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The structure of the tropism : a study of Les fruits d'or of Nathalie Sarraute Blenkinsop, Padraig John 1973

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THE STRUCTURE OF THE TROPISM. A STUDY OF LBS FRUITS D*OR OF NATHALIE SARRAUTE.  by PADRAIG JOHN BLBNKINSOP. B.A., University of Oxford, 1963. A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS.  i n the department of FRENCH  We accept t h i s thesis as conforming t o the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1973  In p r e s e n t i n g  t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r  an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t 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  study.  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 copying o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s .  be  granted by  the Head of my  I t i s understood t h a t copying or  of 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 written  permission.  Department of  French  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Vancouver 8 , Canada  Department or  Columbia  publication  allowed without  my  ABSTRACT With her very f i r s t book Hathalie Sarraute i n s i s t e d upon the importance importance,  of the tropism.  Though most c r i t i c a acknowledge i t s  only one has used i t as a key t o h i s study.  This thesis  proposes that the tropism i s c e n t r a l to the structure of Sarraute*s work and s p e c i f i c a l l y to that of Les F r u i t s The study presupposes  d'Or.  that the text of the novel i s the u l t i -  mate, objective source of evidence.  Following the suggestion of a  number of French s t r u c t u r a l i s t c r i t i c s , a d i s t i n c t i o n i s drawn between narrative and f i c t i o n , and the elements of each of these aspects of the novel are examined.  In Chapter 1, "Narrative, * are  studied Narrative Point of View, Narrative Structure, and S t y l e ; i n Chapter 2, "Aspects of the F i c t i o n , " appear the subsections, P l o t , Character, Space, and Time.  Because of the nature of Les F r u i t s  d'Or  a further chapter was needed t o explore the content of the work, so that Chapter 3, "Thematic Structure," deals with the p r i n c i p a l thanes and t h e i r i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p . The word "tropism" describes the process of adaptation of an organism t o i t s environment.  Sarraute uses i t to explore the  i n t e r i o r movements which her characters experience i n responding to events.  Thus we f i n d that the external event becomes no more than  a catalyst t o release those sensations which form the substance of the work.  The narrative point of view enables the reader t o experi-  ence the sensation simultaneously with the character, while the  structure reveals a c y c l i c a l pattern of c o n f l i c t and harmony corresponding t o that of the tropism.  In the s t y l e we f i n d both  the attempt t o create immediacy of dialogue and a language appropriate to the expression of sensation. With the vast expansion of the narrative, the f i c t i o n a l aspects of Lea F r u i t 3 d'Or become subsidiary. The plot i s a skeleton upon which to mould the f l e s h of the n a r r a t i v e , but i t conforms, with i t s pattern of action and reaction, to the tropism. ters l o s e f i c t i o n a l i n d i v i d u a l i t y  The  charac-  and become extensions of a uniform  psychology, which i s perceived i n terms of stimulus and  response.  Space and time have l o s t almost a l l f i c t i o n a l existence and have become psychological determinants  accounting f o r the pervading sense  of enclosure and of mechanical recurrence within the vast,  new  space-time of the t r o p i s t i c movements. The "mise en abime" at the centre of Les F r u i t s d'Or  creates  a t r i p l e l e v e l of meaning which i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n three themes.  The  f i r s t , "Art,** corresponds t o the plot and describes s a t i r i c a l l y the c y c l i c a l r i s e and decline of a novel.  At the second l e v e l ,  "Appearance and Reality' i l l u s t r a t e s the c o n f l i c t , central t o the 1  work, between the v i s i b l e and the f a i t , the hard and the s o f t .  The  theme, "Individual and Society," reveals the common a s p i r a t i o n f o r a harmony which i s e t e r n a l l y elusive.  Relating these themes we  f i n d , once again, the pattern of the tropism, a c y c l i c a l movement of stimulus and response i n which appear the basic rhythms of conf l i c t and r e - i n t e g r a t i o n . v Oar concentration upon the structure of the tropism leads,  /  i n conclusion, t o the h i g h - l i g h t i n g of c e r t a i n aspects of Sarraute's work.  The tropism i s both a v i s i o n of man'3 inner existence and a  v e h i c l e f o r i t s expression.  I t a l s o presents, however, a pessimistic  and deterministic view of the world.  