s o d u r i n g h i s v i s i t t o Toulouse,- t h e . p r o t a g o n i s t w i l l ' o v e r h e a r t h e 15 d i a l o g u e d'amour exchanged between R o b i n s o n and Madelon as w e l l as R o b i n s o n ' s b e t r a y a l o f t h e i r f r i e n d s h i p , c a r r i e d o u t w i t h t h e encouragement o f a j e a l o u s and p o s s e s s i v e M adelon. W h i l e t h e p r e c e d i n g examples r e f e r m a i n l y t o t h e s i t u a t i o n o f t h e h e r o w i t h r e g a r d t o sounds, o t h e r p a s s a g e s i n d i c a t e t h a t i n t h e m s e l v e s sounds can be h i g h l y s i g n i f i c a n t v e h i c l e s o f t r u t h s about l i f e . M u s i c i s an i m p o r t a n t example o f such a v e h i c l e . L i k e l a n g u a g e , music i s made up o f an o r g a n i z e d system o f sounds; m u s i c , however, a v o i d s t h e dangers o f l a n g u a g e — dangers r e s u l t i n g f r o m l a n g u a g e ' s m a n i p u l a b i l i t y , as e v i d e n c e d i n war propaganda. M u s i c i s i n v e s t e d w i t h a m y s t e r i o u s c a p a c i t y t o communicate i n e f f a b l e , t r a n s c e n d e n t t r u t h s . Thus w h i l e t h e l y r i c s o f t h e song p e r f o r m e d n i g h t l y a t t h e T a r a p o u t t h e a t r e a r e e x t r e m e l y b a n a l , t h e m u s i c a l f o r m c o n f e r s a new d i m e n s i o n o f s i g n i f i c a n c e upon a c o n v e n t i o n a l l y s e n t i m e n t a l " C ' e t a i t t e n d r e ce q u ' i l s se r a c o n t a i e n t . J e l e s e n t e n d a i s " (p. 399). 135 love-song: D'un coup, comme j e n'y pensais plus, l e u r chanson est devenue plus f o r t e que l a v i e et meme qu'elle a f a i t tourner l e destin en p l e i n du cote du malheur (p. 355); Ca commencait d'un p e t i t ton g e n t i l leur chanson, ga n'avait l ' a i r de rien , comme toutes ces choses pour danser, et puis voila. que ga vous f a i s a i t pencher l e coeur a force de vous f a i r e t r i s t e comme s i on a l l a i t perdre a 1'entendre l'envie de v i v r e , tellement que c ' e t a i t v r a i que tout n'arrive a r i e n . . . (p. 357). Unconscious of the profound metaphysical power latent i n the sounds they are producing, the youthful singers at the Tarapout appear to attend only to the s u p e r f i c i a l sense of the song: E l l e s chantaient l a deroute d'exister et de v i v r e et e l l e s ne comprenaient pas. E l l e s prenaient ga encore" pour de 1'amour, r i e n que pour de 1'amour, on leur avait pas appris l e reste a ces pe t i t e s (p. 35&). Sounds are also present i n the novel i n l e s s highly organized forms than speech or music. The " p e t i t s b r u i t s sees" of machine-guns (p. 17) and the resounding echoes of horses' hooves i n Flanders (p. 29) serve both to endow the episode with concreteness and to underline the physi c a l presence of Death. The importance of money as a mediator i n human r e l a t i o n s h i p s i s indi c a t e d by the j i n g l e of coins whether i n the purse of Lola (p. 220), the pockets of the p r i e s t at San Tapeta (p. 180), or i n the hands of in d i v i d u a l s at the f a i r (p. 470). Sounds therefore, l i k e v i s u a l perceptions, l i n k the concrete nature of the hero's experiences with the meaning of these experiences. The " s i f f l e t s " 1 ^ which M. Henrouille auscults emanating from h i s own body are i r r e f u t a b l e signs of death's approach. Man's fundamental a l i e n a t i o n from "Et i l l e s ecoutait en e f f e t , au l i e u de dormir, des s i f f l e t s , des tambours, des ronrons... C'etait un nouveau supplice. 11 s'en occupait toute l a journee et toute l a nui t . 11 avait tous l e s b r u i t s en l u i " (p. 25l). 136 h i m s e l f and f r o m o t h e r s i s c o n c r e t i z e d i n terms o f i n t e r n a l n o i s e s w h i c h p r e v e n t us f r o m u n d e r s t a n d i n g o r s y m p a t h i z i n g w i t h t h e p l i g h t o f our n e i g h b o u r s : "Dans l e b r u i t d'eux-memes, i l s n'entendent r i e n . I l s s'en f o u t e n t " ( p . 209). Thus, i n t h e c a s e o f sounds a l s o , a s e n s u a l image p a t t e r n s e r v e s t o l i n k t h e p h y s i c a l and t h e m e t a p h y s i c a l , t h e c o n c r e t e and t h e a b s t r a c t , an atmosphere and a t h e m a t i q u e . Odours The p o l y f u n c t i o n a l i s m o f s e n s u a l i magery i n t h e n o v e l i s m a n i f e s t e d a l s o i n images r e f e r r i n g t o o d o u r s , t o man's o l f a c t o r y f a c u l t i e s . Here a g a i n t h e images a s s i s t i n t h e c o n s t r u c t i o n o f a p h y s i c a l t e x t w h i l e s i m u l t a n e o u s l y d e s i g n a t i n g r e a l i t i e s w h i c h go beyond t h e d e s c r i p t i v e and t h e a n e c d o t a l . On t h e d e s c r i p t i v e l e v e l , o d ours r e g u l a r l y f i l l t h e c o n c r e t e space w h i c h t h e h e r o t r a v e r s e s on h i s l o n g j o u r n e y . The wounded h o r s e s i n F l a n d e r s g i v e o f f h o r r i b l e s t e n c h e s , "odeurs q u i s u i n t a i e n t des b l e s s u r e s " ( p . 25). I n Garenne-Rancy t h e a i r seems t o d i s a p p e a r f r o m a space overwhelmed by f o u l o d o u r s : " L ' e t e a u s s i t o u t s e n t a i t f o r t . I I n'y a v a i t p l u s d ' a i r dans l a c o u r , r i e n que des o d e u r s " ( p . 267). The l a b o r a t o r i e s o f t h e I n s t i t u t B i o d u r e t J o s e p h a r e s i m i l a r l y d ominated by a f e t i d o d o u r , i n t h i s c a s e t h a t o f d e c a y i n g a n i m a l specimens: . " L o r s q u e l ' o d e u r en d e v e n a i t v e r i t a b l e m e n t i n t e n a b l e , on en s a c r i f i a i t un a u t r e de l a p i n , mais pas a v a n t . . . " (p. 277). The t h e m a t i c i m p o r t a n c e o f t h e system o f o l f a c t o r y images w h i c h r e c u r s t h r o u g h o u t t h e t e x t l i e s i n i t s o r g a n i c r e l a t i o n s h i p t o t h e u n i v e r s a l p r o c e s s o f g r a d u a l decay and d e g r a d a t i o n . As t h e p h y s i c a l m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f t h i s p r o c e s s , odours p o i n t towards t h e i r r e v o c a b l e d i s s o l u t i o n o f a l l t h i n g s : 137 "C'est par l e s odeurs que f i n i s s e n t l e s etres, l e s pays et l e s choses. Toutes l e s aventures s 1 en vont par l e nez" (p. l8o). With regard to man, t h i s tendency towards decay constitutes a part of his e s s e n t i a l nature. L i t t l e more than "de l a pourriture en suspens" (p. 4l6), man i s irrevocably c a r r i e d along " l a route de l a pourriture" (p. 72). He i s condemned to give value to a s e l f that i s i n a constant state of putrefaction: "Decidement nous n'adorons r i e n de plus d i v i n que notre odeur" (p. 333). "Pourris de 17 naissance" (p. 370), human beings cannot separate these b i o l o g i c a l f a c t s from the ultimate meaning of t h e i r existence. By reason of i t s inherent t i e s with the general notions of collapse and destruction, the imagery of f o u l smells r e j o i n s the large thematic movements of tlie novel. The s e t t i n g aflame of the hut of the Compagnie Porduriere r e s u l t s i n an odour which designates more than j u s t the corruption of the s p e c i f i c enterprise or even of the c o l o n i a l system i n general. The asso c i a t i o n of o l f a c t o r y imagery with the fundamental l i f e processes of decay, d i s s o l u t i o n and death permits the stench of the burning hut to function as an exemplar, a sign of a l l f a i l u r e s of the i n d i v i d u a l to adapt harmoniously to s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s : Apres une heure d'incendie, i l ne r e s t a i t presque r i e n de mon edicule. Quelques flammeches sous l a p l u i e e t . . . les bouffees de cette odeur f i d e l e a. toutes l e s detresses, odeur detachee de toutes l e s deroutes de ce monde, 1'odeur de l a poudre fumante (p. 176). Both the temporal and s p a t i a l dimensions of existence are r a d i c a l l y a f f e c t e d by the presence (and the implications) of decay. As process, the "Puisque nous sommes que des enclos de t r i p e s tiedes et mal pourries..." (p. 332). 138 decay implied by offensive odours forms an essential aspect of the work's temporality. Thus each episode of the novel w i l l demonstrate a constant pattern i n time: from an i n i t i a l state of equilibrium, the si t u a t i o n w i l l deteriorate and decay w i l l set i n , with i t s accompanying odours: "A mesure qu'on reste dans un endroit, les choses et les gens se debraillent, pourrissent et se mettent a puer tout expres pour vous" (p. 2 7 2 ) . This process of ageing and degradation affects time not only i n i t s on-going movement; the past, as we l l as the present, i s affected by the process of decay: memories too have t h e i r youth, ripeness, and.decrepitude: Les souvenirs eux-memes ont leur jeunesse... l i s tournent des qu'on les l a i s s e moisir en degoutants fantomes tout suintants d'egoisme, de vanites et de mensonges... I l s pourrissent comme des pommes... (p. 3 2 6 ) . Sounds and odours present the concrete core of the hero's experience. The climax of Bardamu's i n i t i a t i o n into the r e a l i t y of war — the death of the colonel and the messenger — i s marked by the conjunction of these sensual elements: the deafening noise of the s h e l l exploding: "Mais alors un de ces brui t s comme on ne c r o i r a i t jamais q u ' i l en existe" (p. 2 0 ) ; and the accompanying stench: "... 1'odeur pointue de l a poudre et du souffre mou r e s t a i t comme pour tuer les punaises et les puces de l a terre entiere" (p. 2 1). At the Ford factory i n Detroit, the d a i l y existence of the workers i s dominated by the deafening roar and o i l y smell of the machines. The sensations are so penetrating and imperious that they transform the workers, imposing upon them a new id e n t i t y : . "Quand a s i x heures tout s'arrete on emporte l e br u i t dans sa tet.e, j ' en avais encore moi pour l a nuit entiere de b r u i t et d'odeur a l ' h u i l e aussi comme s i on m'avait mis un nez nouveau, 139 un cerveau nouveau pour toujours" ,(p. 226). Under the influence of the machine — of modern technology and the resu l t i n g sense of alienation — men themselves are mechanized, rendered indistinguishable from the machines they serve:. "... ce n'etaient que des echos et des odeurs de machines comme moi, des viandes vibrees a l ' i n f i n i , mes compagnons" (p. 226). Conclusion The images I have been examining refer e x p l i c i t l y to the objects of sense perception as well as to the f a c u l t i e s of perception themselves. Some c r i t i c s have sought to determine the primary meaning of Voyage i n terms of the sensual imagery, and i n par t i c u l a r those images referring to the t a c t i l e : l8 v i s c o s i t y , l i q u i d i t y , s o l i d i t y and so on. My purpose i n pointing out the existence of sensual imagery i n the text i s perhaps more modest. I t is my view that such imagery, by i t s double functionality, occupies an important position i n the structuration of the text. In i t s e l f , t h i s imagery confers upon the text a physical dimension which p a r a l l e l s , formally or s t y l i s t i c a l l y , a fundamental aspect of the work's content: the b i o l o g i c a l v i s i o n of r e a l i t y . In addition to the creation of a speci f i c tone, or texture, which i m p l i c i t l y augments the global unity and coherence of the text, the sensual imagery i s e x p l i c i t l y associated with certain important themes: s o c i a l alienation, death, etc. Integral components of the work's formal structure as well as of i t s thematique, sensual imagery constitutes an organic bedrock upon which the novel's symbolic structure i s firmly based. See for example Jean-Pierre Richard, La Nausee de Celine (Montpellier, 1973); and Michel Beaujour, "Temps et substances dans 'Voyage au bout de l a Nuit'",. L'Heme, No. 5 (.1965), PP- 173-182. i4o CHAPTER II IMAGE AS THEME: FIGURATIVE IMAGERY The primary function of what I have termed "sensual" imagery was found to.be d e s c r i p t i v e . The imagery contributes to the creation of a concrete texture; the anecdote i s invested with a physical realism. We discovered nevertheless that, between t h i s tonal imagery and other l e v e l s of the text, c e r t a i n p a r a l l e l s and correspondences could be established. The i n t e l l i g i b i l i t y of such associations depended to some extent upon my e a r l i e r analysis of these other l e v e l s : the narrative and the thematic. In the present chapter I w i l l examine images whose as s o c i a t i v e function i s much more prominent. These are images which by t h e i r f i g u r a t i v e nature 1 9 mean more than they say; that i s , t h e i r very presence i n the text involves the work's conceptual framework ( i t s thematique). By examining the p r i n c i p a l image-systems which are of a p r i m a r i l y thematic nature, I s h a l l seek to determine t h e i r r o l e i n the o v e r - a l l s t r u c t u r a t i o n of the t e x t . It should be borne i n mind that my purpose here i s not to inventory nor even to analyze the d i f f e r e n t types of figures i n the novel. I am concerned p r i m a r i l y with the ordering of image:sy i n accordance with t h e i r p r i n c i p a l mode of functioning i n the t e x t . A d e s c r i p t i o n of the " C e l i n i a n " image or metaphor i s not my object. I hope rather to discover i f and how t h i s imagery contributes, to the production of a coherent work of a r t , a u n i f i e d 1 9 The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetics, p. 3 6 5 . Ikl and polysemous s t r u c t u r e o f words. To t h i s end I s h a l l , i n t h e p r e s e n t 20 . . . c h a p t e r , l o o k a t imagery w h i c h i s b a s i c a l l y e x p r e s s i v e : i m a g e r y , t h a t i s , w h i c h t e n d s t o i l l u s t r a t e c e r t a i n t h e m a t i c e l e m e n t s : t h e body, t h e i n d i v i d u a l i n s o c i e t y , human n a t u r e , Death. The Body as Image I n t h e c o u r s e o f h i s i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h o t h e r s , Bardamu p r a c t i s e s a k i n d o f physiognomy: h i s a t t e n t i o n i's c o n c e n t r a t e d upon a p a r t i c u l a r p a r t o f t h e o t h e r ' s body i n t h e a p p a r e n t b e l i e f t h a t t h e e x t e r n a l a s p e c t s o f , f o r example, t h e head o r f a c e a r e c a p a b l e o f r e v e a l i n g p r o f o u n d t r u t h s not o n l y about t h e o t h e r , b u t a l s o about l i f e . The o b s e r v a t i o n o f R o b i n s o n ' s c o u n t e n a n c e , f o r i n s t a n c e , a l l o w s t h e p r o t a g o n i s t t o d i s c o v e r h i s f r i e n d ' s 21 a u t h e n t i c i d e n t i t y as- w e l l as h i s p r i m a r y f u n c t i o n m t h e work: M a i s j e l u i t r o u v a i , en 1 ' o b s e r v a n t , p a r l a s u i t e , une f i g u r e decidement a v e n t u r e u s e , une f i g u r e a a n g l e s t r e s t r a c e s e t meme une de ces t e t e s de r e v o l t e q u i e n t r e n t t r o p a v i f dans 1 ' e x i s t e n c e au l i e u de r o u l e r d e s s u s , avec un g r o s nez r o n d p a r exemple e t des j o u e s p l e i n e s en p e n i c h e s , q u i v o n t c l a p o t e r c o n t r e l e d e s t i n avec un b r u i t de b a b i l l a g e . C e l u i - c i c ' e t a i t un malheureux (p. l 6 3 ) . The f a c e and head a r e t h u s endowed w i t h a s i n g u l a r l y p r i v i l e g e d s t a t u s as s o u r c e s o f t r u t h . The head o f c o u r s e c o n t a i n s t h e sense organs and f a c u l t i e s o f p e r c e p t i o n d i s c u s s e d i n t h e p r e v i o u s c h a p t e r : s i g h t , h e a r i n g , s m e l l . The f a c e — c o n s t a n t l y i n c . c o n t a c t w i t h t h e p h y s i c a l r e a l i t i e s o f l i f e — i s l o g i c a l l y and f i g u r a t i v e l y t h e b e s t o f a l l p o s s i b l e m i r r o r s o f t h e e f f e c t s o f t h e o u t e r w o r l d upon t h e i n d i v i d u a l . 20 . . . . . I n t h e f o l l o w i n g c h a p t e r I w i l l a g a i n l o o k a t f i g u r a t i v e images. T h e r e , however, t h e i magery w i l l be o f . s u c h g l o b a l s i g n i f i c a n c e t h a t i t s f u n c t i o n seems r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t f r o m t h a t o f " t h e m a t i c " i magery. 21 . . . . R o b i n s o n , as I remarked m t h e c h a p t e r s d e a l i n g w i t h n a r r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e s , m a n i f e s t s i n h i s a c t i o n s an u n e q u i v o c a l r e f u s a l o f h i s p e r s o n a l s i t u a t i o n i n p a r t i c u l a r and.of t h e w o r l d i n g e n e r a l . Ih2 In an early stage, when l i f e has not yet worked i t s w i l l upon the i n d i v i d u a l , the face embodies a state of naive yet touching innocence and joy. The smile of the c h i l d Bebert, f o r example, r e f l e c t s the e a r l y hopes of men f o r happiness i n t h i s world: "Sur sa face l i v i d e dansotait cet i n f i n i p e t i t sourire d ' a f f e c t i o n pure que je h'ai jamais pu o u b l i e r . Une gaite pour l'univers (p. 2k2). A f t e r a period of i n t e r a c t i o n with the outer world, however, the face soon loses i t s smile and begins to take on the look of a twisted battleground: . "L.1 existence, ga vous tord et ga vous ecrase l a face"(p. 2l6). I t i s the poor who seem to suffer most from t h i s p h y s i o l o g i c a l havoc. Unable to turn away su c c e s s f u l l y from the sordidness of existence, the poor undergo a f a c i a l desecration r e s u l t i n g from t h e i r overly close contact with b r u t a l i t y and s u f f e r i n g : "La misere est geante, e l l e se sert pour essuyer l e s ordures du monde de votre f i g u r e comme d'une t o i l e a l a v e r . II en res t e " (p. 2l6). The p h y s i c a l transformations operated by the corrosive aspects of being-in-the-world are not, however, l i m i t e d to 22 those who are deprived of material comfort. A l l men must undergo, consciously or not, a process of disillusionment, a process which i s r e f l e c t e d i n faces transformed by the fa c t that t h e i r o r i g i n a l " s o u r i r e " was an enormous mistake. L i f e undeceives us a l l and our new face expresses the error upon which we have based our existence: Le monde n'est pas ce qu'on c r o y a i t l V o i l a tout'. A l o r s , on a change de gueule! Et comment! Puisquion s 1 e t a i t trompe! Tout de l a vache qu'on devient en moins.de deux! Voila. ce qui nous reste sur l a f i g u r e apres vingt ans passes! Une erreur! Notre f i g u r e n'est qu'une erreur (p. 2h2). The wealthy Lola experiences,but to a l e s s e r extent, a f a c i a l destruction s i m i l a r to that of the poor: . "A. e l l e aussi ga l u i avait ecrase l a face mais moins, bien moins".. (p. 2l6). Ih3 Man's condition, therefore,- is written on his face. Sculpted by the implacable forces of time and experience, our countenances reflect f a i t h f u l l y the negative nature of our existence, a negativity which we can only learn to accept: "On demeure comme hesitant un instant devant, et puis on f i n i t par 1'accepter t e l qu'il est devenu le visage avec cette disharmonie croissante, ignoble, de toute l a figure" (p. 7 7 ) . Thus by the u t i l i z a t i o n of what might be termed a reductive synecdoche, the f a c i a l appearance is offered i n l i e u of the complex of emotions, thoughts, and perceptions which make up an attitude towards or a reaction against l i f e . Through this formal technique the sum of one's knowledge and essence of one's soul can be concretely expressed i n a complicated, but v i s i b l e , and thereby observable, f a c i a l expression: Comme on devient de plus en plus l a i d . . . en v i e i l l i s s a n t , on ne peut meme plus l a dissimuler sa peine, sa f a i l l i t e , on f i n i t par en avoir plein l a figure de cette sale grimace qui met des vingt ans, des trente ans et davantage a vous remonter enfin du ventre sur l a face. C'est a cela que ga sert, a. ga seulement, un homme, une grimace, qu'il met toute une vie a, se confectionner, et encore qu'il arrive meme pas toujours a, l a terminer tellement qu'elle est lourde et compliquee l a grimace qu'il faudrait faire pour exprimer toute sa vraie ame sans rien en perdre (p. 289). The text contains other examples of this reductive synecdoche, although 23 not i n the sustained manner of the f a c i a l imagery. The hands of Lieutenant Grappa, for example, express the brutality and ignorance of the instruments of an exploitative and inhuman colonial system: "... les mains breves, pourpres, terribles. Des- mains a-ne jamais rien comprendre" (p. 152). The authentic nobleness of Molly is revealed not so much by her behaviour as by 23 . . . . While such imagery may be taken to imply a l i t e r a l belief in physiognomy on the part of th.e narrator (and the author), the u t i l i z a t i o n of the face as a sign of something else (.something more complex and more abstract) does enable the imagery to function figuratively and thematically within the text. Ikk "ses jambes l o n g u e s e t b l o n d e s e t m a g n ifiquement d e l i e e s e t m u s c l e e s , des jambes n o b l e s . L a v e r i t a b l e a r i s t o c r a t i e humaine, on a beau d i r e , ce s o n t l e s jambes q u i l a c o n f e r e n t " (pp. 227-228). The r e f e r e n c e s t o L o l a ' s h e a r t as " t e n d r e , f a i b l e e t e n t h o u s i a s t e " (p. 51)» t h e s e v e r a l a l l u s i o n s t o humans 2k as " v i a n d e s , " s u c h examples a r e r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f a f i g u r a t i v e r e d u c t i o n o f man t o a p h y s i c a l c o r e o r e s s e n c e . The p r e c e d i n g image-system b o t h r e j o i n s t h e s e n s u a l i m a g e r y , i n s o f a r as i t s r e f e r e n t i s t h e body, and p a r t a k e s o f t h e t h e m a t i z i n g f u n c t i o n o f imagery. I t s e r v e s t o e x p r e s s o r embody s o c i a l and p s y c h o l o g i c a l a b s t r a c t i o n s as w e l l as t o r e i n f o r c e i m p l i c i t l y t h e b i o l o g i c a l v i s i o n i n f o r m i n g t h e t e x t , a v i s i o n w h i c h p r i v i l e g e s t h e body and i t s e v i d e n c e as s o u r c e s o f a u t h e n t i c knowledge about t h e w o r l d . "La F e t e " and "Les B e t e s " The imagery o f t h e body w h i c h I have been e x a m i n i n g r e l a t e s , t h r o u g h metonymy, t h e c o n c r e t e image and t h e a b s t r a c t theme: a p a r t o f t h e body c o n t a i n s and conveys a complex s e r i e s o f c o n c e p t s , e m o t i o n s , and a t t i t u d e s . Through t h i s f i g u r a t i v e u s e o f i m a g e r y , t h e r e f o r e , two i m p o r t a n t f u n c t i o n s a r e c a r r i e d o u t : ( l ) t h e work's i d e a t i o n a l c o n t e n t i s c o n c r e t i z e d and g i v e n a p h y s i c a l mode o f e x p r e s s i o n ; and (2) t h e f u n d a m e n t a l b i o l o g i c a l v i s i o n i n f o r m i n g t h e t e x t i s i m p l i c i t l y a f f i r m e d and s t r e n g t h e n e d by t h e u t i l i z a t i o n o f t h e body as t h e p r e c i s e v e h i c l e t h r o u g h w h i c h t h e c o n t e n t i s e x p r e s s e d . We have a l r e a d y s e e n , i n t h e s e c t i o n d e a l i n g w i t h t h e m a t i c s t r u c t u r e s , t h e 2k "Toutes ces v i a n d e s s a i g n a i e n t enormement ensemble" (p. 21); "... nous l e s v i a n d e s d e s t i n e e s aux s a c r i f i c e s " ( p . 97); "... des v i a n d e s v i b r e e s a l ' i n f i n i , mes compagnons" ( p . 226). 145 essential role played by the body i n the text. The images which I shall now examine — those related to the fete and ,to animals — function i n a similar manner. While the body imagery clearly corresponds to the theme of the "physical".in the novel, the two image systems which I shall now examine are related to other aspects of the novel's thematique: the social theme (la fete) and the vision of human nature and the human condition (animal imagery). La Fete The image of the f a i r and. the fair-grounds appears regularly in the novel. Its- principal function i s to c l a r i f y and present certain essential aspects of society by means of inherent analogies between i t and the social system. At once a part of the social machine and a reliable image of the principal aspects of this machine, the fai r — l i k e the "face" — enters into a metonymic relationship with i t s subject. That i s , an isolated, well-defined element of society tends to represent the whole social complex. This i s the case, for example, with.the "Stand des Nations" (pp. 59-60), which presents a fait h f u l and traumatizing image of the terrible situation i n which the individual finds himself. Like the targets in the shooting-gallery, the individual i s (because he has been conditioned to accept passively his fate) a mechanized, impotent victim of a society at war. In general, i t is the commercial exploitation upon which any f a i r i s based which permits i t to stand as a figure of the whole society. Money, i n both instances, is the element mediating human interaction. Consequently, 25 ^ See also the explicit allusions to war as a kind of f a i r : "... meme a, l a guerre c'est l a foire..." .(.p. 46);. "... cette foire pourrie a, laquelle on ne pouvait vraiment plus rien ajouter de plus sordide..." (p. 54). 146 the f a i r can operate as an i n i t i a t i n g system for the young: here they learn that nothing is free and that their desires are forever to he limited hy monetary considerations (p. 309). The fact that the f a i r serves as an escape for the downtrodden from real society does not effectively isolate this figurative image from i t s subject. Rather, the fete i s both separate from and an integral part of the social mechanism. The escape provided by the fete is i n t r i n s i c a l l y f u t i l e , given the fair's a r t i f i c i a l nature: "C'est'la fete a tromper les gens du bout de l a semaine" (p. 307). Like society i t s e l f , the f a i r divides men into the exploiters and the exploited, the rich and the poor, the few and the many. Thus while apparently presenting an amusing alternative to the real society, the carnival'offers only a homologous structure, a kind of society eh abyme whose textual function i s to ill u s t r a t e the various elements of the social theme. Les Betes The imagery of the carnival functions figuratively by reflecting, like a mirror and i n a condensed form, the principal mechanisms and structures of society. Animal imagery tends to embody thematic content in a different manner. In this case the image signifies metaphorically rather than through metonymy. That is to say that the imagery brings into contiguity, explicitly or implicitly, two different elements (the animal and the human), and suggests points of similarity or dissimilarity between them. These points of comparison or contrast designate in turn aspects of the work's thematique. The presence of much of the animal imagery in the novel can be viewed l i + 7 as a p o e t i c o r f i g u r a t i v e e q u i v a l e n t o f t h e e x p l i c i t c r i t i q u e , o f human n a t u r e and t h e human c o n d i t i o n d e s c r i b e d i n P a r t I I o f t h i s s t u d y . The e f f i c a c y . o f • t h i s imagery r e s u l t s i n p a r t f r o m t h e c o n v e n t i o n a l placement o f t h e a n i m a l w o r l d b e l o w t h e human on t h e h i e r a r c h i c a l c h a i n o f b e i n g . Thus, t h e f a c t t h a t c o m p a r i s o n s a r e made w h i c h t e n d t o u n i t e t h e two l e v e l s c o n s t i t u t e s i n i t s e l f an i m p l i c i t a t t a c k upon man. T h i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f t h e human w i t h t h e a n i m a l w o r l d o c c u r s f r e q u e n t l y i n t h e n o v e l : (1) The A f r i c a n n a t i v e s a r e d e s c r i b e d as " s o r t e s de f o u r m i s v e r t i c a l e s " ( p . 129); (2) The l a c k o f awareness on t h e p a r t o f t h e customers a t t h e f a i r makes o f them l i t t l e more t h a n " b e t e s a b e n e f i c e s " ( p . 309); (3) The t a c i t u r n , u ncommunicative n a t u r e o f t h e Americans-', o f New Yo r k causes them t o r e s e m b l e "des g r o s s e s b e t e s b i e n d o c i l e s . . . " ( p . 199); (k) O n l y man's p o s t u r e seems t o d i f f e r e n t i a t e h im f r o m t h e b e a s t : he i s s i m p l y " l a b e t e v e r t i c a l e " ( p . 139). A n i m a l i magery i s i n f a c t u t i l i z e d as p a r t o f a d e n u n c i a t o r y r h e t o r i c aimed a t u n d e r m i n i n g t h e o f f i c i a l l y a c c e p t e d v i e w s o f man. The h o s t i l e a g g r e s s i v e n e s s o f men towards each o t h e r i s v i e w e d as a s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e a s p e c t o f human n a t u r e , an a s p e c t w h i c h l o w e r s man t o t h e l e v e l o f t h e b e a s t : A i n s i , l e s r a r e s e n e r g i e s q u i e c h a p p a i e n t au p a l u d i s m e , a. l a s o i f , au s o l e i l , se consumaieht en h a i n e s s i m o rdantes, s i i n s i s t a n t e s , que beaucoup de c o l o n s f i n i s s a i e n t . p a r en c r e v e r s u r p l a c e , empoisonnes d'eux-memes, comme des s c o r p i o n s ( p . 125). S i m i l a r l y , man's p a s s i v e n a t u r e and h i s c o n f o r m i t y t o t h e inhuman demands o f t h e s o c i a l s ystem a r e embodied (and i m p l i c i t l y denounced) i n terms o f a n i m a l imagery: t h e A f r i c a n s a r e seen as " f o u r m i s v e r t i c a l e s " , t h e c i v i l i a n s 148 in Paris are "tant6t poules effrayees, tantot moutons fats et consentants" (p. 82). The attack upon man by means of the assimilation of the human to the animal i s strengthened by the presentation of comparisons wherein the animal i s held to occupy a rank in the moral order superior to the human. Here the natural instincts of animals are compared favourably to the perverted activities of man, whose consciousness, conscience, and moral sense render his brutality and cruelty inexcusable. Thus the friendly mixing of al l i e d and enemy horses contrasts with the hostile relationship which holds between their human masters: "Et leurs chevaux liberes, etriers fous et clinquants, galopaient a vide et devalaient vers nous... C'est nos chevaux qu'ils venaient rejoindre,amis tout de suite. Bien de l a chance'. C'est pas nous qu'on aurait-pu en faire autant!" (p. 34). Because they lack the human capacity for abstraction and idealization horses, unlike men, are free of the ideas and enthusiasms which can lead to the carnage and horrors of war: Les chevaux ont bien de l a chance eux, car s ' i l s subissent aussi l a guerre, comme nous, on ne leur demande pas d'y souscrire, d'avoir l ' a i r d'y croire. Malheureux mais libres chevaux'. L'enthousiasme helas! c'est rien que pour nous, ce putainl (p. 40). It i s man's complacency before his own vileness, his a b i l i t y to take a perverse pleasure in hate and suffering which places him on a moral level inferior to that of a dog. The soldiers in Flanders,for example, have only one purpose and pleasure: "... detruire, plus enrages que les chiens, adorant leur rage (ce que les chiens ne font pas), cent, mille fois plus enrages que mille chiens et tellement plus'vieieux 1 Nous etions jolis'." (p. 17). Ik9 In addition to this attack upon aspects of human behaviour, animal imagery is u t i l i z e d to reflect the degraded nature of man's global metaphysical condition. The predominance i n the world of material values and the resulting absence of the spiritual dimension of existence i s illustrated by the porcine image contained i n the "priere sociale et vengeresse",. an image which expresses a contemporary and satiric vision of the Deity: Un Dieu qui compte les minutes et les sous, un Dieu desespere, sensuel et grognon comme un cochon. Un cochon avec des ailes en or qui retombe partout, le ventre en l ' a i r , pret aux caresses, c'est l u i , c'est notre maitre (p. 12). The pig image w i l l reappear later i n the text as an example, or rather as a victim, of man's senseless cruelty. I have pointed out earlier i n this " study that the sadism and brutality i n man takes i t s source from the physical and metaphysical "sentence" which a l l men must serve. The torture of a defenseless pig constitutes one example of the violent outbursts of a human nature condemned to eternal internal conflict: Et puis, on n'arretait pas de l u i faire des miseres. Les gens l u i t o r t i l l a i e n t les oreilles histoire de 1'entendre crier. II se tordait et se retournait les pattes le cochon a. force de vouloir s'enfuir a t i r e r sur sa corde, d'autres 1 'asticotaient et i l hurlait encore plus fort a cause de l a douleur. Et on r i a i t davantage (pp. 286-287). Similarly, the vision of existence as a painful and poisonous prelude to Death — a vision which informs the metaphysics of the novel — finds i t s expression i n imagery which reduces man to the level of the lowest beast: "La terre est morte... On est rien que des vers dessus nous autres, des vers sur son degueulasse de gros cadavre, a l u i bouffer tout le temps les 150 t r i p e s e t r i e n que ses p o i s o n s . . . " ( p . 370). The image o f t h e t r a p p e d 26 r a t w i l l he u t i l i z e d t o e x p r e s s t h e p o s i t i o n o f man i n t h e u n i v e r s e , w h i l e t h a t o f t h e maggot w i l l s e r v e t o s u g g e s t t h e i n e v i t a b l e d e s t i n y o f man, h i s m o r t a l e s s e n c e , r e v e a l e d o n l y when a l l f a l s e a ppearances have been s t r i p p e d away: A i n s i s'en v o n t l e s hommes q u i decidement o n t b i e n du mal a f a i r e t o u t ce qu'on e x i g e d'eux: l e p a p i l l o n pendant l a j e u n e s s e e t l ' a s t i c o t pour en f i n i r ( p . 1U5); C'est a i n s i q u ' i l f a u t s ' h a b i t u e r a t r a n s p o s e r des l e p r e m i e r a b o r d l e s hommes... on d i s c e r n e t o u t de s u i t e dans n ' i m p o r t e q u e l personnage s a r e a l i t e d'enorme e t d ' a v i d e a s t i c o t ( p . 