Demonic imagery predominates  but the apocalyptic Is seen as a mere sham.  Authenticity i s never  more than a f l i c k e r i n g hope. The tropism i s common to a l l Sarraute's work, and her explorat i o n of man's psychological depths i s not unique i n l i t e r a t u r e .  Her  most important contribution t o the novel l i e s i n her v i s i o n of the inner world as man's true realm of a c t i o n and i n her provision of access t o that world by means of the tropism.  T A B L E  OF  C O N T E N T S Pago  LIST OF TABLES  i i  LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ACKNOWLEDGEMENT  i i i •  • •  INTRODUCTION CHAPTER I .  -iV-  :  1  NARRATIVE  12  Narrative Point of View Narrative Structure Style  13 23 36  CHAPTER I I .  .  ASPECTS OF THE FICTION  51  Plot Character Space Time CHAPTER I I I .  52 62 72 75 THEMATIC STRUCTURE  84  Introduction: "La Mise en Abtme * Themes: Art Appearance and Reality Individual and Society.-. Thematic Coherence 1  84  87  97 107 116  CONCLUSION  129  BIBLIOGRAPHY  139  i  LIST OF TABLES Table: 1« 2.  Page Analysis of the Pattern of A c t i o n of the Fourteen Sections Analysis of the Pattern o f Action of the Episodes of Section 4  3. Repetitions: 4.  pp. 106-107  Outline of the P l o t  32-34  39-40 55-56  5. The Patterns of Ten Selected P l o t Incidents 6. The Three Levels of Meaning i n Las F r a i t s d'Or 7.  27-28  "Le Batiment" as Leitmotif  ii  59-60 87 118-120  LIST OF TLLUSTRAT IONS Figure: 1.  2. 3«  4*  Page Comparison of Narrative and F i c t i o n a l Duration  76  Narrative and F i c t i o n a l Time i n Section 6 .  77  Narrative and F i c t i o n a l Time i n Section 5  76  Total Pattern of Narrative and F i c t i o n a l Time i n Les F r u i t s d'Or . . . . . . .  79  iii  ACKN0WI2DSEMENT  I should l i k e to take t h i s opportunity to thank those people whose assistance made possible the completion of t h i s t h e s i s .  The  prompt and e f f i c i e n t a t t e n t i o n of Dr. A l i s t a i r McKay t o questions and requests made the early, arduous stages of the work a great deal l e s s anxious.  M. Dominique Baudouin, who devotedly read the various  plans and d r a f t s , contributed invaluable suggestions.  To  Dr. C e c i l Jenkins I extend thanks f o r h i s continued interest and support, and admiration f o r h i s u n f a i l i n g good sense and sound advice.  F i n a l l y , t o my wife thanks are inadequate; without her  support, s p i r i t u a l , mental, and physical, I could never have completed t h i s study.  :iv  INTRODUCTION  ' Tropism ,  ,,  i s a s c i e n t i f i c term which describes the reaction  of an organism t o s t i m u l i from i t s environment* f i r s t book i s TTopismes,  1  The t i t l e of Sarraute*s  and i n her c r i t i c a l writings and interviews  she i s constantly returning t o these i n t e r i o r movements, which are the foundation of a l l her works.  The tropism describes f i g u r a t i v e l y  Sarraute*s v i s i o n of a world i n which people react t o one another as though i n accordance with b i o l o g i c a l laws of adaptation, rather than i n a free and r a t i o n a l manner* Those who have written about Sarraute have always mentioned the tropism and i t s importance but have r a r e l y studied i t s s i g n i f i canca i n the works.  An exception i s J . A. Flaming,  who f i n d s i n the  tropism the psychological movements w i t h i n the person and the emergence of sensation i n t o speech.  The main thrust of h i s a r t i c l e i s the  examination of the imagery, and s p e c i f i c a l l y the animal imagery, as i t i s used t o describe the double movement. In t h i s thesis the tropism i s seen as the basic s t r u c t u r a l p r i n c i p l e of Les F r u i t s d'Or, and i t s movement determines not only the choice of the imagery but every elamant of the novel, both i t s f i c t i o n and narrative.  The movement of the tropism i s not simple,  however, and i t i s not unique.  1957).  I f we might assume an o r i g i n a l state  ^Nathalie Sarraute, Tropismes (Paris:  ~*  Les Sditions de Minuit,  J o h a A. Fleming, "The Imagery ofiTropism,-*• i n Image and Theme, ed. by W. M. Frohock (Howard U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1969), pp. 74-98. 2  1  2 of harmony—though, i n f a c t , such a state never existed, as i s made c l e a r a t the beginning and at the end of Les F r u i t s d'Or3—a stimulus occurs t o disrupt i t , giving r i s e t o anxiety, imbalance and c o n f l i c t . A process of adaptation i s then set i n motion whose purpose i t i s to r e - e s t a b l i s h that assumed harmony between the organism and i t s environment.  A state of balance, once achieved, can only l a s t momentarily  for the transformation of organism, or environment, or both, impinges upon other adjacent organism.  Response or reaction i s i n e v i t a b l e .  In the following pages we s h a l l give our reasons f o r t h i s claim, b e l i e v i n g i t t o be based upon the evidence of the objective t e s t . At the same time we recognize the p a r t i a l i t y of the c r i t i c , f o r he i s a transl a t o r who can only put into new words what he sees on the page.  Jean  Rousset, confident of h i s new c r i t i c i s m , acknowledges i t s l i m i t a t i o n : Heme s i l a s a l s i e des s i g n i f i c a t i o n s a tra vers l e s formes m'assure un maximum de possession, je sais bien que l a r e l a t i o n de l'oeuvre et de son l e c t e u r , de createur et de son "ombre'' ne saurait se concevoir que sur l e mode d'un va-et-vient i n f i n i et d*une consommation que l'oeuvre seule r a s s a s l e . ^ L i t e r a r y objective truth, i f i t exists a t a l l , resides i n the text, and i t i s t o i t that the reader must return as h i s source of f i n a l reference.  Thus a dialogue i s created between text and reader, a  d i a l e c t i c i n which the reader i s involved i n a continuous process of discovery or, i n Barthes's terms, "naming."5  The value of t h i s concept  3jfe enter Les F r u i t s d'Or on a note of anxiety as the old Courbet vogue declines and leave as a new vogue gathers momentum. C o n f l i c t i s always there. ^Tean Rousset, Forme et S i g n i f i c a t i o n (Paris: Conti, 1962), p. x x i i i .  L i b r a i r i e Jose*  Poland Barthes states i n S/Z (Paris: Editions du S e u i l , 1970), p. 17: " L i r e c'est trouver des sens, et trouver des sens, c'est l e s nommer.".  3 of l i t e r a t u r e i s that i t enables us t o discern more c l e a r l y the mixture of subjective and objective operations l i t e r a r y ccmnaunication.  that take place i n  Both the author and the reader bring t o the text  an amalgam of personal attitudes and attributes, but there remains the text whose objective existence can never be dismissed. Todorov, i n an a r t i c l e i n Communications,^ has attempted t o e s t a b l i s h o b j e c t i v i t y by drawing a d i s t i n c t i o n between the of c r i t i c i s m and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n .  functions  C r i t i c i s m i s an objective study of  the basic elements of the text, while i n t e r p r e t a t i o n judges i t according t o external and therefore subjective c r i t e r i a .  The d i s t i n c -  t i o n i s made i n the two following quotations i n which Todorov uses the words "sens" and "interpretation*': 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 y 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. . • . L»interpretation d'un Element de l'oeuvre est differente suivant l a personnalite du c r i t i q u e , ses positions ideologiques, suivant l'epoque. Pour etre interprete, 1'element est inclus dans un systems qui n'est pas c e l u i de l'oeuvre mais c e l u i du critique.7 R e a l i s t i c a l l y , however, i t must be objected t o Todorov*s argument that such a d i v i s i o n e x i s t s only i d e a l l y and that the human agent, be he c r i t i c or interpreter, does not p r a c t i s e i n t h i s manner. An Interpretation can never be t o t a l l y subjective and, more important f o r our purposes, a c r i t i c i s always involved t o some extent i n interpretation. 6jzvetan Todorov, "Les Categories du Recit L i t t e r a i r e , " Communications, T i l l (Paris: Centre d'Etudes de Communication de Masse,  1966), pp. 125-51. 7  I b i d . , pp. 125-26.  4 While we would argue f o r a much greater measure of s u b j e c t i v i t y i n c r i t i c i s m than would Todorov, we do not wish t o deny textual objectivity, f o r t h i s would seem t o preclude a l l meaningful c r i t i c a l a c t i v i t y and communication.  I f the i n i t i a l reaction to a work,  the ultimate judgment o f i t , and the s i g n i f i c a n c e of r e l a t i o n s h i p s discovered  are directed by c r i t e r i a within the reader, yet, t o the  extent that these responses and c r i t e r i a are communicable and can be tested, the text i s objective.  The nature of relationships may be  subject t o disagreement, but that there are relationships can hardly be i n doubt* These are the assumptions upon which we base our study.  We do  not claim u n i v e r s a l i t y f o r our findings but t r u s t that they o f f e r a possible, productive way of approaching the t e x t .  Meaning, as Barthea  a  has s a i d , i s p l u r a l ,  and i t i s our purpose t o reveal or provide access  to a t l e a s t some of the dimensions of meaning i n Les F r u i t s d'Or. The reader approaches l i t e r a r y meaning from two points,  conceptually  separable, but which are i n e x t r i c a b l e , i f not i d e n t i c a l . I f a t f i r s t he i s p r i n c i p a l l y aware of incidents, characters, and ideas, l a t e r he becomes conscious of further relationships interwoven i n the t e x t . The text has a doable f u n c t i o n :  that of presenting  objects t o the  reader, and that of d i r e c t i n g h i s a t t e n t i o n t o them i n a c e r t a i n manner.  