332). The p r i n c i p a l f u n c t i o n o f a n i m a l i magery i s e x p r e s s i v e . The image s i m p l y i l l u s t r a t e s t h e c o n c e p t o r i d e a : d e a t h , entrapment, c r u e l t y , d e g r a d a t i o n , e t c . The s e c o n d a r y f u n c t i o n s o f t h e m a t i c imagery — t h e c r e a t i o n o f a p h y s i c a l t e x t u r e and t h e o r g a n i z a t i o n o r g e n e r a t i o n o f meaning — a r e i n t h i s c a s e o f m i n o r i m p o r t a n c e . A n i m a l imagery e x p r e s s e s a v i s i o n o f man and o f r e a l i t y . Grounded i n a c o n v e n t i o n a l h i e r a r c h i c a l s y s t e m o f v a l u e s t h i s i m a g e r y , w h i l e a p p a r e n t l y t h e most r a d i c a l o r d e s t r u c t i v e , i s s t r u c t u r a l l y t h e most t r a d i t i o n a l , t h e most " u n i f u n c t i o n a l " and s t r i c t l y t h e m a t i c o f any image-system i n t h e t e x t . L a M a l a d i e I have s u g g e s t e d t h a t i m a g e r y i n t h e n o v e l f u n c t i o n s d e s c r i p t i v e l y ( t h e c r e a t i o n o f t o n e ) , e x p r e s s i v e l y ( t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e m e s ) , and "On e t a i t f a i t s , comme des r a t s " .Cp. ik); ".... r a t s enfumes d e j a , nous t e n t i o n s , en f o l i e , de s o r t i r du b a t e a u de f e u . . . " (p. 65); " J ' a i e t e f a i t , q u ' i l c o n c l u a i t l u i , f a i t comme un r a t . . . " .(p. 382). 151 as organizing symbols (the production of meaning and coherence). Animal imagery, insofar as i t s descriptive and organizational importance is . . 27 minimal, may be taken as the most representative example of expressive or thematic imagery i n the text. It is this great predominance, of the expressive function which determined the placing of animal (and fete) imagery at the mid-point of my analysis, equidistant from image .systems whose principal mode of functioning i s either descriptive or symbolic. The imagery of i l l n e s s , which I shall now examine, contains certain structural complexities which relate i t to the organizing or productive images which w i l l be described in the following chapter. Moreover, the images associated with illness (fever, vomiting, delirium, etc.) are inherently descriptive insofar as they carry a biological or physical connotation which permits them to function in the creation of a concrete tonality or texture. Given that the primary function of illness imagery remains thematic, i t is clear that this cluster operates within the'text at more levels than was the case with the system of animal imagery. Like other thematic images, those of illness convey the general concepts of suffering, decay, and death, elements which define man's situation in the world and determine his behaviour and nature: "Malade! Moi aussi, je suis malade! Qu'est-ce que ga veut dire malade? On est tous malades'. Vous aussi vous serez malade et dans pas longtemps par-dessus le marchel" (pp. 129-130). Expressive of the global malfunctioning of the human psyche, illness forms a latent pole of the human temperament whose manifest 27 Only i n the African episode dp animal images function m a purely descriptive manner. 152 content — brutality, aggressiveness, cruelty — i s concentrated and polarized i n the collective h o s t i l i t y that is War: . "... je ne peux pas m'empecher de mettre en doute qu'il en reste d'autres veritables realisations de nos profonds temperaments que l a guerre et l a maladie,ces deux i n f i n i s du cauchemar" (p. 407). In general, images of illness function thematically in a metaphoric manner: the comparison of certain aspects of human activity to a disease or sickness invests that activity with a negative value. Images of illn e s s , therefore, partake of a rhetoric of denunciation by means of which a radical critique of humanity is carried out. The following are but a few of the objects of this attack through imagery: (l) Man's incurable and contagious tendency towards self-deception: "Le delire de mentir et de croire s'attrape comme l a gale" (p. 56); (.2) Man's solitude and alienation and his apparent incapacity to overcome this state of being: "II faudrait savoir pourquoi on s'entete a ne pas guerir de l a solitude" (p. 370); (3) The latent, but always present cruelty of our fellows: "Dans le froid d'-Europe., sous les g r i s a i l l e s pudiques du nord, on ne f a i t , hors les carnages, que soupgonner l a grouillante cruaute de nos freres, mais leur pourriture envahit l a surface des.que les emoustille l a fievre ignoble des tropiques" (p. 113); (4) Man's f u t i l e struggle to flee the ravages of time and death: "Faut se dep§cher, faut pas l a rater sa mort. La maladie, l a misere qui vous disperse les heures, les annees, l'insomnie qui vous barbouille en gris, des journees, des semaines entieres et le cancer qui nous monte deja. peut-etre, meticuleux et saignotant du rectum" (p. 374). 153 Imagery a s s o c i a t e d w i t h i l l n e s s w o u l d appear t h e r e f o r e t o e x p r e s s a s i n g l e v a l u e : t h e n e g a t i v e n a t u r e o f b e i n g - i n - t h e - w o r l d . But as i s o f t e n 28 t h e c a s e i n Voyage, t h e same element may c o n t a i n c o n t r a d i c t o r y c o n n o t a t i o n s . Thus, w h i l e t h e s o l d i e r s a t F l a n d e r s a r e condemned f o r t h e i r m e n t a l i l l n e s s — "une h orde de f o u s v i c i e u x " (p. 37) — t h e p r o t a g o n i s t d i s c o v e r s t h a t such an i l l n e s s , r e a l o r f e i g n e d , o f f e r s a p r a c t i c a l and p o s i t i v e means o f escape f r o m t h e h o r r o r s o f war: " A l o r s j e s u i s tombe malade, f i e v r e u x , r e n d u f o u , q u ' i l s ont e x p l i q u e a, l ' h o p i t a l , p a r l a p e u r . C ' e t a i t p o s s i b l e . La m e i l l e u r e des choses a f a i r e , n ' e s t - c e p a s , quand on e s t dans ce monde, c ' e s t d'en s o r t i r ? Fou ou p a s , peur ou p a s " ( p . 6 l ) . The s i c k n e s s o f t h e w o r l d , t h e r e f o r e , can b e s t be c o u n t e r a c t e d by e s c a p i n g i n t o i l l n e s s and thereby, r e a c h i n g a s t a t e w h i c h p e r m i t s t h e p a t i e n t t o a v o i d c o n f r o n t i n g r e a l i t y . The H o s p i t a l , i n s o f a r as i t p r o t e c t s f r o m t h e r e a l s i c k n e s s w h i c h i s e x i s t e n c e i t s e l f , p r e s e n t s an image o f r e p o s e and t r a n q u i l l i t y : ... decidement j e ne t r o u v a i qu'un s e u l e n d r o i t d e f i n i t i v e m e n t d e s i r a b l e : l ' H 6 p i t a l (p. i h l ) ; Tout l u g u b r e q u * e t a i t l ' h o p i t a l , c ' e t a i t cependant 1 ' e n d r o i t de l a c o l o n i e , l e s e u l ou l ' o n p o u v a i t se s e n t i r un peu o u b l i e , a 1 ' a b r i des hommes du d e h o r s , des c h e f s (p. lU4); Un g e n r e " P a r a d i s T e r r e s t r e " (p. l 4 l ) . To t h e e x t e n t t h a t he w i s h e s t o a v o i d r e a l i t y , t h e p r o t a g o n i s t a c t i v e l y seeks ou t f e v e r s and i l l n e s s , so t h a t he may f i n d s h e l t e r i n t h e h o s p i t a l : Mon d e p a r t pour l a f o r e t , j e ne 1 ' e n v i s a g e a i s p l u s qu'avec d e s e s p o i r e t r e v o l t e e t me p r o m e t t a i s deja. de c o n t r a c t e r . au p l u s t o t , . t o u t e s l e s f i e v r e s q u i p a s s e r a i e n t a, ma p o r t e e ... Des t r u e s j ' en c o n n a i s s a i s deja. et des fameux, pour e t r e malade... (pp. l h k - l k ^ ) . See f o r example t h e i magery o f l i g h t and d a r k n e s s a n a l y s e d i n t h e f o l l o w i n g c h a p t e r . 154 T h i s p o s i t i v e v a l u e a t t r i b u t e d t o images o f i l l n e s s r e s u l t s i n p a r t f r o m t h e r e s p i t e s i c k n e s s p r o v i d e s f r o m t h e boredom and anguish, w h i c h accompany t h e c l e a r and h e a l t h y c o n s c i o u s n e s s . Thus, Bardamu r e f u s e s t o t a k e q u i n i n e f o r h i s i l l n e s s i n t h e A f r i c a n j u n g l e : . " J e p r e f e r a i s r e s t e r s t u p e f i e l a , t r e m b l o t a n t , baveux dans l e s 4 0 ° , que d ' e t r e f o r c e l u c i d e , d ' i m a g i n e r ce q u i m ' a t t e n d a i t a F o r t Gono. J ' e n a r r i v a i s a ne p l u s p r e n d r e de q u i n i n e pour b i e n l a i s s e r l a f i e v r e me c a c h e r l a v i e " ( p . 173). S i m i l a r l y t h e p r o t a g o n i s t — who has t a k e n r e f u g e i n a h o s p i t a l f o r t h e m e n t a l l y d i s t u r b e d , w h i c h he d i r e c t s — f i n d s h i m s e l f s e e k i n g out p h y s i c a l i l l n e s s i n o r d e r t o escape a n g u i s h : "... pour que j e p u i s s e l a r e t r o u v e r un peu c e t t e i n d i f f e r e n c e e t n e u t r a l i s e r mon i n q u i e t u d e a moi e t r e t r o u v e r l a s o t t e e t d i v i n e t r a n q u i l l i t e " ( p . 4 l n ) . The i m agery a s s o c i a t e d w i t h , i l l n e s s p r e s e n t s , t h e r e f o r e , a b a s i c a m b i v a l e n c e w h i c h p e r m i t s i t t o f u n c t i o n , not j u s t as an e x p r e s s i o n o f t h e n o v e l ' s themes, b u t a l s o as a s o u r c e o f t h e work's u n d e r l y i n g o r g a n i z a t i o n o r s t r u c t u r e . T h e m a t i c a l l y , i l l n e s s i s o f f e r r e d as t h e f i g u r a t i v e e q u i v a l e n t o f e x i s t e n c e : .. "Comme l a v i e n ' e s t qu'un d e l i r e t o u t b o u f f i de mensonges. .." (p . 358). War, f o r example, r e p r e s e n t s s i m p l y a h e i g h t e n e d s t a t e o f t h e o r d i n a r y i l l n e s s o f t h e w o r l d : "... l e d e l i r e o r d i n a i r e du monde s ' e t a i t a c c r u d e p u i s q u e l q u e s m o i s . . . " ( p . 87). M o r e o v e r , t h e s t a t e o f i l l n e s s i s seen as a s i n e qua non o f l i f e ' s dynamism, t h e r e f u s a l o f t h e s t a s i s w h i c h accompanies l u c i d i t y : A i n s i p a s s e r e n t des j o u r s e t des j o u r s , j e r e p r e n a i s un peu de s a n t e , mais au- f u r e t a. mesure que j e p e r d a i s mon d e l i r e et. ma f i e v r e dans ce c o n f o r t , l e gout de 1'aventure et des n o u v e l l e s imprudences me r e v i n t i m p e r i e u x . A37° t o u t d e v i e n t b a n a l ( p . 189); . 155 Et ou a l l e r dehors, j e vous l e demande, des qu'on n'a plus en soi l a somme su f f i s a n t e de d e l i r e ? (p. 199)• In t h i s context, i l l n e s s (delirium) can be seen to represent the underlying source of the protagonist's a c t i v i t y , of his quest f o r knowledge. This i s made clear i n Molly's d e s c r i p t i o n of the hero's desire to know as a kind of sickness: . "Vous en etes comme malade de votre d e s i r d'en savoir toujours davantage" (p. 235). The double and contradictory value placed upon i l l n e s s imagery reinforces c e r t a i n s t r u c t u r a l d u a l i t i e s I have noted i n e a r l i e r sections. Just as the protagonist i s simultaneously fascinated and r e p e l l e d by the r e a l i t y he discovers, the sickness which i s f i g u r a t i v e l y i n d e n t i f i e d with l i f e i s invested with a twofold and a n t i t h e t i c a l value: i l l n e s s i s a state which i s both h o r r i b l e and seductive, i n t o l e r a b l e yet necessary. Thus, while functioning mainly i n a thematic manner to i l l u s t r a t e e s s e n t i a l concepts, the images of i l l n e s s lead us towards the question of the s t r u c t u r i n g r o l e of imagery i n the novel. I l l u s t r a t i v e of a formal dualism which we have already seen to be present i n both the narrative and thematic structures of the t e x t , the paradox contained i n the i l l n e s s imagery obliges us to examine i n more d e t a i l the organizing function of imagery i n the t e x t . Such w i l l be the object of the following chapter. 156 CHAPTER III GENERATIVE AND SYMBOLIC IMAGERY: THE JOURNEY AND THE NIGHT Remarquons done que 1*etablissement du texte moderne se reconnait notamment a, ce qu'il metamorphose les traditionnelles procedures expressives en moyens de production: agencements generateurs ou organisateurs... 29 - Jean Ricardou At the beginning of this section I postulated a threefold functioning of imagery in the novel. Images appear to function i n the following ways: (a) as naturalistic or descriptive elements of the text ( l i t e r a l function); (b) as vehicles of, abstract concepts or themes (figurative function); (c) as clusters or systems which through recurrence and symbolic associations help to organize the novel into a unified and coherent whole (symbolic or generative function). A l l the imagery which I am examining may well partake in some measure of a l l three of the above modes. Nevertheless, by distinguishing the dominant function of each image cluster I have f e l t j u s t i f i e d i n affirming the presence of a specific structure of imagery in the text. Thus far I have looked at imagery which operates primarily in either the descriptive or thematic mode. In the present chapter I w i l l discuss two image systems which function "La Bataille de l a phrase", Critique, No. 274 (1970), pp. 226-227. 157 primarily as organizing or productive elements: the imagery related to Journey and to Night. The privileged status accorded to these two images results from a number of factors which I w i l l present b r i e f l y and then go on to discuss i n detail:' F i r s t l y , we shall see that these images occupy a v i t a l place i n the pre-anecdotal fragments of the text, a positioning which permits the images to share i n the generative activity of these fragments. Secondly, I w i l l demonstrate how the profound associative and symbolic power of these images permits them to assimilate large numbers of related images and endows them therefore with the status of kernel or core image (archetype). Moreover, i t w i l l be shown that these images also function i n a dynamic manner on the descriptive and thematic levels. As creators of a concrete text and vehicles of a specific content, their role is extremely important. The images of the Journey and the Night are, so to speak, globally operational: that i s , they function i n so varied and all-encompassing a manner that their absence from the text would deprive i t of the bases of both i t s formal and significant structures. Let us now look at the specific components of these global operations. The Generative Function: T i t l e and Epigraph The capacity of these images to organize the text results i n part from their prominent position within the pre-anecdotal fragments of the novel: the t i t l e and the epigraph. The t i t l e of the novel, by placing the two images in the i n i t i a l and f i n a l positions, is emblematic of the a l l -inclusive role and functioning of the imagery. Similarly, the epigraph 1 5 8 (the "Chanson des Gardes Suisses"). places the Journey and the Night images int o prominence: Notre v i e est un voyage Dans l ' h i v e r et dans l a Nuit Nous cherchons notre passage Dans l e C i e l ou r i e n ne l u i t (p. 5 ) . T r a d i t i o n a l l y these fragments would be seen as i l l u s t r a t i o n s , as adornments which express the work's substance. But following a contemporary c r i t i c a l outlook, i t i s also quite possible to regard these fragments as kernels (generative elements) from which the text w i l l receive the p r i n c i p l e s of i t s development. From t h i s point of view, the t i t l e and epigraph are held to function as producers or generators of the text which follows: "Mais supposons qu'au l i e u de survenir apres coup selon une posture i l l u s t r a t i v e , l e fragment serve de precis programme thematique. Alors l e p r i n c i p e de l'epigraphe y s 30 est transform! en r o l e generateur de f i c t i o n . " The t i t l e and epigraph may therefore present e s s e n t i a l elements which w i l l be developed throughout the t e x t . The epigraph of our text, f o r example, endows the Journey with a s p e c i a l status by equating the image with the t o t a l i t y of existence: "Notre v i e est un voyage". S i m i l a r l y Night, and i t s seasonal equivalent Winter, are i d e n t i f i e d with the medium i n which existence takes place: Night i s the space i n which our l i v e s develop, the place i n which we are obliged to f i n d "notre passage". The epigraph therefore presents the f i r s t and perhaps fundamental dualism which structures the text — that of a subjective (the l i f e of the hero seen as journey and as search) and an objective (the presence of the world seen as night, as winter, as the " C i e l ou r i e n ne l u i t " ) r e a l i t y . Jean Ricardou, "La B a t a i l l e de l a phrase", pp. 229-230. 159 Given the extreme generality of application which the t i t l e and epigraph confer upon the images of Night and Journey, i t is clear that this imagery is•endowed from the beginning with a special status. To the extent that these fragments constitute in themselves a "texte du depart dont chaque terme, systematiquement, se trouve repris et travaille par l a f i c t i o n 31 subsequente"". the imagery they contain can be viewed in turn as essential organizing elements of the text which follows. Symbol and Archetype I am postulating a special status for the imagery of the Journey and the Night. These two image systems appear to constitute the core of under-lying deep structural elements from which the text may be said to be secreted 32 . . . or generated. We have just observed that the positioning of these images within the pre-fictional fragments (the t i t l e and the epigraph) confers upon them a potential for such a productive function. It -seems clear, however, that this potential could not be realized unless the images were to possess a sufficient symbolic (connotative and associative) charge to allow them to support this polysemous and complexly structured text. In short, these images must be universal enough in their symbolic force to account for and contain the numerous images, structures and meanings which the text may reveal. They must therefore possess the capacity to unify and universalize complex, varied and particular experiences, a capacity sometimes associated Ricardou, op. c i t . , p. 230. In more conventional terms, these images may be viewed as the principal organizing and unifying elements of the text. i6o 33 with the class of symbols known as archetypes. T im ge the Journey would app ar to possess the u n i v e r s a l symbolic power required to play a primary s t r u c t u r a l r o l e i n the elaboration of the text. The presentation of the image i n the fragments themselves suggests t h i s u n i v e r s a l i t y . The t i t l e , Voyage au bout.de l a n u i t , by excluding a r e s t r i c t i n g d e f i n i t e a r t i c l e indicates the general and generalizable nature of the image. The epigraph, f o r i t s part, e x p l i c i t l y proposes the broadest i n t e r p r e t a t i o n possible of the journey imagery: tihe journey i s equivalent to l i f e i t s e l f ("Notre v i e est un voyage"). Consequently, a l l the complexities, v i c i s s i t u d e s , pleasure, and so on which existence o f f e r s can ( t h e o r e t i c a l l y ) i n some way be l i n k e d to t h i s basic image. This u n i v e r s a l connotative power conferred upon the image by the . . . 