The two aspects of meaning have t r a d i t i o n a l l y been c a l l e d  "Content•» and "Form," but recently other terms have been used. % a r t h e a writes i n S/Z, pp. 11-12, that the i d e a l text i s p l u r a l , i t s meanings are i n f i n i t e . "Posons d'abord l'image d'un p l u r i e l triomphant, que ne vient apprauvrir aucune oontrainte de representation (d'imitation). Bans ce texte i d e a l , l e s reseaux sont multiples et jouent entre eux, sans qu'aucun puisse c o i f f e r l e s autres; ce texte est on galaxie de s i g n i f i a n t s , non une structure de s i g n i f i e s . "  5 Todorov describes the difference using the words " h i s t o i r e " and "discours." Au niveau l e plus general, l'oeuvre l i t t e r a i r e a deux aspects: e l l e est en meme temps une h i s t o i r e et un discours. E l l e est h i s t o i r e , dans ce sens qu'elle evoque une certaine r e a l i t e , des evenements qui se seralent passes, des personnages que, de ce point de vue, se confondent avec ceux de l a v i e r e a l l s . . • Mais l'oeuvre est en meme temps discours: i l e x i s t s un narrateur qui r e l a t e 1 ' h i s t o i r e ; et en face de l u i 11 y a un l e c t e u r qui l e p e r c o i t . A ce niveau ce no sont pas l e s evenements rapportes qui comptent mais l a facon dont l e narrateur nous l e s a f a i t eonnaitre.9 RLcardou i n his book Problemes du Nouveau Roman makes the same point more s u c c i n c t l y with yet d i f f e r e n t terms.  n  . . . l a narration est  l a maniere de conter, l a f i c t i o n ce qui est conte; l'une et l'autre determinant l e s deux faces du langage." ® 1  Our own study w i l l be structured about t h i s same d i s t i n c t i o n and we s h a l l usually make use of Rioardou's terminology.  Thus our  f i r s t chapter w i l l be e n t i t l e d "Narrative * and our second, "Aspects 1  of the F i c t i o n . "  One of the most important features of  work i s the decline of the r o l e of f i c t i o n .  Sarraute's  To a l a r g e extent  p l o t or story, character, time and place have become functions of the narrative, very much i n the manner described by Rousset i n h i s introduction t o Forme et S i g n i f i c a t i o n , i n which h i s main thesis i s that the form, o r structure, i t s e l f generates meaning.  "C'est  l'oeuvre, c'est l a structure de l'oeuvre qui est i n v e n t r i c e : 'une forme est feconde en i d l e s ' . "  1 1  Sarraute h e r s e l f has expressed t h i s  t o d o r o v , "Les Categories du Recit L i t t e r a i r e , " pp. 125-26. J e a n Eicardou, Problemes du Nouveau Roman du S e u i l , 1967), p. 1 1 . 1 0  •^Rousset, Forme et S i g n i f i c a t i o n , p. v i i .  (Paris:  Editions  6 i n a number of c r i t i c a l essays, e s p e c i a l l y i n r e l a t i o n t o her discussion of p l o t and c h a r a c t e r .  12  Perhaps we should not take Sarraute's  writings about l i t e r a t u r e too u n c r i t i c a l l y but see them rather as polemical introductions t o her works.  However, i n t h i s case, her  judgment seems t o be substantiated f i r s t l y by a reading of her f i c t i o n a l works and secondly by other c r i t i c s .  Wayne Booth, i n h i s only  reference t o Sarraute i n a footnote t o h i s work The Rhetoric of F i c t i o n , ' * places her a t the l i m i t of f i c t i o n . 1  " N i h i l i s m " i s the  word that Booth a p p l i e s t o a novel which might be written without i l l u m i n a t i o n and r e s o l u t i o n .  While maintaining that there i s an implied  author i n Sarraute's works, he nevertheless f e e l s that her p a r t i c u l a r employment of the multiple point of view leads her t o the verge of n i h i l i s m where nothing can be ascertained or stated with c e r t a i n t y . In a work of t h i s kind not only could the narrator and reader move together through the unanswered questions as they a r i s e , but presumably the implied author would move with them; no one could be wiser f o r having read the book. The author of such a work must leave the a c t i o n unresolved: any r e s o l u t i o n would imply a standard of values i n r e l a t i o n t o which one s i t u a t i o n would be more f i n a l than another. Only an unresolved sense of meaningless continuation could do Justice t o a f u l l n i h i l i s m of t h i s kind. 14 Bearing i n mind t h i s imbalance,  or new balance, of narrative  and f i c t i o n , we can proceed to an outline of chapter 2 , "Narrative," i n which we s h a l l discuss f i r s t the point of view.  Above a l l , we s h a l l  examine the r e l a t i v e r o l e s and the r e l a t i o n s h i p of author, reader, and  12  3 e e , f o r example, Nathalie Sarraute, "L'Bre du Soupcon,"  L'Bre du Soupcon (Paris:  Gallimard, 1956), pp. 55-77.  •'•^Wayne C. Booth, The Rhetoric of F i c t i o n , University of Chicago Press, 1961. 1 4  I b i d . , p. 297.  7 character.  The primary place of the narrative point of view i s  indicated, f o r i t i s the v i s i o n which d i r e c t s and determines the disposing of the various elements of the t e x t .  Proust probably used  the word " s t y l e " i n the broadest sense of l i t e r a r y invention when he s a i d " l e s t y l e est une question non de technique, mais de v i s i o n . " The narrative structure evolves naturally, from the point of view.  I t i s t h i s structure which provides the basic pattern of the  work.  Comprehending a l l i t s elements, i t sets them i n a c e r t a i n  rhythmical order, which becomes what might be c a l l e d the law or the f a t e of the f i c t i o n a l world created. concentrate  In Les F r u i t s d'Or we  our attention upon the "tropism," the term that  shall Sarraute  has used to describe the underlying rhythm of her own works. " S t y l e " i s the t h i r d subsection of t h i s chapter, and i n i t we s h a l l observe the movements of the narrative at the l e v e l of sentence and word.  The same v i s i o n which determines the t o t a l s t r u c -  ture of the work accounts f o r the structure of the sentence and language.  the  The point i s made by S p i t z e r :  L*esprit d'un auteur est une sorte de systems s o l a i r e dans 1'.orbits duquel toutes l e s choses sont a t t i r e e s : l e langage, l i n t r i g u e , etc., ne sont que des s a t e l l i t e s de cette entite, 1 ' e s p r i t de l'auteur.^-5 1  In examining the style, we s h a l l attempt, then, to set our study i n the context of our previous discussions.  We  s h a l l look above a l l at  the various devices that are used to imitate speech, the struggle to express oneself, and the v a r i a t i o n i n expression between thought or  "'•-'Leo S p i t z e r ; quoted by P i e r r e Guirard (Paris: U n i v e r s i t a i r e s de France, 1963), p. 73.  Presses  8 sensation and speech. In chapter 3* "Aspects of the F i c t i o n , " we turn to the f i c t i o n , to the "what * of the book. 1  Roland Barthes distinguishes beneath the 16  narrative two other l e v e l s of the " r e c i t " :  "fonction," and "action."  These could be broadly translated as plot and character.  Related t o  these l e v e l s are time and space, the former being c l o s e l y l i n k e d to the progress of the p l o t , while the l a t t e r can p e r t a i n t o e i t h e r l e v e l .  In  our discussion of the f i c t i o n a l aspects of the work we s h a l l be cons t a n t l y aware of the dominance of the narrative, of the process over the content, and the very d e l i b e r a t e e f f o r t made by Sarraute to de-emphasize what she sees as the d i s t r a c t i n g elements of the f i c t i o n . The p l o t , according to E. H. Falk, ''' i s a "chain of coherent 1  events i n sequential order."  This distinguishes i t c l e a r l y from the  narrative f o r , i f the narrative provides relationships of necessity, the elements of the p l o t are l i n k e d by p r o b a b i l i t y , by conformity everyday norms. d'Or,  to  The p l o t does not have a prominent place i n Les F r u i t s  and the sequential movement r e f l e c t s the dominant pattern of the  narrative. S i m i l a r l y , the character loses the primary p o s i t i o n that he held i n " t r a d i t i o n a l novels."  Roland Barthes places the character, the  "action," above the l e v e l of f i c t i o n , and both he and Todorov use the word "agent" f o r the character.  This i s p a r t i c u l a r l y appropriate f o r  the nameless people of Sarraute*s world, i n which character and incident l^Roland Barthes, "Introduction a 1'Analyse Struoturale des R e c i t s , " Communications, T i l l ( P a r i s : Centre d'Etudesde Communication de Masse, 1966), pp. 1-27. ^Eugene H. Falk, Types of Thematic Structure Chicago Press, 196?).  (University of  are so c l o s e l y i d e n t i f i e d . Two other aspects of the f i c t i o n reveal c l e a r l y the predominance of narration over f i c t i o n .  F i c t i o n a l space and time are remarkable by  t h e i r almost complete absence.  They have been reduced and encircled by  the vast expansion of the time and space of the n a r r a t i v e . Another approach t o the content of a work i s through i t s themes, and we s h a l l examine three themes i n chapter 4»  Thematic Structure.'*  Of central importance i n the structure of Les F r u i t s d'Or i s the "mise en abime."  The juxtaposition and r i v a l r y of the books  creates  a complex pattern of meaning, and t h i s we s h a l l i l l u s t r a t e by means of the themes of "Art, * of "Appearance and R e a l i t y , " and of "Individual 1  and Society."  We s h a l l also study the thematic structure following  the approach taken by £ . H. Falk.  He analyzes three books, each of  18 which i s decreasingly structured f i c t i o n a l l y .  In the l a s t , l a Nausea,  he f i n d s l i t t l e story and h i s analysis i s therefore based on the coherence of the themes of the p l o t .  