34 fragments i s confirmed by t r a d i t i o n a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of the image. Some of the conventional associations a t t r i b u t e d to the journey image seem p a r t i c u l a r l y relevant to the text we are studying. Thus the journey i s usually l i n k e d with the quest, motif, with the search f o r a purer, transcendent state: "Le symbolisme du voyage, particulierement r i c h e , se resume toutefois dans l a quete de l a v e r i t e , de l a paix, de 1'immortalite, dans l a recherche * -35 et l a decouverte d'un centre s p i r i t u e l A c l o s e l y r e l a t e d aspect of the journey symbol involves a series of obstacles, or t r i a l s which the hero must . confront and overcome i n order to succeed i n h i s quest, i n order to be 36 i n i t i a t e d i n t o the world of understanding and t r u t h . On a more i n d i v i d u a l 33 "Archetypes are as s o c i a t i v e c l u s t e r s and d i f f e r from signs i n being complex v a r i a b l e s . Within the complex i s often a large number of s p e c i f i c learned associations which are communicable..." (N. Frye, Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m , p. 102). ^ Jean Chevalier and A l a i n Gheerbrant, Dictionnaire des Symboles (Paris, 1969), pp. 813-814. 3 5 Ibid-.,p. 813. 3 6 Ibid...,p. 8l4. 161 and psychological l e v e l , the journey may also express a deep d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the s e l f and a need to transform one's inner being: "Le voyage exprime un des i r profond de changement i n t e r i e u r , un besoin d'experiencesnouvelles, - 37 plus encore que de deplacement local'.",. We have seen i n preceding chapters that such a t t r i b u t e s of the journey image are indeed present i n the novel. Bardamu's early adventur.es consist of a series of journeys undertaken i n the hope of a t t a i n i n g to a knowledge and understanding of the world. Moreover, these adventures are presented as c o n f l i c t s or t e s t s which permit the hero to pass from a state of naive i l l u s i o n to one of l u c i d awareness which permits only a "savoir hargneux des choses" (p. 463), and allows the i n i t i a t e to see things as they r e a l l y are. But i f the journey image i n the novel c l e a r l y presents the general 38 structure of the i n i t i a t i n g quest of the hero of Romance, the treatment of t h i s archetypal process i s i r o n i c and modern. Both the hero and the object of his quest remain problematical. The hero seems unable to define the ultimate goal of h i s quest — "a, l a recherche de je ne sais quoi" (p. 229). Consequently, he refuses a possible source of s a l v a t i o n , the " f a i r damsel" Molly (a p r o s t i t u t e ! ) , i n the name of a vague goal l y i n g somewhere at the end of the night: ... comme s i je voulais tout garder pour je ne sais quoi de magnifique, de sublime, pour plus ta r d , mais pas pour Molly... Comme s i l a v i e a l l a i t emporter, me cacher ce que je voulais savoir d ' e l l e , de l a v i e au fond du n o i r . . . (p. 231). 3 7 Ibid.,., p. 81 k. 3 ^ See I . Frye, Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m , pp. 187-190. 162 Despite t h i s i r o n i c a l and perhaps even parodical treatment of the quest motif, there i s no doubt that as a structuring p r i n c i p l e the journey archetype plays a fundamental r o l e i n the t e x t . I t o f f e r s a formal framework for the en t i r e narrative, a framework from which the actions, themes, and images of the work develop o r g a n i c a l l y , and by means of which the novel atta i n s a greater measure of unity and coherence. The image of the Night appears capable also of bearing the symbolic weight necessary f o r i t to function as an organizing p r i n c i p l e of the t e x t . The ( t h e o r e t i c a l l y ) productive fragments again support t h i s a l l - i n c l u s i v e status. The presence of the d e f i n i t e . a r t i c l e i n the t i t l e ("la nuit") indicates i n t h i s case a tendency towards ge n e r a l i z a t i o n . In addition, the epigraph, as we saw e a r l i e r , invests Night with the capacity to represent the complex external world through which'the journey i s effected. This ge n e r a l i z a t i o n of the image i s confirmed by t r a d i t i o n a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of 39 the symbol: " E l l e est r i c h e de toutes l e s v i r t u a l i t e s de l'existence". The most immediate associations with the imagery of Night are notions we have already observed to be e s s e n t i a l to the novel's thematic s i g n i f i c a n c e : Death., emptiness, nothingness, e v i l , anguish, and so on. Moreover the image, l i k e many symbols, may associate contrasting functions: "Comme tout symbole, l a nuit elle-meme presente un double aspect, c e l u i des tenebres ou fermente l e devenir et c e l u i de l a preparation du jour, ou j a i l l i r a l a lumiere de l a v i e . ' " ^ Thus, Night imagery, following the s t r u c t u r a l p r i n c i p l e of binary opposition, c a l l s into existence imagery of l i g h t (day). Consequently, the 39 . . i D i c t i o n n a i r e des Symboles, p.. 545. k 0 Ibid,.,p. 545. 163 imagery goes beyond a simple representation and u n i f i c a t i o n of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the external world. Night imagery i m p l i c i t l y involves the c y c l i c a l nature of existence and thereby integrates the formal narrative (whose c y c l i c a l pattern we observed i n Part I) into the human (sleeping and waking, conscious and unconscious), the solar (night and day), and the seasonal cycl e s . As such, the Night imagery p a r a l l e l s that of the Journey as a s t r u c t u r i n g p r i n c i p l e working to generate, organize, and unify the formal and s i g n i f i c a n t l e v e l s of the t e x t . A s s o c i a t i v e Clusters Le sens (ou l a fonction) d'un element de l'oeuvre, c'est sa p o s s i b i l i t e d'entrer en c o r r e l a t i o n avec d'autres elements de cette oeuvre et avec l'oeuvre entiere. kl - Tzvetan Todorov The combination of the generative p o t e n t i a l of the pre-anecdotal fragments and the capacity of the images of the Journey and the Night to operate.as u n i v e r s a l symbols endows t h i s imagery with the p o s s i b i l i t y of functioning as fundamental str u c t u r i n g elements of the narrative, as 1+2 organizers and producers of the t e x t . From t h i s point of view the work appears to be i n a sense determined by the simple presence and p o s i t i o n i n g of these images. ^ "Les categories du r e c i t l i t t e r aire".. Communications 8 (1966), p. 125. 1+2 C l e a r l y I am following here a c r i t i c a l p o s i t i o n that invests the constituent elements of the text — i n t h i s case i t s imagery — with a great deal of autonomy and dynamism. I have adopted t h i s p o s i t i o n to the extent that the text seems to authorize me to do so. While eschewing the p i t f a l l s of the " i n t e n t i o n a l f a l l a c y " , . I would not go so f a r as to deny the r<51e played by a u t h o r i a l choice and by a c o n t r o l l i n g v i s i o n of r e a l i t y . The s t y l i s t i c p a r t i c u l a r i t i e s of the e c r i t u r e celinienne, f o r example, s t r i k e me as the 164 As a f i n a l s t e p i n my d e m o n s t r a t i o n o f t h e s p e c i a l s t a t u s c o n f e r r e d by t h e t e x t upon t h e s e images, I w i l l t u r n my a t t e n t i o n t o t h e i r a c t u a l o p e r a t i o n , as image s y s t e m s , w i t h i n t h e n o v e l . These c o r e images l i e each a t t h e c e n t r e o f a c l u s t e r o f c l o s e l y r e l a t e d images w h i c h t a k e n t o g e t h e r f o r m a k i n d o f c o n s t e l l a t i o n . The r e p e t i t i o n and r e c u r r e n c e o f t h e c o r e images t h r o u g h o u t t h e t e x t t r a n s f o r m them i n t o s t r u c t u r a l e l e m e n t s , l i n k i n g d i f f e r e n t passages o f t h e t e x t and u l t i m a t e l y u n i f y i n g t h e s e passages t h r o u g h t h e i r d i r e c t o r i n d i r e c t a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h a s i n g l e c o r e image. To t h e e x t e n t t h a t t h e elements o f t h e s e c o n s t e l l a t i o n s i n t u r n e n t e r i n t o an a s s o c i a t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h d i v e r s e elements o f t h e t e x t , a second s t a g e o f e x p a n s i o n t a k e s p l a c e . I w i l l t e r m i n a t e t h i s s t u d y by an e x a m i n a t i o n o f some o f t h e s e p r i m a r y and s e c o n d a r y a s s o c i a t i o n s , whose p r i n c i p a l e f f e c t i s ' t o u n d e r l i n e and s t r e n g t h e n t h e o r g a n i c u n i t y and co h e r e n c e o f t h e t e x t . The J o u r n e y C l u s t e r I am e m p h a s i z i n g i n t h i s c h a p t e r t h e i m p o r t a n c e o f J o u r n e y and N i g h t i m a g e r y , whose p r i n c i p a l f u n c t i o n a p p ears t o be t h e o r g a n i z a t i o n and p r o d u c t i o n o f t h e t e x t as a c o h e r e n t w h o l e . L i k e t h e o t h e r images I have been a n a l y z i n g i n t h i s s e c t i o n , however, t h e c o r e images (and t h e i r r e l a t e d c l u s t e r s ) f u n c t i o n b o t h l i t e r a l l y as c r e a t o r s o f a c o n c r e t e t e x t and f i g u r a t i v e l y as v e h i c l e s o f t h e n o v e l ' s themes. Thus, i n t h i s d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e o p e r a t i o n s o f t h e k e r n e l image c o n s t e l l a t i o n s w i t h i n t h e t e x t , one may w e l l e x p e c t t o d i s c o v e r a t h r e e f o l d mode o f f u n c t i o n i n g . p r o d u c t s o f a c o n s c i o u s a r t i s t i c choice'. What I am e x a m i n i n g i n t h e p r e s e n t i n s t a n c e a r e p r e c i s e l y t h o s e elements o f s t y l e and s t r u c t u r e w h i c h r e s u l t not f r o m c h o i c e b u t r a t h e r f r o m t h e autonomous power o f words. 165 An example of t h i s t r i p l e operation upon the text may.be found i n the Journey image i t s e l f . We h.ave already•seen that the image i s t h e o r e t i c a l l y capable of conveying any number of themes in s o f a r as i t has been metaphorically assimilated to the global notion of existence: "Notre v i e est un voyage". In addition, I have noted that the Journey possesses a symbolic u n i v e r s a l i t y which allows i t to function as a fundamental str u c t u r i n g element of the narrative: the narrative as guest and as i n i t i a t i o n . It i s consequently not s u r p r i s i n g to discover that the image operates also at the l i t e r a l or anecdotal l e v e l . Indeed, on t h i s l i t e r a l l e v e l the journey image appears to constitute an important component of the protagonist's concrete experience. Bardamu's existence i s i n f a c t characterized by a series of physical displacements: (a) Place Clichy to Flanders; return to P a r i s ; (b) Paris to A f r i c a Con the Amiral Bragueton); Fort-Gono to Topo; to the Hut and on to San Tapeta; Cc) A f r i c a to America (on the Infanta Combitta); New York to D e t r o i t ; (d) the return to P a r i s . In the second h a l f of the novel the journeys become fewer and.rarely take the hero outside P a r i s , except of course for the t r i p to Toulouse. Nevertheless, several short t r i p s do take Bardamu from one part of Paris to another: Ca) the various v i s i t s to patients; Cb) the journey to the L e f t Bank i n order to seek medical advice at the I n s t i t u t Bioduret Joseph; Cc) the v i s i t s to the f a i r , and to the Tarapout theatre; 166 (d) the taking up of residence i n the A s i l e at Vigny-sur-Seine, and the f i n a l f a t a l journey to the f a i r at Ba t i g n o l l e s . I have discussed i n e a r l i e r sections the narrative and thematic importance of these journeys. My purpose i n l i s t i n g them here was simply to underline the-importance of the d e s c r i p t i v e function of the journey image, i t s e s s e n t i a l r o l e i n the elaboration of the anecdote. Let us now look at some of the p r i n c i p a l elements of the image c l u s t e r l i n k e d to the journey image. It w i l l . b e r e c a l l e d that these secondary images serve i n a sense as intermediaries between the core image and the context i n which they are found. Insofar as these secondary images depend upon the pre-existence of the kernel archetype i n order to s i g n i f y f u l l y , they (and by extension t h e i r contexts) are i n a very r e a l sense the products of the generative operations of the kernel image. "Vessels, Roadways, and Movement ' The system or c l u s t e r of imagery which develops from, or i s generated by, the image of the Journey may be divided i n t o two main categories: (a) images which define the objects by means of which the journey i s effected: the vessels which transport the protagonist and the roadways upon which he t r a v e l s ; (b) images which describe the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s or modalities of the journeying: images of movement and by extension (rather, by the s t r u c t u r a l p r i n c i p l e of binary opposition) images of immobility. These two categories r e f l e c t the objective and the subjective elements of the Journey, the. means by which and the way i n which the journeys are c a r r i e d out. The subjective element (images of movement) may be r e l a t e d to the inner, psychological world of the voyageur, while the objective element 167 r e f l e c t s the external world which, he encounters. Vessels By t h e i r status as structured objects, the various vessels appearing i n the text are associated with events or phenomena of a c e r t a i n complexity such as the war, a "bateau de feu" (p. 65).^3 Because of t h e i r l i m i t e d si z e and i s o l a t e d p o s i t i o n , vessels can c l a r i f y the amorphous chaos of existence and reveal the precise contours of the event: "Sur l e bateau ga se discerne mieux cette presse, alors c'est plus genant..." (p. 116). Vessels may therefore e x i s t either as concrete containers of r e a l i t y or as f i g u r a t i v e representations of t h i s r e a l i t y . The novel presents three main types of v e s s e l : l e navire, l e bateau and l a galere. These three species correspond to the three functions I have postulated f o r imagery: l i t e r a l ( d e s c r i p t i v e ) , f i g u r a t i v e (thematic), and symbolic (generative). The image of the navire, for example, functions p r i n c i p a l l y as a d e s c r i p t i v e element and appears to be r e l a t i v e l y devoid of thematic or symbolic s i g n i f i c a n c e . I t s primary r o l e i s to concretize the anecdote, to operate in s i d e the f r o n t i e r s of the story ( f i c t i o n ) : "Notre navire avait nom: 1 'Amiral Bragueton" (p. 112); " I I e t a i t d i f f i c i l e d'etre aussi peu que moi sur l e navire tout en y demeurant" (p. 116); "Dans cette s t a b i l i t e desesperante de chaleur tout l e contenu humain du navire s'est coagule dans une massive ivrognerie" .