In h i s b r i e f conclusion he outlines the  approach to works l i k e l a Nausea, of which we might consider Les F r u i t s d'Or an extreme example.  "...  the more story and plot are under-  emphasized the more does the unity of the structure depend upon the generic coherence of i t s themes." ^ 1-  To conclude our introduction, we s h a l l discuss the t i t l e , f o r i t i s e i t h e r a catalyst or r e f l e c t o r of the work as a whole.  Les F r u i t s  d'Or are the f i r s t words of the book that we read and w i l l i n e v i t a b l y 18  J e a n - P a u l Sartre, l a Nausea  (Paris:  Gallimard, 1938).  ^ F a l k , Types of Thematic Structure, p. 178.  10 r a i s e questions and expectations. explicit, Grandet.  Some of these we s h a l l t r y to make  l e s F r u i t s d'Or can be a t i t l e l i k e Mme.Bovary or Eugenie I t i s a book whose ostensible subject, or even hero, i s a  book c a l l e d "Les F r u i t s d'Or."  But there i s an opacity and an  ambiguity about t h i s t i t l e , f o r i t i s not obviously a name, and the words conjure up a number of d i f f e r e n t images.  There i s the immediate  suggestion of c l a s s i c a l myth with the golden apples taken by Hercules from the garden of the Hesperides; there i s Jason's Golden Fleece; there i s the apple offered by P a r i s to Aphrodite, and H. M. Alberes 20 l i n k s the golden f r u i t t o the punishment of Tantalus.  Each of these  associations contains the concept of the " i d e a l , " the quest f o r a distant goal* t h i s way  Gold usually has t h i s connotation, and i t i s used i n  i n the text when there i s a reference t o "les nombres d ' o r . * The opposite i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s also p o s s i b l e .  21  Gold can be  thought of as money, and we could liken golden f r u i t t o the golden c a l f of the wandering I s r a e l i t e s , f i n d i n g i n i t the idea of the f a l s e or the artificial.  This i n t e r p r e t a t i o n can be supported by the obvious con-  f l i c t between the hardness of the metal and the softness of the f r u i t . The suggestion i s made that the f r u i t i s i l l u s o r y , and we know that Sarraute i s keenly interested i n " t r a m p e - l ' o e i l . "  22  The quest f o r an ideal and the c o n f l i c t between the r e a l and the f a l s e emerge as the main suggestions of the t i t l e , Les F r u i t s R. M. Alberes, Le Roman d'AuJourd'hui (Paris: A l b i n Michel, 1970), p. 219. 20  ^ N a t h a l i e Sarraute, Les F r u i t s d'Or  (Paris:  d'Or.  Editions  Gallimard, 1963),  p. 62. S e e below, p. 98, f o r a discussion of "trompe-l'oeil" and the source of the t i t l e , Les F r u i t s d'Or. 2 2  11 The main focus of the thesis i s the tropism whose basic movement i s that of adaptation.  At f i r s t t h i s seems to be very f a r removed from  the quest and the c o n f l i c t of appearance and r e a l i t y , but the organism i s i n a constant state of c o n f l i c t with i t s environment, f o r the perfect harmony which i t seeks, the i d e a l , can be r e a l i z e d only i n a s t a t i o condition, which, by d e f i n i t i o n , cannot exist where there Is l i f e , f o r l i f e i s movement*  I NARRATIVE — O h ecoute, tu es t e r r i b l e , tu pourrais f a i r e un e f f o r t . . • j ' e t a i s horriblement genee. . • ---Genee? Qu'est-ee que tu vas encore chercher? Pourquoi genee, mon Dieu? — C ' e t a i t t e r r i b l e quand i l a s o r t i cette carte postale. * • l a reproduction. . . 3 2  The i n i t i a l impression  of Les F r u i t s d'Or  i s that of entering  a room, by mistake, i n the midst of a conversation which i s too personal and too unfamiliar f o r us to follow.  At the beginning of the book  there i s no s i t u a t i o n of the action, no d e s c r i p t i o n of the characters, nothing which we can grasp or which w i l l help us to i d e n t i f y where we are, who  the people are, and what i t i s that they are discussing.  We  become, consequently, acutely aware of the language used and i t s s l i g h t e s t i n f l e c t i o n s , as well as of the l e a s t gesture which w i l l  indi-  cate states of mind and r e l a t i o n s h i p s . I t becomes c l e a r e r , as we read further, that the subject of the conversation i s a previous conversation with a t h i r d person and that t h i s , i n i t s turn, was  about the painting of Courbet.  But Courbet  himself i s not important to our two speakers. St ce n'est pas Courbet. I I ne s'agit pas de ca. J ' a i essaye de l e s v o i r , l e s fameux Courbet, j'y s u i s a l l ! a l'heure du dejeuner pour n'y rencontrer personne. Regarder un peu a tdte reposee. Eh bien, pas de chance. Impossible d'echapper. . • Sur l ' e s c a l i e r . . .24 2  3sarraute, Les F r u i t s d'Or,  % b i d . , p.  11.  