(p. 112); "Quand l a mer emporte ses derniers navires... Quand Monmouth se met a. penser pour l a ^ 3 I n c i d e n t a l l y here we have an excellent example of an organizational functioning of the imagery, since the f i r e image i t s e l f belongs, as we s h a l l see, to the image c l u s t e r r e l a t e d to Night. This j u x t a p o s i t i o n functions both to underline the importance of the s p e c i f i c context and to create a c e r t a i n t e x t u a l unity by l i n k i n g t h i s and s i m i l a r contexts to one another as w e l l as to the productive sources of the work. 168 premiere f o i s " (pp. 426-427). The navire is a simple container of reality, a concretizing element of the anecdote. Essentially a l i t e r a l image, the navire attains to a symbolic potential only when juxtaposed with a vessel image such, as le bateau which can function figuratively: "... on apercevait les gros quais d'ombre des f o r t i f s qui s'avancent hauts dans l a nuit pour attendre des bateaux de s i loin, des s i nobles navires, qu'on en verra jamais des bateaux, comme ga. C'est sur. On les espere" (p. 343). The theme of the impossibility of an authentic escape from reality which the images convey here is carried mainly by the "bateaux" which do function actively on the thematic lev e l . While the navire is essentially a l i t e r a l image, the galere i n contrast functions almost entirely in a symbolic, productive manner. The symbolic charge associated with this image results in part from i t s anachronistic status: the galere belongs, in the modern world, to the universe of imagination and of myth. Its invocation in a modern context, therefore, is almost necessarily symbolic. Thus, with i t s hierarchical structure and i t s division into the captains and the rowers (the powerful and the weak), the galere symbolizes the structure of social reality, the division of the world into two classes: the rich and the poor, the exploiters and the exploited. Moreover, the presentation of the image at the beginning of the narrative invests the symbol with a productive capacity, in that the succeeding events w i l l constitute simply a development and confirmation of this core image of society: ... mais enfin on est tous assis sur une grande galere... On est en has dans les eales a, souffler de l a gueule, puants, suintants des rouspignolles, et puis voila'. En haut sur le pont, au f r a i s , i l y a les maitres et qui s'en font pas, avec des' 169 . b e l l e s femmes roses et gonflees de parfums sur les genoux (p. 13). The image of the galere reappears as the vessel which transports the d e l i r i o u s protagonist to America. Here the image reaffirms i t s p o s i t i o n as an organizing element of the text i n that i t continues to function as a kind of s o c i a l a l l e g o r y . The image presents a v i s i o n of society i n miniature, a society characterized by the passive, conformist nature of the many who allow themselves to be v i c t i m i z e d i n return f o r a minimum of comfort and the i l l u s i o n of p a r t i c i p a t i o n : Sur 1'Infanta Combitta on b o u f f a i t pas mal, on l e s t r i q u a i t un peu l e s copains, mais pas trop,' et en somme ga pouvait a l l e r . C'etait du boulot moyen. Et puis sublime avantage, on l e s renvoyait jamais de l a galere et meme que l e Roi leur avait promis... une espece de p e t i t e r e t r a i t e . Cette perspective l e s rendait heureux, ga leur donnait de quoi rever et l e dimanche pour se se n t i r l i b r e s , au surplus, i l s jouaient a. voter (p. 185). The bateau image appears to occupy the mid-point, i n terms of i t s functioning, between the d e s c r i p t i v e navire and the symbolic galere. While indeed the images of bateaux may at times appear only to denote a kk concrete referent and thus lack any s i g n i f i c a n t f i g u r a t i v e dynamism, f o r the most part the image functions (metaphorically) to express themes. Thus the emptiness and gradual decay which characterizes the l i v e s of the majority are embodied i n a boat metaphor: "C'est en douce q u ' i l s voyagent sur l a v i e d'un jour a. 1'autre sans se f a i r e remarquer, dans l ' h 6 t e l comme dans un bateau qui s e r a i t pourri un peu et puis p l e i n de trous et qu'on l e sau r a i t " (p. 351). A si m i l a r f i g u r a t i v e presentation of the image, wherein . "Des f i l e s de negres, sur l a r i v e , trimaient a l a c h i c o t t e , en t r a i n de decharger, cale apres.cale, l e s bateaux jamais vides..." (p. 129); • "H nous apportait toujours de l a glace l u i , volee evidemment p a r - c i , p a r - l a , sur les bateaux a. quai" (p. 136). 170 the Henrouille's house i s compared to a ve s s e l , conveys the themes of the f u t i l i t y of human projects and the fear-motivated struggle f o r material s e c u r i t y which characterize the p a v i l i o n of the Henrouille family: ".... on se sentait chez eux comme dans un bateau, une espece de bateau qui i r a i t d'une crainte a. l ' a u t r e . Des passagers renfermes et qui passaient longtemps a. f a i r e des projets plus t r i s t e s encore que l a v i e et des economies aussi et puis a se mefier de "la lumiere et aussi de l a n u i t " (pp. 322-323). S i g n i f i c a n t l y we f i n d i n the preceding example yet another j u x t a p o s i t i o n of elements of the two core image c l u s t e r s : . "bateau/passagers" and "nuit/ lumiere".. This contiguous r e l a t i o n s h i p serves to underline the deep unity of the novel's symbolic structure. .Moreover, the preceding example demonstrates the structuring p o t e n t i a l of these images which help compose one of the two core c o n s t e l l a t i o n s . For c l e a r l y the thematic function of the bateau image can be extended to an organizing function insofar as the various and disparate themes that the image conveys are united p r e c i s e l y by t h e i r a s s o c i a t i o n with a member of one of the two fundamental image systems. Roadway Imagery Images which designate the various "ways" (les voies) upon which the journey takes place constitute a second c l u s t e r d i r e c t l y r e l a t e d to the core symbol of the journey. Whereas vessel imagery presented the phenomena of the external world i n , so to speak, t h e i r v e r t i c a l i t y (their existence as objects or constructs), the roadway imagery underlines the h o r i z o n t a l ^ See the comparison previously noted (p.167) of War to a "bateau de feu". 171 dimension of the journey, i t s . u n f o l d i n g within the l i m i t s and influence of space and time. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , t h i s c l u s t e r l i k e that of ves s e l imagery contains three primary images, corresponding to the three l e v e l s of functioning I have already posited: the de s c r i p t i v e ( l a rue), the symbolic ( l a route) and a middle term (,le chemin) which, while e s s e n t i a l l y thematic i n i t s operations, partakes f u l l y of the other two functions. La rue In accordance with i t s normal semantic status, l a rue functions usually as a concrete element of the anecdote. The streets of P a r i s , New York, and Fort-Gono constitute a part of the ph y s i c a l decor within which the anecdote develops. However, so strong i s the as s o c i a t i v e p o t e n t i a l conferred upon t h i s every-day image-through i t s kinship with the journey c o n s t e l l a t i o n that i t s normal d e s c r i p t i v e function s l i d e s r e g u l a r l y into the realm of the f i g u r a t i v e . Consequently, an inocuous actio n , such as changing d i r e c t i o n s i n downtown New York, i s invested, by means of the ass o c i a t i v e power of the imagery, with symbolic resonances that transform the a c t i o n into the representation of a global psychological and even metaphysical state. The following i s an example of such a symbolic transformation: "Comme s i j'avais su ou j ' a l l a i s , j ' a i eu l ' a i r de c h o i s i r encore et j ' a i change de route, j ' a i p r i s sur ma droite une autre rue, mieux e c l a i r e e , "Broadway" qu'elle s'appelait" (p. 192). ^ Again we f i n d the ju x t a p o s i t i o n of elements ("rue/eclairee") of the two core c o n s t e l l a t i o n s i n the same context. 172 While apparently operative on the d e s c r i p t i v e l e v e l only, t h i s imagery, by as s o c i a t i o n , suggests f o r example the fundamental deroute of the protagonist. Imprisoned i n h i s condition, unable to make an authentic choice ("Comme s i j'ayais su ou j ' a l l a i s , j ' a i eu 1 ' a i r de c h o i s i r encore..."), yet obliged to give himself the i l l u s i o n of change ("j'ai change de route"), the protagonist searches out diversions (which may - be interpreted i n a Pascalian sense) on Broadway s t r e e t , the focus of t h e a t r i c a l a c t i v i t y i n the c i t y . I t 'should be noted that the presence of the normally more abstract and f i g u r a t i v e term "route" supports t h i s symbolic reading of the passage and, by j u x t a p o s i t i o n , a s s i s t s the image of the street to operate beyond i t s customary d e s c r i p t i v e l e v e l . As the novel progresses t h i s symbolic p o t e n t i a l c a r r i e d by l a rue i s a c t u a l i z e d i n a more e x p l i c i t fashion. In connection, f o r example, with h i s r e f u s a l to accept the death of the c h i l d Bebert, Bardamu c l e a r l y confers upon the image a symbolic and even a l l e g o r i c a l dimension: "Le cimetiere, un autre encore, a cote, et puis l e boulevard de l a Revolte. I I monte avec toutes ses lampes d r o i t et large en p l e i n dans l a n u i t . Y a qu'a suivre, w a, gauche. C'etait ma rue" (p. 287). A f i g u r a t i v e dimension to the image may also be conferred by associating the street with some conventional source of symbolic meaning, such as the B i b l e . In t h i s way, the street i s transformed into the space which a l l men must occupy "au jugement dernier qui se passera dans l a rue..." (p. 350). By means therefore of i t s a s s o c i a t i o n with t e x t u a l and conventional symbols, the rue may come to represent the We see again the j u x t a p o s i t i o n of elements of both the Journey and the Night c o n s t e l l a t i o n s . 173 the space within which, a l l existence is contained, and upon which a l l must voyage. The rue is thereby identified with the cosmos and invested with an anagogic or i n f i n i t e status: C'est pas l a peine de se debattre, attendre ga s u f f i t , puisque tout doit f i n i r par y passer dans l a rue. Elle seule compte au fond. Rien a dire. Elle nous attend. Faudra qu'on y descende dans l a rue, qu'on se decide, pas un, pas deux, pas trois d'entre nous, mais tous. On est la, devant a faire des manieres et des chichis, mais ga viendra (p. 350). This example of the sliding of an essentially descriptive image into the realm of the apocalyptic (the i n f i n i t e and eternal) demonstrates clearly both the polysemous nature of the text and the actualization of the symbolic potential of an image resulting principally from i t s association with a generative archetype or symbol, in this case that of the Journey. La Route Less rooted i n a semantic concreteness than imagery of the street, l a route normally functions i n an abstract, symbolic manner. When, for example, Bardamu expresses his regret at not having encountered Molly earlier in l i f e , the route image figures the global orientation of an individual destiny: "Ah', s i je l'avais rencontree plus tot, Molly, quand i l etait encore temps de prendre une route au l i e u d'une autre!" (p. 229). The clearly symbolic function of this image i s indicated by the insistance with which i t i s presented as a figure not just of a single destiny, but of the universal fate of man, of his condemnation to decay and dissolution, kd For a description of the anagogical mode, see N. Frye, The Anatomy of  Criticism, pp. 119-128. the irrevocable consequences of his.journey i n Time: Accepter l e temps,ce tableau de nous. On peut dir e a l o r s . . . qu'on ne s ' e t a i t pas trompe de chemin, qu'on av a i t bien suivi.; l a v r a i e route, sans s'etre concert!, 1'immanquable route... l a route de l a p o u r r i t u r e . Et v o i l a ' t o u t (p. 77). Two s t r u c t u r a l aspects of the above example may be mentioned i n passing. F i r s t , the passage brings the theme of decay ("pourriture"), and the r e l a t e d themes of d i s s o l u t i o n and death, into a coherent and organic r e l a t i o n s h i p with the fundamental s t r u c t u r i n g elements of the text (the core images). Second, the passage confers upon the image of " l e chemin" — which I w i l l examine next — an i m p l i c i t symbolic charge, by reason of i t s contiguous r e l a t i o n s h i p to the c l e a r l y symbolic image of the "route". This f a t a l progression along the route of time seems i n a l t e r a b l e ; perhaps only s u i c i d e , or the impossible wisdom which would allow one to "s' a r r e t e r p i l e sur l a route du temps" (p. 284) can remedy man's condition. F a i l i n g t h i s , one can, l i k e Parapine, follow " l a route du s i l e n c e " (p. 4l6); i n any case, the Journey must and w i l l go on, and the narrator i s obliged to "continuer sa route tout seul, dans l a n u i t " (p. 37l) .^ 9 Le Chemin Like the bateau of the v e s s e l imagery, the image of l e chemin appears to mark a mid-point between the concrete and symbolic functioning of images of the "way". ' The "chemins qui vont n u l l e part" (p. 17) and the "chemins inconnus a l a l i s i e r e des hameaux evacu!s" (p. 27) are p r i m a r i l y instances of the concrete operation of the image. Nevertheless, a c e r t a i n f i g u r a t i v e 49 • I t a l i c s mine. Again we see the j u x t a p o s i t i o n of the novel s two p r i n c i p a l image systems. 175 weight i s c l e a r l y present even here since the aimlessness of the roads and t h e i r u n f a m i l i a r i t y may be seen to designate the f u t i l i t y of war and the sense of being l o s t i n a world of b r u t a l i t y and death. As a simple f i g u r e of speech, the use of l e chemin i s conventional and even banal: "... l ' i d e e f i t son chemin..."- (p. 113); "Je l e [ l ' h S p i t a l ] retrouvais partout sur mon chemin" (p. 132). Despite the c l i c h e status, t h i s f i g u r a t i v e u t i l i z a t i o n of the image does serve to r e l a t e the abstract (l*idee) to the concrete and helps to uni f y the work by asso c i a t i n g an important thematic image c l u s t e r ( l 1 H 6 p i t a l / l a Maladie) with the core image system.^ The image of l e chemin may also function i n a purely symbolic manner, thus affirming i t s r e l a t i o n s h i p with the Journey archetype. I have already noted an example of t h i s global symbolization i n connection with route imagery (p. 77). The image of the chemin may, f o r example, suggest the metaphysical emptiness of existence: "II s u f f i t desormais de bouffer un peu, de se f a i r e un peu de chaleur et de dormir l e plus qu'on peut sur l e chemin de r i e n du tout" (p. 448). F i n a l l y , the image may be d i r e c t l y assimilated into the quest motif and thereby function i n a t o t a l l y symbolic (archetypal) manner: "Enfin, ga doit etre votre chemin a vous... Par l a , tout s e u l . . . C'est l e voyageur s o l i t a i r e qui va l e plus l o i n . . . " (p. 235). Movement To r e c a p i t u l a t e t h i s discussion of journey imagery, I have suggested that t h i s symbol provides a dynamic framework from which many, i f not a l l , ^ In a s i m i l a r fashion, the theme of escape i s assimilated into the basic image system through i t s a s s o c i a t i o n with road imagery: "Chacun possede ses raisons pour s'evader de sa misere intime et chacun de nous pour y parvenir emprunte aux circonstances quelque ingenieux chemin" (p. 4 l 6 ) . 176 of the work's s i g n i f i c a n t structures are derived, or- generated. The journey imagery and i t s associated images form a system or network which tranches out from t h i s basic framework and recurs i n varying contexts throughout the work. These contexts are thereby r e l a t e d to one another and the coherence and unity of the.work are thus r e i n f o r c e d . The dynamic element conferred upon the text by t h i s imagery of the Journey i s l i n k e d to the development of the story i n time and space. The imagery of vessels and roadways, f o r example, suggests that a d i r e c t , l i n e a r progressions characterizes the journey of the protagonist. The t i t l e .("Voyage au bout..."). and the epigraph .("Nous cherchons notre passage...") seem to support the notion of a r e c t i l i n e a r quest:, the protagonist would thus be moving gradually but d i r e c t l y towards his f i n a l goal, the "bout de l a nuit".. This concept of a l i n e a r journey c o n f l i c t s , however, with both the pattern of c i r c u l a r r e p e t i t i o n noted i n Part I of t h i s study and the double attitu d e of the protagonist towards h i s quest'' 1 which I have remarked upon frequently i n the course of t h i s a n a l y s i s . By examining the precise nature of movement i n the t e x t , I hope to resolve t h i s apparent c o n f l i c t and more c l e a r l y define the function and the dynamics of the Journey symbol i n the novel. A close perusal of imagery d i r e c t l y r e l a t e d to the nature of motion i n the text indicates that progress i n the Journey i s neither d i r e c t nor continuous but rather oblique and p e r i o d i c . Movement alternates with immobility. From t h i s viewpoint, l i f e i s held to consist of a series of ^ "Somme toute, j ' e t a i s i n t r i g u e et empoisonne en meme temps" (p. 310). 177 f u t i l e projects to move ahead,, "projets qui toujours avortent" .Cp. 199). Since these e f f o r t s r e s u l t only i n "avortons de.bonheur" (p. 377)» the forward impulse i s checked and a period of immobility sets i n , to be followed i n turn by equally f u t i l e e f f o r t s to "se recommencer un bonheur" (p. 373). This c y c l i c a l structure of act i o n i s p a r a l l e l e d on the d e s c r i p t i v e l e v e l , o f th.e text by a pattern of discontinuous movements between s i m i l a r objects. Motion i n the novel i s never prolonged; one moves, f u r t i v e l y , from one object to another of the same kind. Thus Bardamu advances through the war only by moving s t e a l t h i l y "d'arbre en arbre" (p. h3), or "d'une grange inconnue a l' a u t r e " .Cp. 39). Progress, therefore, i s l i m i t e d by the objects and dangers of the external world. To move i n t h i s world becomes an arduous and uncomfortable task. The bi r d s of the A f r i c a n jungle i l l u s t r a t e , i n a des c r i p t i v e context, t h i s d i f f i c u l t y i n moving: "... ces grosses pintades bleues, empetrees dans leur plumage comme pour une noce et s i maladroites quand e l l e s sautaient en toussant d'une branche a l ' a u t r e , qu'on aurait d i t qu'un accident venait de leur a r r i v e r " (p. 177). Likewise, the Amiral  Bragueton moves i n a jerky, spasmodic manner: "L'Amiral n'avancait guere, i l se t r a i n a i t p l u t o t , en ronronnant, d'un r o u l i s vers l ' a u t r e " (p. 115). This same d i f f i c u l t y i n advancing i s experienced by the protagonist as he takes to the jungle a f t e r s e t t i n g ablaze the Company's hut — "Nous n'avangions qu'a grande peine..." .(p. 177) — and makes h i s way p a i n f u l l y to a Spanish colony: "Nous venions de passer a force d ' a l l e r d'un sent i e r a l ' a u t r e comme ga, tant bien que mal, dans l a colonie du Rio del Rio..." (p. 178). This imagery of an uncomfortable movement from one object to another of the same kind may perform a more e x p l i c i t l y thematic ( f i g u r a t i v e ) 178 f u n c t i o n as when i t i n d i c a t e s t h e c o n s t a n t t e n d e n c y o f men t o move t h r o u g h l i f e by p l a y i n g s i m i l a r r o l e s , by e s c a p i n g r e a l i t y : "Les e t r e s v o n t d'une comedie v e r s une a u t r e " ( p . 259). T h i s e s c a p i s m may t a k e t h e fo r m o f t h e s e a r c h f o r a s t a t e o f f o r g e t f u l n e s s t h r o u g h s e x and o t h e r forms o f s u b m i s s i o n "aux b e s o i n s n a t u r e l s " .(p. 340). L i f e r e m a i n s a t any r a t e a r e p e t i t i o n o f s i m i l a r movements between s i m i l a r o b j e c t s : "Le meme p i n a r d , l e meme cinema, l e s memes r a g o t s s p o r t i f s . . . L a meme horde b o u s e u s e , t j i t u b a n t e d'un b o b a r d a, 1 ' a u t r e , h a b l a r d e t o u j o u r s , t r a f i q u e u s e , m a l v e i l l a n t e , a g r e s s i v e e n t r e deux p a n i q u e s " ( p . 3^0). I n a d d i t i o n t o i t s d i s c o n t i n u o u s and r e p e t i t i v e n a t u r e , m o t i o n i n t h e n o v e l i s r a r e l y s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d : - ; movement i s g e n e r a l l y d i a g o n a l , and p r o g r e s s 52 i s e f f e c t e d m a z i g z a g manner. - One advances i n t h i s w o r l d by moving f r o m s i d e t o s i d e , l i k e t h e p e o p l e o f P a r i s who move h e s i t a t i n g l y "d'un t r o t t o i r a. l ' a u t r e a v a n t d ' a l l e r v e r s e r dans l e n o i r " (p. 26l). Through i t s a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h o t h e r elements o f t h e network o f j o u r n e y i m a g e r y , t h i s o b l i q u e m o t i o n t a k e s on a f i g u r a t i v e v a l u e and comes t o embody a g l o b a l a s p e c t o f human a c t i v i t y and.to s y m b o l i z e t h e human s i t u a t i o n : C ' e t a i t comme u n e p l a i e t r i s t e l a r u e q u i n'en f i n i s s a i t p l u s , avec nous au f o n d , nous a u t r e s , d'un b o r d a, l ' a u t r e , d'une p e i n e a, l ' a u t r e , v e r s l e bout qu'on ne v o i t j a m a i s , l e b o u t de t o u t e s l e s r u e s du monde ( p . 192). T h i s o b l i q u e movement f i g u r e s t h e t y p i c a l manner i n w h i c h man r e a c t s i n a w o r l d t h a t he p e r c e i v e s as h o s t i l e and menacing. Unable t o advance d i r e c t l y t o w a r d s t h e h e a r t o f an i n t o l e r a b l e r e a l i t y , man p r o g r e s s e s o n l y by moving f r o m s i d e t o s i d e upon t h e " p l a i e t r i s t e " o f e x i s t e n c e : 5 2 ^ "A. f o r c e de deambuler d'un b o r d de l'ombre a. l ' a u t r e . , on f i n i s s a i t p a r s'y r e c o n n a i t r e . , . " ( p . 29); "... j ' a i deambule p l u t o t de d r o i t e a, gauche t o u t l e l o n g de l a route..."•• ( p . 488). 179 M a i s p u i s q u e l e malade l u i , change b i e n de c o t e dans son l i t , dans l a v i e , on a b i e n l e d r o i t a u s s i nous, de se chambarder d'un f l a n c s u r l ' a u t r e , c ' e s t t o u t ce qu'on peut f a i r e e t 2 t o u t ce qu'on a t r o u v e comme d e f e n s e c o n t r e son D e s t i n (p. 3^0). Thus a p a r t i c u l a r k i n d o f m o t i o n i s p r e s e n t e d as a.symbol o f t h e manner i n w h i c h men a r e o b l i g e d t o c o n f r o n t t h e i r m e t a p h y s i c a l s i t u a t i o n . Through i t s a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h t h e c o r e a r c h e t y p e , t h i s z i g z a g movement i s o f f e r e d as a f i g u r e o f t h e rhythm o f t h e w o r l d , a w o r l d i n w h i c h a l l t h i n g s move i n t h i s o b l i q u e manner, "d'un b o r d a l ' a u t r e du d e s t i n " (p. 309). To summarize, t h e movement im a g e r y f u r n i s h e s i n s i g h t i n t o t h e mechanism o f t h e h e r o ' s q u e s t , i n t o t h e p r e c i s e manner i n w h i c h t h e J o u r n e y ( o f l i f e ) i s c a r r i e d o u t . T h i s voyage i s shown t o be b a s i c a l l y o f an o b l i q u e o r i n d i r e c t n a t u r e . R a t h e r t h a n o v e r c o m i n g o b s t a c l e s , d i r e c t l y , t h e t r a v e l l e r a t t e m p t s t o cope w i t h e x t e r n a l r e a l i t y by moving d i a g o n a l l y f r o m o b j e c t t o o b j e c t i n l i m i t e d , s p o r a d i c b u r s t s o f a c t i v i t y . T h i s o b l i q u e , a l m o s t f u r t i v e , a p p r o a c h t o r e a l i t y c o i n c i d e s w i t h c e r t a i n a m b i g u i t i e s i n a c t i o n and a t t i t u d e p r e v i o u s l y r e v e a l e d i n my a n a l y s i s o f n a r r a t i v e and t h e m a t i c p a t t e r n s . Thus, t h e network o f J o u r n e y imagery f i n d s i t s s t a t u s as a u n i f y i n g and p r o d u c t i v e s t r u c t u r a l element c o r r o b o r a t e d and r e i n f o r c e d . Here and i n t h e p r e c e d i n g q u o t a t i o n s t h e i t a l i c s a r e mine. 180 Night Imagery I have posited a twofold generative and symbolic base from which the form and content of the work are ultimately derivable. The f i r s t element of this base, the journey imagery, operates as we have just seen as a structuring principle of the work's narrative: the imagery functions l i t e r a l l y (as a physical, concrete element of the anecdote), thematically (the quest motif) and as an archetypal symbol underlying and generating the dynamic progression of the text. The second element of the text's symbolic base i s composed of imagery associated with l a Nuit.- This kernel image, along with the network of images directly linked to i t , concentrates in i t s e l f (in i t s symbolic potential) the amorphous external world i n which the Journey takes place. If the journey imagery can be said to inform the subjective and dynamic dimensions of the text, images of Night are linked to i t s objective and static aspects. Clearly such a dichotomy is 5k . . valid only to a certain extent; nevertheless, since I am here examining globally operative deep structures, these perhaps overly clear-cut distinctions do serve a useful purpose. La Nuit The image of night is among the most frequently u t i l i z e d in the text. This ubiquity i n i t s e l f suggests, the importance of the image as a.unifying element. Its appearance i n various contexts and i t s operativeness on various levels ( l i t e r a l , thematic, symbolical) serve to unite and bring a certain The night i s of course dynamic insofar as i t participates i n the solar cycle, while the journey contains moments of stasis when the protagonist . is immobilized, whether by fear, anguish, alienation, well-being or despair. 181 coherence to a text which may appear at f i r s t disjointed and disorganized. The most l i t e r a l appearance of the image may, through conventional and/or textual association, carry a thematic or symbolic resonance. Conversely, an example of the image functioning in a primarily abstract or symbolic manner may not prevent i t from being integrated into the concrete development of the anecdote. It would be tediously repetitive to inventory and classify the numerous appearances of the image of Night in the novel. Consequently, I shall simply summarize some of the more representative operations of the image. On the descriptive level, for example, much of the early action of the novel, during which the protagonist is undergoing his i n i t i a t i o n into the world, takes place at night. This is notably the case in the Flanders episode, where the space of the war adventure is regularly described in terms of the night image: . "Par la., ou i l montrait, i l n'y avait rien que l a nuit, comme partout d'ailleurs, une nuit enorme qui bouffait l a route a deux pas de nous..." (p. 26). The preceding is a good.example of the polyfunctional nature of the image: while principally descriptive in i t s operation, the image contains, through i t s war context, a thematic association with Death, and by i t s contiguous relationship to the Journey network (la route), an organizing or structuring function. Other examples of the mainlyl'descriptive presence of the image include the protagonist's f i r s t encounter with Robinson — "II devait etre sur les deux heures apres minuit..." (p. h3) — his voyeuristic insights into the sexual habits of. American couples (p. 199), and his encounter with a singularly noble species of mankind: "the night-workers of Detroit (pp. 232-233). 182 The role of the night image as a vehicle of the work's- principal themes i s essential. Conventional symbolism links the darkness image to many of the work's dominant themes: (a) Death: " I c i a l'hopital, tout comme dans l a nuit des Flandres l a mort nous tracassait..." (p. 87); (b) Death, Solitude, Emptiness: "J'ai f i n i par m'endormir sur la question, dans ma nuit a. moi, ce cercueil, tellement j'etais fatigue de marcher et de ne trouver rien" (p. 288); (c) The Poverty and Distrustfulness of the "petites gens": "Les gens etaient s i pauvres et s i mefiants dans mon quartier qu'il f a l l a i t qu'il fasse nuit pour qu'ils se decident a me faire venir... J'en ai parcouru ainsi des nuits et des nuits a chercher des dix francs a travers les courettes sans lune" (p. 241). The primary role of this image, however, appears to be organizational or productive. The capacity of the image to identify i t s e l f with existence as a whole confers upon i t a universal value which i n turn permits i t to underlie and unify the varied manifestations of real i t y . Night represents the hostile and mysterious rea l i t y through which the entire world moves: "Ainsi tourne le monde a travers l a nuit enormement menagante et silencieuse" (p. 321). It is this status as a universal symbol of existence which permits the night image to enter into a,significant contiguous relationship with the journey archetype. Night becomes thereby an integral element of the Quest, the objective element which confers upon the quest i t s true significance and depth: "On s'enfonce, on s'epouvante d'abord dans l a nuit, mais on veut comprendre quand meme et alors on ne quitte plus l a profondeur" (p. 374). To confront the night, to pass through i t (by whatever manner of movement) and to reach i t s very end amounts to an assuming of one's ultimate condition, to a victory over' the enormous fear of knowing real i t y and truth, a fear 183 which prevents most men from undertaking to confront the night: A force d'etre pousse comme ga dans l a n u i t , on doit f i n i r tout de meme par aboutir quelque part... C'est l a consolation. "Courage, Ferdinand, que je me repetais a moi-meme, pour me soutenir, a force d'etre foutu a. l a porte de partout, t u f i n i r a s surement par l e trouver l e true qui l e u r f a i t s i peur a eux tous... et qui doit etre au bout de l a n u i t . C'est pour ga q u ' i l s n'y vont pas eux au bout de l a nuit!J'(p. 219). This fear of the h o s t i l e night i n f e c t s the protagonist himself and produces i n Bardamu an ambiguous attitud e towards h i s own quest. On one hand,he i s tempted to go along with the others and refuse to confront the night; on the other hand, the influence of Robinson makes him conscious of the value and of the necessity of f a m i l i a r i z i n g himself with " l a nuit": Decidement d'avoir s u i v i dans l a nuit Robinson jusque-la. ou nous en etions, j'avais quand meme appris des choses (p. 305); Maintenant q u ' i l s ' a g i s s a i t d'ouvrir l e s yeux dans l a nuit j'aimais presque autant l e s garder fermes. Mais Robinson semblait t e n i r a ce que je l e s ouvrisse, a ce que je me rende compte (p. 310). Associated Clusters Thus f a r I have pointed out that the capacity of night imagery to function as an organizing productive p r i n c i p l e within the text i s confirmed by i t s status as a uni v e r s a l all-encompassing symbol as well as by i t s recurring i n t e r a c t i o n with the core journey i m a g e r y . T h i s generative p o t e n t i a l , of which the text i n a l l i t s s t r u c t u r a l complexity would be the r e a l i z e d product, i s r e i n f o r c e d by the presence of a group of r e l a t e d images which form a network that branches out from the core image and l i n k s 55 The repeated j u x t a p o s i t i o n of elements of the two core image c l u s t e r s indicates the a c t u a l i z a t i o n within the text of the generative capacity of the novel's t i t l e and pre-anecdotal fragments, where the two core images are juxtaposed i n what might be termed an emblematic manner. 184 different elements of the text both to the central image and, indirectly, to one another. The existence of these associated image clusters tends to strengthen the organizing or structuring function of night imagery. I shall now examine brie f l y a few of these related clusters. Noir Black is the colour which appears most frequently i n the text. The colour often appears to function simply as a l i t e r a l or descriptive element, as when the narrator describes the African night as: "l'enorme velum noir qui nous etouffait" (p. ITT). The war experience also provides examples of the apparently uniquely descriptive function of blackness imagery; thus Bardamu and his military comrades seek out respite from the menace of being shot, by frantically pursuing "le sommeil dans le noir" (.p. 36). These descriptive operations do not, however, rule out the potential for symbolic meaning that the colour may possess either by conventional association or by i t s recurring presence within a specific context. Thus the s t i f l i n g darkness of the African forests echoes the hostile and menacing reality which Africa in particular and nature in general reveals to the protagonist; similarly, the enormity of the blackness observed i n Flanders suggests the theme of the omnipresence of Death which characterizes this episode. It i s doubtless this figurative value of blackness that determines the primary role of the image in the text. While much of this figurative activity is identical to that observed in the night image, the specific See J. Chevalier et Alain Gheerbrant, Dictionnaire des Symboles: "II evoque, avant tout, le chaos, le neant... le mal, l'angoisse, l a tristesse, 1'inconscience et l a Mort" (p. 538). 185 thematic connotation of blackness seems to be that of malevolence. Thus the cure F r o t i s t e , by reason of his involvement i n the Henrouille a f f a i r , finds himself caught up i n the anguish which a f f l i c t s the criminals: "Maintenant q u ' i l nous avait r e j o i n t s dans notre angoisse i l ne savait plus trop comment f a i r e l e cure pour avancer a. l a suite de nous quatre dans l e 5T n o i r " (p. 334). Robinson, whose actions i n the novel are r e s o l u t e l y negative and determined by his r e f u s a l of basic conventional values, i s re g u l a r l y associated with blackness: Robinson se mit a nous raconter une f o i s de plus que l e s acides l u i brulaient l'estomac et l e s poumons, 1 'etouffaient et l e f a i s a i e n t cracher tout noir (p. 291); II se r e c r o q u e v i l l a i t tellement dans l e noir pour tousser sur lui-meme que je ne l e voyais presque plus... (p. 302). Robinson's attempt to assassinate l a mere Henrouille i s followed by a period of r e t r i b u t i v e blindness, of concrete and t o t a l blackness which operates as a p h y s i c a l sign of the emptiness of his moral conscience: "II l e s all o n g e a i t alors ses bras comme ga dans son noir tant q u ' i l pouvait, comme pour toucher l e bout. II v o u l a i t pas y c r o i r e . Du noir tout a l u i " (p. 323). These s p e c i f i c examples of the l i n k i n g of the blackness image to acts of e v i l and to states of moral anguish and turpitude could be added to without d i f f i c u l t y . Such examples take on an added dimension of si g n i f i c a n c e when the image i s e x p l i c i t l y associated with the physical essence of man (his body) and with the basic tendencies of human nature towards cr u e l t y and s t u p i d i t y : "Je ne vois partout que de noires et v i e i l l e s n i a i s e r i e s qui fermentent dans l e s corps plus ou moins recents..." (p. 372). Here again 57 . . . The i t a l i c s i n t h i s and the following quotations are mine. See, f o r example, the eyes of the dangerous and desperate Madelon, which are "trop n o i r s " (p. 378); and the state of depression which often overwhelms the hero and which he describes as "noir et lourd" (p. 240). 