12  p. 7,  /  13 Courbet, as a subject, i s dismissed, just as are "Les F r u i t s  d'Or"  and i t s author, Brehier, throughout the rest of the book, never emerging from the obscurity of the oblique reference and the empty generality passed i n the process of a conversation about something else.  The  apparent subject provides a v e h i c l e f o r the true focus of a t t e n t i o n , which i s the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between people, and between people and objects*  We become conscious of a constant interplay of d i f f e r i n g  points of view, a process of a c t i o n and r e a c t i o n which may  be  expressed  i n discussion or argument but, more frequently, i s seen as a c o n f l i c t w i t h i n the mind of one character or another.  The manner i n which the  reactions and r e l a t i o n s h i p s are perceived i s c r u c i a l t o the study of the meaning of the work and i t i s , therefore, to the question of the point of view that we turn f i r s t .  The Narrative Point of View A b e a u t i f u l infatuation t h i s always, I think, the i n t e n s i t y of the c r e a t i v e e f f o r t to get into the s k i n of the creature.--Henry James. The most notable feature of the point of view i n Les F r u i t s i s the dominant r o l e given to the characters. thoughts of the characters nothing e x i s t s .  d'Or  Beyond the words and  The other and the object  are perceived through the eyes or imagination of the people who inhabit t h i s world that Sarraute has created.  Such a point of view does not  represent a complete break with the past, f o r previous writers, notably V i r g i n i a Woolf, have employed the same technique.  I t i s to be noted  that t h i s enlargement,of the character, to the point at which he occupies the whole foreground of the screen of r e a l i t y presented to us, i s not simply a formal device but i s l i n k e d e s s e n t i a l l y t o the content  14 of the work.  To see the irorld s o l e l y through the eyes of the charac-  t e r s i s to see a world d i f f e r e n t from that described by means of the interventions of author or narrator. Northrop Frye, i n h i s theory of Modes, ^ has described an 2  h i s t o r i c a l sequence which evolves from the divine, i n early mythology, t o the i r o n i c , a t the present time.  This s h i f t i n the conception of  the hero i n l i t e r a t u r e i s c l o s e l y related to that found by Friedman i n h i s "stages" of narrative point of view.  0  At one end of the continuum  he sets " e d i t o r i a l omniscience," a t the other the "dramatic mode** i n which, of course, the author i s i n v i s i b l e and the observer i s aware only of the characters.  While Friedman's continuum l i e s between n o n - f i c t i o n a l  or d i s c u r s i v e w r i t i n g and drama, i t i s not d i f f i c u l t t o place i t i n an h i s t o r i c a l perspective. The early modes of Frye's sequence, the divine and the heroic, would correspond to the omniscient stages of Friedman's model.  S i m i l a r l y , the l a t e r modes of "low mimesis" and "irony" would  be associated with "Selective" or "Multiple S e l e c t i v e  Omniscience,"  that i s , the points of view that are prevalent today as never before. In short, the content, which i s none other than man  i n h i s environment,  i s d i r e c t l y associated with the form i n which that content i s both perceived and presented. The r e a l i t y that Sarraute seeks i s not that of the c l a s s i c a l Greek hero nor even that of the bourgeois r e a l i s t s of the nineteenth century.  I t i s the r e a l i t y of the world of the middle of the twentieth 2  5Northrop  1966), pp. 3 > 6 7 .  Frye, Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m (New York:  Atheneum,  ^Norman Friedman, "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. LXX (Deo. 1955), 1160-84. 2  15 century, a r e a l i t y that has been transformed by s c i e n t i f i c and technol o g i c a l change, but a l s o — a n d t h i s i s more important f o r our  study—  i n the eyes of Sarraute, i t has been transformed by the v i s i o n of the n o v e l i s t s , Dostoevsky, Proust and Joyce, as w e l l as by the discoveries of Freud and by e x i s t e n t i a l i s m .  Like V i r g i n i a Woolf, ? she wishes to 2  plumb "les endroits obscurs de l a psychologic" and she has c l e a r 28  a f f i n i t i e s with the mainstream of French existentialism.  No longer  can she look at the world i n the manner of the " t r a d i t i o n a l " n o v e l i s t . In L'Ere du Soupcon, she introduces the question of the point of view during her attack on the obsolete formulae used f o r i n d i c a t i n g speech. C'est qu'elles [the formulae] sont en quelque sorte l e symbole de l'ancien regime, l e point on se separe avec l e plus de n e t t e t l l a nouvelle et l'ancienne conception du roman. EL les marquent l a place a l a q u e l l e l e romancier a toujours s i t u s ses personhages: en un point aussi e l o i g n l de lui-meme que des l e c t e u r s ; a l a place ou se trouvent l e s joueurs d'un match de tennis, l e romancier etant a c e l l e de l ' a r b i t r e juche" sur son siege, s u r v e i l l a n t l e jeu et annoncant . l e s points aux spectateurs (en l'occurrence l e s l e c t e u r s ) , i n s t a l l e s sur l e s gradins.29 The image of the tennis match enables us to see more c l e a r l y , by cont r a s t with the point of view that she discerns i n the " t r a d i t i o n a l " novel, the r e l a t i o n s h i p that she h e r s e l f has established between author, reader, and character. 