186 we see t h e c a p a c i t y o f an a p p a r e n t l y i n o c u o u s d e s c r i p t i v e element t o f u n c t i o n as an a c t i v e p a r t o f an o r g a n i z i n g and u n i f y i n g system o f i magery. L'ombre As i n t h e c a s e o f b l a c k n e s s i m a g e r y , t h e d e s c r i p t i v e f u n c t i o n h e r e i s s u b o r d i n a t e d t o t h e t h e m a t i c ( f i g u r a t i v e ) . M o r e o v e r , t h e d u a l c o m p o s i t i o n o f shade — i t s i m p l i c i t r e f e r e n c e t o t h e c o e x i s t e n c e o f l i g h t and d a r k n e s s ^- i n v e s t s t h e image w i t h a c e r t a i n c o m p l e x i t y w h i c h c o r r e s p o n d s t o o t h e r a m b i v a l e n t elements o f t h e t e x t . The example o f R o b i n s o n i s a g a i n u s e f u l . H i s f i r s t appearance i n t h e work i s i n d i c a t e d by a "changement dans l a d i s p o s i t i o n de l'ombre" .(.p. 43), and he i s l a t e r d e s c r i b e d by t h e n a r r a t o r as "ce t e n e b r e u x " (p. l67). I have n o t e d i n an e a r l i e r c h a p t e r ( P a r t I , C h a p t e r I ) t h e a m b i v a l e n t s t a t u s w h i c h R o b i n s o n o c c u p i e s i n t h e t e x t : he i s b o t h a c o n c r e t e personnage and a k i n d o f phantom, t h e i n c a r n a t i o n o f an a t t i t u d e ( r e f u s a l ) t o w a r d s t h e w o r l d . H i s c l o s e a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h l'ombre b o t h echoes t h i s d o u b l e r o l e and emphasizes h i s s y m b o l i c f u n c t i o n as a l t e r  ego, as t h e p r o j e c t i o n o f t h e p r o t a g o n i s t ' s r e p r e s s e d d e s i r e t o go t o t h e end o f h i s r e f u s a l t o a c c e p t t h i n g s as t h e y a r e . I t m i g h t be p o i n t e d out • t h a t t h e c a p a c i t y o f t h i s image t o f u n c t i o n " p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y " as a symbol o f t h e u n c o n s c i o u s , i s evoked e x p l i c i t l y i n t h e t e x t : "Tout ce q u i e s t i n t e r e s s a n t se p a s s e dans l'ombre decidement. On ne s a i t r i e n de l a v e r i t a b l e h i s t o i r e des hommes" (p. 64). 187 L a Lumiere The p r e s e n c e i n t h e t e x t o f a s e r i e s o f images c l u s t e r e d a r o u n d t h e c e n t r a l image o f l i g h t c o n f i r m s , p a r a d o x i c a l l y p e r h a p s , t h e s t r u c t u r i n g f u n c t i o n o f n i g h t i magery. F o r by i t s v e r y p r e s e n c e i n t h e t e x t , l i g h t i m a g ery s u g g e s t s t h e i n t e g r a t i o n o f images o f d a r k n e s s i n t o t h e u n i v e r s a l r h y t h m s , t h e g r e a t c y c l i c a l p r o c e s s e s . Much as p e r i o d s o f i m m o b i l i t y were e s s e n t i a l t o t h e p a t t e r n o f t h e J o u r n e y — p o i n t i n g t o w a r d s t h e e p i s o d i c and c y c l i c a l n a t u r e o f t h e qu e s t — so t h e e x i s t e n c e o f images o f l i g h t c o n f e r upon n i g h t imagery a cosmic d i m e n s i o n w h i c h g r e a t l y augments t h e s i g n i f y i n g p o t e n t i a l o f t h i s i m a g e r y . N i g h t c a n be v i e w e d n o t s i m p l y as a symbol w h i c h connotes t h e n a t u r e o f o b j e c t i v e r e a l i t y , b u t a l s o as a dynamic p r i n c i p l e i n f o r m i n g t h e work i n i t s s t a t u s n ot j u s t as a s t a t i c s t r u c t u r e b u t a l s o a dynamic p r o c e s s . T h i s i n t e g r a t i o n o f n i g h t i m agery i n t o a c y c l i c a l s t r u c t u r e i s under-l i n e d by t h e a f f i r m a t i o n w i t h i n t h e t e x t o f t h e f u n d a m e n t a l i n s e p a r a b i l i t y o f t h e a p p a r e n t l y a n t i t h e t i c a l e l e m e n t s o f l i g h t and d a r k n e s s . Such an a f f i r m a t i o n o c c u r s i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h t h e b l a t a n t c o e x i s t e n c e i n war- t i m e P a r i s o f t h e c o n t r a d i c t o r y s t a t e s o f n o r m a l i t y and f r e n z i e d d e l i r i u m : A 1'ombre des j o u r n a u x d e l i r a n t s d ' a p p e l s aux s a c r i f i c e s u l t i m e s e t p a t r i o t i q u e s , l a v i e , s t r i c t e m e n t mesuree, f a r c i e de p r e v o y a n c e , c o n t i n u a i t e t b i e n p l u s a s t u c i e u s e meme que j a m a i s . T e l s sont l ' e n v e r s e t l ' e n d r o i t , comme l a l u m i e r e  et l 'ombre, de l a meme m e d a i l l e ( p . 73)-. II • I t a l i c s mine. 188 T h i s i n t i m a t e i n t e r a c t i o n o f d a r k n e s s and l i g h t i s e n c o u n t e r e d f r e q u e n t l y 60 t h r o u g h o u t t h e t e x t . L i f e , i t s e l f , c o n c e i v e d as b o t h a f i x e d and a dynamic s t r u c t u r e , i s e n v i s a g e d i n terms o f t h i s d u a l i t y as "un bout de l u m i e r e q u i f i n i t dans l a n u i t " (p. 335). An i m p o r t a n t c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p between l i g h t and n i g h t imagery i s t h e i r c a p a c i t y t o exchange r o l e s . W h i l e c o n v e n t i o n a l s y m b o l i c i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s w o u l d c o n f e r a p o s i t i v e v a l u e upon l i g h t and a n e g a t i v e v a l u e upon d a r k n e s s , t h i s i s o n l y p a r t i a l l y t h e case i n t h e n o v e l . An e v i d e n t a m b i g u i t y p r e s e n t i n l i g h t i m a g e r y , f o r example, i s s u g g e s t e d i n t h e o p e n i n g scene o f t h e n o v e l , w h e r e i n t h e p r o t a g o n i s t and h i s f r i e n d t a k e c o v e r f r o m t h e s u n l i g h t i n t h e p r o t e c t i v e shade o f t h e c a f e . The war e p i s o d e i n t u r n w i l l expand upon t h i s i n i t i a l e v o c a t i o n o f a m b i g u i t y I n F l a n d e r s , n i g h t and l i g h t imagery seem t o o s c i l l a t e w i l d l y i n t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e s i g n i f i c a t i o n s . A t f i r s t , t h e imagery appears t o f u n c t i o n c o n v e n t i o n a l l y ; n i g h t images a r e a s s o c i a t e d w i t h danger, e v i l and d e a t h : "Chaque metre d'ombre devant nous e t a i t une promesse d'en f i n i r e t de c r e v e r . . . " (p. 3 0 ) . But l i g h t i m a gery a l s o i s endowed w i t h a n e g a t i v e c o n n o t a t i o n s i n c e i t s p r e s e n c e i n F l a n d e r s e i t h e r r e n d e r s t h e s o l d i e r s more v u l n e r a b l e (because more v i s i b l e ) o r e l s e s i g n a l s t h e immediate t h r e a t o f a n n i h i l a t i o n : "Je me d i s a i s t o u j o u r s que l a p r e m i e r e l u m i e r e qu'on v e r r a i t ce s e r a i t c e l l e du coup de f u s i l de l a f i n " (p. 2 9 ) . L i k e w i s e t h e n i g h t , because o f i t s c a p a c i t y t o h i d e , and t h e r e f o r e t o p r o t e c t , t a k e s on a p o s i t i v e c o n n o t a t i o n as a p o s s i b l e s h e l t e r f r o m t h e dangers and madness 60 An o b v i o u s example i s t h e town o f N o i r c e u r - s u r - l a - L y s , w h i c h t h e h ero o b s e r v e s t o be " t o u t e a l l u m e e e t repandue au beau m i l i e u de l a n u i t " (p. 43). 189 o f War: L a n u i t , dont on a v a i t eu s i p e u r dans l e s p r e m i e r s temps, en d e v e n a i t p a r c o m p a r a i s o n a s s e z douce. Nous f i n i s s i o n s p a r 1 * a t t e n d r e , l a d e s i r e r l a n u i t . On nous t i r a i t dessus moins f a c i l e m e n t l a n u i t que l e j o u r . E t i l n'y a v a i t p l u s que c e t t e d i f f e r e n c e q u i c o m p t a i t (p. 36). These and o t h e r examples o f t h e a m b i g u i t y -which c h a r a c t e r i z e s l i g h t (and n i g h t ) i magery r e f l e c t i n p a r t a q u e s t i o n i n g o f c o n v e n t i o n a l v a l u e s , a c o n t e s t a t i o n w h i c h permeates t h e t e x t . Thus, t h e s e t t i n g a b l a z e o f t h e Company's hut — a n e g a t i v e , a n t i - s o c i a l a c t by c o n v e n t i o n a l s t a n d a r d s — i s i r o n i c a l l y j u s t i f i e d by t h e hero's, a p p r o p r i a t i o n o f a c o n v e n t i o n a l p r o v e r b : "Le f e u p u r i f i e t o u t " (p. 175). The ambiguous v a l u e o f l i g h t i m a g e r y , i n h e r e n t i n t h e v e r y nature, o f f i r e , p e r m i t s t h e n a r r a t o r t o i l l u s t r a t e t h e p a r a d o x i c a l f a c t t h a t war may have p o s i t i v e consequences f o r some: "La g u e r r e a v a i t ' b r u i e l e s u n s , r e c h a u f f e l e s a u t r e s , comme l e f e u t o r t u r e ou c o n f o r t e , s e l o n qu'on e s t p l a c e dedans ou d e v a n t " (p. 2l6). T h i s ambiguous v a l u e i n h e r e n t i n l i g h t i m a gery and c o n f e r r e d i n t u r n upon images o f t h e n i g h t i s s t r u c t u r a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t i n - t h a t i t echoes and p a r a l l e l s t h e d u a l n a t u r e o f r e a l i t y as r e v e a l e d i n t h e work: r e a l i t y ( t h e o u t e r w o r l d ) i s b o t h a s o u r c e o f s u f f e r i n g and a s o u r c e o f knowledge. The p r o t a g o n i s t p e r c e i v e s t h i s r e a l i t y t o be s i m u l t a n e o u s l y repugnant and f a s c i n a t i n g ; t h u s t h e h e s i t a n t , a m b i v a l e n t p a t t e r n o f h i s q u e s t , and o f t h e J o u r n e y as a w hole. N i g h t , as a s o u r c e o f b o t h p a i n and knowledge, i s t h u s i n t e g r a t e d i n t o t h e f u n d a m e n t a l dynamics o f t h e work. The c o r e image o f l a n u i t i s t h e r e b y endowed w i t h a u n i f y i n g , p r o d u c t i v e s t a t u s . Thus t h e two k e r n e l image systems a r e f u s e d i n a s i n g l e p r o c e s s w h i c h , i n t h e t e x t , 190 c o n s t i t u t e s t h e g e n e r a t i v e framework from w h i c h t h e d e t a i l s o f t h e work i n a l l t h e i r a p p a r e n t d i f f e r e n c e and s p e c i f i c i t y a r e u l t i m a t e l y d e r i v a b l e . C o n c l u s i o n I n t h i s s e c t i o n I have sought t o i n d i c a t e t h e v a r i o u s o p e r a t i o n s o f imagery i n t h e t e x t . We have seen t h a t i magery can be c l a s s i f i e d i n t o t h r e e c a t e g o r i e s ( s e n s u a l , f i g u r a t i v e , and p r o d u c t i v e ) d e r i v e d f r o m t h e i r p r i m a r y f u n c t i o n : d e s c r i p t i v e , t h e m a t i c , o r o r g a n i z a t i o n a l . S e n s u a l imagery o p e r a t e s p r i m a r i l y t o c o n f e r upon t h e t e x t a c o n c r e t e o r p h y s i c a l t o n a l i t y T hematic imagery c o n v e y s , i n a f i g u r a t i v e manner, t h e p r i n c i p a l n o t i o n s w h i c h i n f o r m t h e work's v i s i o n o f t h e w o r l d . P r o d u c t i v e i m a g e r y , by means o f i t s u n i v e r s a l i t y , ^ 1 appears t o f u n c t i o n as f u n d a m e n t a l s t r u c t u r i n g k e r n e l s w h i c h b o t h endow t h e work w i t h a u n i f y i n g base and produce (by s y m b o l i c a s s o c i a t i o n ) t h e t e x t i n i t s i n f i n i t e v a r i e t y and p o t e n t i a l t o s i g n i f y . Imagery i n t h e n o v e l , t h e r e f o r e , o p e r a t e s b o t h e x p r e s s i v e l y ( t o i l l u s t r a t e a v i s i o n o f t h e w o r l d ) and g e n e r a t i v e l y ( t o i n f o r m t h i s v i s i o n ) . I t i s p r e c i s e l y t h i s d u a l f u n c t i o n i n g o f t h e imagery w h i c h p e r m i t s i t t o u n d e r l i e and u n i f y t h e t e x t i n i t s d o u b l e s t a t u s as f o r m and meaning, as s i g n i f i e r . and s i g n i f i e d . The n o v e l ' s i m a g e r y , t h e r e f o r e , r e a l i z e s t h e p o e t i c f u s i o n o f f o r m and c o n t e n t , o f n a r r a t i v e and theme, i n an o n - g o i n g , i n f i n i t e p r o c e s s o f s i g n i f y i n g . A u n i v e r s a l i t y r e s u l t i n g b o t h f r o m i t s c o n v e n t i o n a l s y m b o l i c v a l u e and f r o m t h e i m p o r t a n c e and f r e q u e n c y o f i t s p r e s e n c e i n t h e t e x t . 191 CONCLUSION This study has attempted, hy examining c e r t a i n s t r u c t u r a l properties of the t e x t , to a r r i v e at an adequate account of the formal unity of Celine's f i r s t and probably greatest novel. In order to describe the p r i n c i p a l elements of the novel's s i g n i f i c a n t form, I approached the text from three d i s t i n c t but i n t e r r e l a t e d vantage points: (a) the narrative (point of view, structure of episodes); (b) the thematic ( v i s i o n of r e a l i t y , the metaphysical and the s o c i a l l e v e l s of experience); (c) the symbolic (the function of imagery i n the organization of a u n i f i e d t e x t ) . It was f e l t that, by describing the s p e c i f i c pattern of each of these three aspects of the text and then noting t h e i r s t r u c t u r a l s i m i l a r i t i e s , one could demonstrate the existence of an organic unity which went f a r deeper than the mechanical unity r e s u l t i n g from the presence of a picaresque narrative framework. In the f i r s t section of t h i s analysis ("Narrative Structures"), the binary structure of the narrative was pointed out: the narration i s assured by a double voice (or j_e), that of the protagonist and that of the narrator-observer. This l a t t e r , whose angle of v i s i o n i s b a s i c a l l y r e t r o s p e c t i v e , possesses a quasi-omniscient status which i s revealed i n his penchant f o r aphorisms and absolute pronouncements. An i r o n i c r e l a t i o n s h i p holds between t h i s apparently all-knowing je_ and h i s younger and naive s e l f , 192 the protagonist. Although the temporal and psychological distance separating the two " l i s " i s progressively reduced i n the course of the nar r a t i v e , the double structure incarnated by the two narrative voices constitutes one of the fundamental formal elements operating i n the t e x t , a framework which modifies profoundly the nature of the novel's content. This double narrative focus, through which are r e f r a c t e d the multiple events, objects, and characters which appear i n the text, i n s t i t u t e s a dichotomous structure which various elements of the anecdote w i l l echo and corroborate. Thus the double a t t i t u d e of Bardamu both towards existence and towards his f r i e n d Robinson are f i c t i o n a l p a r a l l e l s of the double narrative point of view. Bardamu's r e l a t i o n s h i p with the world i s fundamentally ambivalent. "Intrigue et empoisonne en meme temps" (p. 310), the protagonist o s c i l l a t e s between- r e f u s a l and compromise, between a desire to understand the world and the need to avoid the s u f f e r i n g which understanding i n e v i t a b l y produces. Bardamu's i n t e r n a l ambivalence i s i n turn concretized and projected into the anecdote i n terms of h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p with Robinson. The l a t t e r , whose attitud e towards the world.is consistently one of r e f u s a l , i s a l t e r n a t e l y sought out and avoided by the protagonist. For Bardamu, Robinson i s a source both of knowledge and of unhappiness. Robinson's s u i c i d a l denunciation of Madelon and of existence i n general constitutes the culmination of his "voyage au bout de l a n u i t " . His death functions within the text i n two ways: f i r s t , i t e f f e c t i v e l y closes the story by operating as a c l i m a c t i c act of r e v o l t ; second, Robinson's death opens the narrative by o b l i g i n g the protagonist to examine and to seek to j u s t i f y h i s 193 e x i s t e n c e (pp. 489-4-90). R o b i n s o n ' s d e a t h l e a d s t o a t r a n s f o r m a t i o n o f t h e p r o t a g o n i s t i n t o n a r r a t o r ( o b s e r v e r ) , and t h e a n e c d o t e i n t o d i s c o u r s . By " t e l l i n g a l l " (p. 27) Bardamu w i l l r e v e r s e h i s a p p a r e n t e v o l u t i o n towards detachment and r e s i g n a t i o n and, by r e f u s i n g t o f o r g e t "ce q u i vous a f a i t c r e v e r " (p. 27), w i l l seek b o t h a j u s t i f i c a t i o n t o h i s own l i f e and a c u r e f o r t h e u n i v e r s a l egoism w h i c h a f f l i c t s mankind. I n t h e s econd c h a p t e r o f P a r t I , I a t t e m p t e d t o p r o v i d e some i n s i g h t i n t o t h e s t r u c t u r e o f i n t e r a c t i o n w h i c h d e t e r m i n e s t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p between t h e i n d i v i d u a l and r e a l i t y . I t was o b s e r v e d t h a t t h e n a r r a t i v e a c t i o n c o u l d be c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n terms o f a r e c u r r i n g c i r c u l a r p a t t e r n : E n t r a n c e —» C o n f r o n t a t i o n —t Escape —• E n t r a n c e , e t c . T h i s i t e r a t i v e c i r c u l a r s t r u c t u r e was d e s i g n a t e d as "open-ended" s i n c e t h e ephemeral n a t u r e o f a l l escape p r o j e c t s ( s a v e Death) s i g n i f i e d an i n e v i t a b l e r e - e n t r y i n t o c o n t a c t w i t h t h e w o r l d . Thus t h e s t r u c t u r e o f a c t i o n ( c i r c u l a r ) can a l s o be v i e w e d as a p r o c e s s ( c y c l i c a l ) , s i n c e each e p i s o d e c o n t a i n s t h e need f o r i t s ( s t r u c t u r a l ) r e i t e r a t i o n . T h i s ' r e l a t i o n s h i p o f n e c e s s i t y w h i c h l i n k s e p i s o d e s i n a t h e o r e t i c a l l y i n f i n i t e s y n t a c t i c a l c h a i n c o n s t i t u t e s an i m p o r t a n t a s p e c t o f t h e t e x t ' s f o r m a l u n i t y . I n a d d i t i o n t o d e s c r i b i n g a few o f t h e more i m p o r t a n t f o r m a l p r o p e r t i e s o f t h e n a r r a t i v e , t h e f i r s t s e c t i o n o f t h i s s t u d y p o i n t e d t o w a r d s t h e i m p o r t a n c e o f d e f i n i n g t h e n a t u r e o f t h e r e a l i t y w h i c h t h e s e l f c o n f r o n t s t h r o u g h o u t t h e work. The second p a r t ("Thematic S t r u c t u r e s " ) a t t e m p t e d t o e l u c i d a t e t h e p r i n c i p a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f t h i s r e a l i t y . I n Voyage, r e a l i t y i s e s s e n t i a l l y p h y s i c a l . P h y s i o l o g i c a l and b i o l o g i c a l r e v e l a t i o n s p r o v i d e 194 t h e f u n d a m e n t a l t r u t h s c o n c e r n i n g e x i s t e n c e . The body, f o r example, h a r b o u r s two c o n f l i c t i n g t r u t h s w h i c h b o t h d e f i n e t h e human c o n d i t i o n and d e t e r m i n e i n l a r g e measure human b e h a v i o u r . T h i s i r r e f u t a b l e e v i d e n c e o f t h e body c o n s i s t s o f t h e i n s t i n c t f o r s e l f - p r e s e r v a t i o n and t h e s i m u l t a n e o u s d e n i a l o f t h i s i n s t i n c t , a d e n i a l i m p l i c i t i n t h e body's i n e v i t a b l e t e n d e n c y towards decay and d e a t h . The b i o l o g i c a l v i s i o n o f r e a l i t y w h i c h i n f o r m s t h e t e x t l e a d s t o a d i s m i s s a l o f t h e a b s t r a c t ( o f p h i l o s o p h i z i n g , o f i d e a s , o f i n t e l l e c t u a l s l i k e P r i n c h a r d ) , and t o a marked p r e f e r e n c e f o r t h e c o n c r e t e . Bardamu's qu e s t f o r u n d e r s t a n d i n g w i l l , t h e r e f o r e , be a p h y s i c a l q u e s t ; a u t h e n t i c knowledge can be g a i n e d o n l y by e n t e r i n g i n t o d i r e c t c o n t a c t w i t h t h e w o r l d . However, t h i s u n mediated r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h r e a l i t y p r o v e s c o n s i s t e n t l y t o be a s o u r c e o f s u f f e r i n g . T r u t h i s i n t o l e r a b l e . C o n s e q u e n t l y t h e p r o t a g o n i s t o s c i l l a t e s between h i s d e s i r e t o know more and t h e need t o p r e s e r v e o n e s e l f by a v o i d i n g p a i n f u l t r u t h s . T h i s d u a l a t t i t u d e o f t h e p r o t a g o n i s t — t h e r e s u l t o f h i s i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h t h e w o r l d — echoes t h e d o u b l e n a r r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e d e s c r i b e d i n P a r t I . Man's m e t a p h y s i c a l f a t e i s d e t e r m i n e d by t h e p h y s i c a l f a c t s o f l i f e r e v e a l e d t h r o u g h t h e body. He i s condemned t o decay and d e a t h . F u n d a m e n t a l l y , man i s a s l a v e o f N a t u r e , an i m p o t e n t v i c t i m o f h i s o r g a n i c b e i n g . This' m a s t e r - s l a v e a f f i l i a t i o n , w h i c h d e f i n e s man's r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h t h e cosmos, d e f i n e s a l s o t h e n a t u r e o f s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n . S o c i e t y c o n s i s t s o f two d i s t i n c t g r o u p s , t h e r i c h and t h e p o o r , t h e e x p l o i t e r s and t h e e x p l o i t e d . A t b o t h t h e u n i v e r s a l and t h e s o c i a l l e v e l s o f e x p e r i e n c e t h e i n d i v i d u a l i s o b l i g e d , i n o r d e r t o s u r v i v e , t o r e p r e s s b o t h h i s l u c i d i t y and h i s r e v o l t . 195 His p r i n c i p a l a c t i v i t y i s to devise various escape projects which permit him to avoid seeing things as they r e a l l y are. The cinema, the f a i r , v iolence, ohatining wealth, drunkenness, r o l e - p l a y i n g , i l l n e s s , madness — a l l these are b a s i c a l l y strategies conceived i n order to avoid confronting i n t o l e r a b l e t r u t h s . Condemned to i n a u t h e n t i c i t y — "II faut c h o i s i r , mourir ou mentir" (p. 200) — man can t r u l y escape only by death (Robinson) or, as an epigraph to the novel suggests, by passing to "l'autre cote de l a v i e " (p. T ) 5 to the side of dream, imagination, and A r t . This l a t t e r choice, as we have seen, appears to be that adopted by the protagonist, who, influenced by Robinson's absolute r e f u s a l of the world, w i l l seek, by recounting a l l he has seen, to "me remplir l a tete avec une seule idee, mais alors une superbe pensee tout a f a i t plus f o r t e que l a mort..." (p. 489). The t h i r d and f i n a l section of t h i s study dealt with the r o l e of imagery i n the organization of the t e x t . Insofar as imagery r e a l i z e s a synthesis of the concrete and the abstract, of the s i g n i f i e r and the s i g n i f i e d , of the form and the content, i t constitutes an excellent source of i n s i g h t i n t o the novel as a s i g n i f i c a n t form. Thus an examination of various image clu s t e r s present i n the novel revealed the importance of t h i s poetic material i n the creation of a coherent and ultimately u n i f i e d t e x t . It.was found that imagery i n the work functions i n three distinct.manners. The novel's sensual imagery performs a concretizing function and creates a predominantly ph y s i c a l tone or atmosphere within which the narrative unfolds. This concrete dimension of the text corresponds to the b i o l o g i c a l v i s i o n of r e a l i t y which informs the wort's "content", and underlines c l e a r l y , i f • 196 i m p l i c i t l y ,the v a l u e o f t r i e u n m e d i a t e d c o n t a c t w i t h , r e a l i t y which, c h a r a c t e r i z e s t h e p r o t a g o n i s t ' s q u e s t f o r knowledge and u n d e r s t a n d i n g . A second group o f images p e r f o r m s a p r i m a r i l y t h e m a t i c f u n c t i o n . By r e a s o n o f t h e i r f i g u r a t i v e n a t u r e , t h e s e images p o i n t beyond t h e m s e l v e s towards t h e s i g n i f i c a n t i d e a s w h i c h c o n s t i t u t e t h e n o v e l ' s t h e m a t i q u e . Images o f i l l n e s s , as w e l l as a n i m a l and c a r n i v a l i m a g e r y , a r e among t h e elements w h i c h convey p o e t i c a l l y v a r i o u s a s p e c t s o f t h e work's message. A t h i r d group o f images p o s s e s s e s a s y m b o l i c p o t e n t i a l s u c h t h a t i t can f u n c t i o n as a k i n d o f s t r u c t u r a l s u p p o r t f o r t h e t e x t as a w hole. T h i s group c o n t a i n s two c o r e images and t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e c l u s t e r s : imagery o f t h e J o u r n e y and imagery o f t h e N i g h t . The j o u r n e y image, i n a d d i t i o n t o u n d e r l y i n g t h e q u e s t and i n i t i a t i o n s t r u c t u r e s o f t h e n a r r a t i v e , s e r v e s t o c o n f e r upon t h e t e x t i t s s p a t i a l and t e m p o r a l dynamism. The n i g h t image encompasses t h e d i v e r s e a s p e c t s o f r e a l i t y e n c o u n t e r e d by t h e i n d i v i d u a l . N i g h t imagery a l s o r e f e r s ( i m p l i c i t l y ) t o t h e c y c l i c a l n a t u r e o f r e a l i t y and t h e r e b y c o n t a i n s t h e p r i n c i p l e o f i t e r a t i o n , w h i c h , as we o b s e r v e d e a r l i e r , c h a r a c t e r i z e s t h e dynamics o f b e i n g - i n - t h e - w o r l d . The e x t r e m e l y b r o a d n a t u r e o f t h e s e c o r e images ( o r symbols, o r a r c h e t y p e s ) o f t h e J o u r n e y and t h e N i g h t c o n f e r s upon them an o r g a n i z i n g p o t e n t i a l w h i c h o p e r a t e s t o u n i f y t h e t e x t i n i t s d i v e r s i t y and m u l t i p l i c i t y . The t e x t may i n d e e d be c o n s i d e r e d as t h e p r o d u c t o f t h e s e k e r n e l images whose f u n c t i o n i s e s s e n t i a l l y g e n e r a t i v e . A p r i n c i p a l o b j e c t o f t h i s s t u d y o f Voyage au b out-de l a n u i t has been t o demonstrate t h e e x i s t e n c e o f a c e r t a i n u n i t y w i t h i n d i v e r s i t y , o f a n a l o g o u s s t r u c t u r a l p a t t e r n s o p e r a t i n g a t d i f f e r e n t " l e v e l s " o f a t e x t 197 c o n s i d e r e d as a f u n c t i o n i n g mechanism. Thus t h e d u a l s t r u c t u r e o f t h e n a r r a t i v e p o i n t o f v i e w i s c l o s e l y r e l a t e d n o t j u s t t o t h e c h a r a c t e r o f Bardamu o r t o t h e r o l e o f R o b i n s o n , b u t a l s o t o t h e n a t u r e o f r e a l i t y ( . p h y s i c a l , m e t a p h y s i c a l and s o c i a l ) and t o t h e s y m b o l i c d u a l i s m o f journey, and n i g h t . T h i s a n a l y s i s makes no c l a i m t o be e x h a u s t i v e e i t h e r as an i n q u i r y i n t o t h e n o v e l ' s s t r u c t u r a l u n i t y o r as a d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e t e x t ' s n a r r a t i v e , t h e m a t i c and s y m b o l i c components. . Indeed each s e c t i o n o f t h i s s t u d y c o u l d w e l l be expanded upon. To be s u r e , a number o f problems have been r a i s e d t o w h i c h o n l y t e n t a t i v e answers can be g i v e n . N e v e r t h e l e s s , I f e e l s t r o n g l y t h a t t h e g e n e r a l f i n d i n g s o f t h i s s t u d y c l e a r l y i n d i c a t e some o f t h e d i r e c t i o n s w h i c h f u r t h e r i n v e s t i g a t i o n s s h o u l d f o l l o w . C e r t a i n l y , f o r example, some o f t h e i m p l i c a t i o n s a r i s i n g f r o m t h e a n a l y s i s o f n a r r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e s — t h e r o l e o f R o b i n s o n , t h e n a t u r e o f a c t i o n , t h e ambiguous je_ — d e s e r v e t o be p u r s u e d . S i m i l a r l y , t h e s e c t i o n d e a l i n g w i t h imagery c o u l d w e l l be b o t h a m p l i f i e d upon and complemented by a r i g o r o u s r h e t o r i c a l a n a l y s i s o f f i g u r a t i v e l a n g u a g e i n t h e n o v e l . A n o t h e r i m p o r t a n t element w h i c h i s o n l y c a s u a l l y a l l u d e d t o h e r e i s t h e f u n c t i o n o f C e l i n e ' s s t y l e as i t i s r e l a t e d t o t h e s i g n i f i c a n t s t r u c t u r e s d e s c r i b e d i n t h i s s t u d y . Can, f o r example, t h e use o f t e n s e s be r e l a t e d t o t h e problems o f n a r r a t i v e p e r s p e c t i v e ? Does t h e t w o - t i e r e d s t y l i s t i c r e g i s t e r o f t h e n o v e l — l a n g u e  p a r l e e e t l a n g u e e c r i t e — c o n s t i t u t e an i n t e g r a l p a r t o f t h e v i s i o n w h i c h i n f o r m s t h e work? Or can t h e n a r r a t o r ' s p r e d i l e c t i o n f o r a b s o l u t e terms — "une f o i s pour t o u t e s " , . " c ' e s t t o u t " e t c . — be a s s i m i l a t e d i n some manner 198 to the s t r u c t u r a l properties of the text? These and a host of other problems remain unsolved and demand further examination. Hopefully t h i s study has helped to l a y the groundwork f o r such investigations and w i l l thereby contribute to some extent i n furthering i n t e r e s t i n and research upon Celine, and p a r t i c u l a r l y upon Voyage, his' most important, complex, and "mechant" (p. 9) f i c t i o n a l t ext. 199 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY I. Works of Celine c i t e d i n t h i s study Celine, Louis-Ferdinand. Voyage au bout de l a nuit s u i v i de Mort a, c r e d i t . Bibliotheque de l a Pleiade. P a r i s : Gallimard, 1962. . Entretiens avec l e Professeur Y. Pa r i s : Gallimard, 1955-I I . Works on Celine Beaujour, Michel. "La Quete du d e l i r e . " L'Herne, No. 3 (1963),'279-289. . "Temps et substances dans 'Voyage au bout de l a n u i t . ' " L'Herne, No. 5 (1965), 173-182. . "Celine, a r t i s t e du l a i d . " French Review, 38 (Dec. 196U), 180-190. Chesneau, A l b e r t . Essai de psychocritique de Louis-Ferdinand Celine. P a r i s : Minard, 1971. Debrie-Panel, N i c o l e . Louis-Ferdinand Celine. Lyon: Editions E. V i t t e , 1961. Hanrez, Marc. Celine. P a r i s : Gallimard, I 9 6 I . Hayman, David. Louis-Ferdinand Celine. New York: Columbia Uni v e r s i t y Press, 1965. Hindus, Milton. L.-F. Celine t e l que ,je l ' a i vu. P a r i s : Minard, I969. Holtus, Gunter. Untersuchungen zu S t i l und Konzeption von Celines "Voyage  au bout de l a n u i t . " Bern: Herbert Lang, 1972. La Queriere, Yves de. " E f f e t s de mots dans l e Voyage au bout de l a nuit de Celine." Diss. Columbia, 1967. Lavoinne, Yves. Voyage au bout de l a nuit de Celine. P a r i s : L i b r a i r i e Hachette, 1974. 200 Morand, Jacqueline. Les Idles p o l i t i q u e s de Celine. P a r i s : L i b r a i r i e generale de d r o i t et de jurisprudence, 1972. Ostrovsky, E r i k a . Celine and His V i s i o n . New York: New York University Press, 1967. . Voyeur voyant: P o r t r a i t of Louis-Ferdinand Celine. New York: Random House, 1972. Poulet, Robert. Mon ami Bardamu: Entretiens f a m i l i e r s avec Louis-Ferdinand  Celine. P a r i s : Plon, 1971. Richard, J.-P. La Nausee de Celine. Montpellier: Fata Morgana, 1973. Roux, Dominique de. La Mort de Celine. P a r i s : C h r i s t i a n Bourgeois, 1966. Roux, Dominique de (ed.). Les Cahiers de l'Herne. Nos. 3 (1963) and 5 (1965). Smith, Andre. La Nuit de L.-F. Celine. P a r i s : Grasset, 1973. Thiher, A l l e n . Celine: The Novel as Delirium. New Brunswick (N.J.): Rutgers Un i v e r s i t y Press, 1972. Vandromme, P o l . Celine. P a r i s : Editions U n i v e r s i t a i r e s , 1963. Vitoux, F r e d e r i c . Louis-Ferdinand Celine: Misere et parole. P a r i s : Gallimard, 1973. I I I . Works dealing with problems of c r i t i c a l method Barthes, Roland. S/Z. Paris : Editions du S e u i l , 1970. Booth, Wayne C. The Rhetoric of F i c t i o n . Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, I96I. Bouissac, Paul. "Analyse semiologique et analyse l i t t l r a i r e , " i n Problemes  de 1 'analyse t e x t u e l l e . Ed. Pi e r r e Leon et a l . Montreal: D i d i e r , 1971, PP. 51-61. Bourneuf, Roland and Ouellet, Real. L'Univers du roman. P a r i s : Presses U n i v e r s i t a i r e s de France, 1972. Bremond, Claude. "La logique des possibles n a r r a t i f s . " Communications 8 (1966), 60-76. Butor, Michel. Essais sur l e roman. P a r i s : Gallimard, 1969. 201 Falk, Eugene H. " S t y l i s t i c Forces i n the Narrative," i n Patterns of L i t e r a r y  S t y l e . Ed. Joseph Strelka. U n i v e r s i t y Park.and London: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1971, pp. 42-50. Friedman, Norman. "Point of View i n F i c t i o n : The Development of a C r i t i c a l Concept." PMLA, 70 (1955). Rpt. i n The Novel: Modern Essays i n C r i t i c i s m . Ed. R. M. Davis. Englewood C l i f f s (N.J.): P r e n t i c e - H a l l Inc., 1969, pp. 142-169. Frye, Northrop. Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m : Four Essays.. New York: Atheneum, 1967. Genette, Gerard. "Raisons de l a c r i t i q u e pure," i n Les Chemins actuels de l a c r i t i q u e . Ed.- Georges Poulet. P a r i s : Union generale d'Editions, 1968, pp. 125-141. Langer, Susanne K. Feeling and Form. New York: Scribner's, 1953. Lukacs, Georg. Studies i n European Realism. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1964. M i l l e r , Stuart. The Picaresque Novel. Cleveland: The Press of Case Western Reserve U n i v e r s i t y , 1967-Preminger, Alex (ed.). 'The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Princeton: Princeton U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1965. Ricardou, Jean. Problemes du nouveau roman. P a r i s : Editions du S e u i l , 1967. . Pour une theorie du nouveau roman. Pari s : Editions du S e u i l , 1971. — . "La B a t a i l l e de l a phrase." C r i t i q u e , No. 274 (1970), 226-256. . "Esquisse d'une theorie des generateurs," i n Positions et oppositions sur l e roman contemporain. Ed. Michel Mansuy. Pari s : Editions" Klincksieck, 1971, pp. 143-150. Robbe-Grillet, A l a i n . Pour un nouveau roman. P a r i s : Gallimard, 1963. Romberg, B e r t i l . Studies i n the Narrative Technique of the First-Person Novel. Stockholm: Almqvist and Wi k s e l l , 1962. Rossum-Guyon, Frangoise van. "Michel Butor et l e roman comme instrument de connaissance," i n Positions et oppositions sur l e roman contemporain. Ed. Michel Mansuy. P a r i s : Editions Klincksieck, 1971, PP- 163-174. Rousset, Jean. Forme et s i g n i f i c a t i o n . P a r i s : L i b r a i r i e Jose C o r t i , 1962. Sarraute, Nathalie. L'Ere du soupgon. P a r i s : Gallimard, 1956. 202 Todorov, Tzvetan. "Les categories du r e c i t l i t t e r a i r e . " Communications 8 (1966), 125-151. Ullmann, Stephen. The Image i n the Modern French Novel. Oxford: B a s i l Blackwell, 1963. Wellek, Rene and Warren, Austin. Theory of L i t e r a t u r e . New York: Harcourt, 1956. IV. Miscellaneous works c i t e d i n t h i s study Chevalier, Jean and•Gheerbrant, A l a i n . D i c t i o n n a i r e des symboles. P a r i s : Robert Laffont, 1969. La Rochefoucauld. Maximes. P a r i s : Editions Gamier Freres, 1967. Le Nouvel Qbservateur. No. 15, 25 February 1965, pp. 26-27. Valery, Paul. Oeuvres. Bibliotheque de l a Pleiade. P a r i s : Gallimard, 1957, Vol. I. 

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