7The s i m i l a r i t i e s i n the preoccupations of Sarraute and Woolf i s astonishing. An essay of Woolf »s l i k e "Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown" i s so close i n content and s t y l e to one of Sarraute's that one could . r e a d i l y believe they were written by the same pen. In each the gently s a r c a s t i c tone i s interspersed with sudden passages of b i t t e r attack on the phenomenological obsessions of the " t r a d i t i o n a l " school. 2  28 Sartre d i d not write the Preface to P o r t r a i t d'an Inconnu simply to encourage a struggling, new novelist. What he wrote there shows that he found much i n Sarraute's work that was akin to h i s own view of the human condition. (  Sarraute, L'Ere du Soupcon, pp. 108-09  16 F i r s t l y , Sarraute, as authoress, i s no longer "umpire." sense that she  In the  selects and arranges every element i n the work, she i s  no d i f f e r e n t from any other w r i t e r .  But i n the usual sense of the  word "omniscient," when used i n a l i t e r a r y context, she has relegated the authoress t o a p o s i t i o n i n which, l i k e the dramatist, she i s i n v i s i b l e to the reader.  She never intervenes i n the action e i t h e r  i n the form of a d i r e c t address to her reader, or even through a narrator.  There i s no "implied author," t o use the terminology of  30 Wayne Booth, nor i s i t possible to i n d i c a t e with absolute assurance J  31 what Todorov c a l l s the appreciative point of view,  f o r Sarraute*s  own point of vie?/ i n Les F r u i t s d'Or i s a matter of speculation and preference on the part of the reader. Towards the end of the work we hear, ever more i n s i s t e n t l y , a single voice involved i n a personal struggle over i t s own view of Brehier's book and that of the l i t e r a r y c i r c l e , which i s the population of the work.  The echo of t h i s voice has been heard e a r l i e r i n s i m i l a r ,  l e s s p e r s i s t e n t voices.  C o l l e c t i v e l y , i t i s a voice which speaks i n  terms of immediate and personal sensation, of a natural or organic response to what i s b e a u t i f u l .  M. Tison Braun i n her study, Nathalie  Sarraute ou l a Recherche de l ' A u t h e n t i o i t e , ^ i d e n t i f i e s t h i s voice 2  as that of Sarraute, a view that can be supported by reference t o the authoress's  c r i t i c a l writing.  But the text alone gives us no reason  to believe t h i s voice rather than another, since no i n d i c a t i o n i s provided 30Booth, The Rhetoric of F i o t i o n . 3*Todorov, Les Categories du Roc i t L i t t e r a i r e , p. 1^6. ^T.ison  t i c U S (Paris:  Br.aun, Nathalie Sarraute ou l a Recherche de l'AuthenGallimard, 1971). \  17 by the a u t h o r e s s . ^  indeed,  the language associated with authenticity,  that of the imperceptible v i b r a t i o n and the unseen p o t e n t i a l , i s used by people whose evidence i s c l e a r l y u n r e l i a b l e .  In Section 2, one of  the persona of the character speaking with Brule' i s that of the man who says of himself:  "Je suis l i b r e , je suis f o r t , je suis integre et  f r a n c " (p. 38). Yet t h i s same character i s able t o transform himself, Proteus-like, into the obsequious and a t t e n t i v e host or the arrogant master who banishes the servants t o the pantry.  In Section 4, a woman  suddenly reverses her opinion of "Les F r u i t s d'Or" f o r the very dubious reason that the man she i d o l i z e s , Luoien, has contradicted her.  She,  too, employs the vocabulary of "authenticity" to describe the change: "Une  onde tiede l a parcourt, one douce vibration, l'exquise t i t i l l a t i o n  de 1'humilit!, de l a devotion, devant ces s i g n e s — i n f a i l l i b l e s , e l l e ne s'y trompe j a m a i s — . . . " ^ The role of the authoress has been diminished, and she has concealed h e r s e l f behind her characters. part has grown i n importance.  At the same time, the reader's  No longer occupying the stand f o r  spectators, he i s expected t o make h i s own judgments of the game, although h i s view of i t and h i s understanding of the rules are l i m i t e d . From h i s former p o s i t i o n of passive observation, the reader has been projected into an a c t i v e p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the a c t i o n and the incidents which take place before h i s eyes.  This conforms t o Sarraute*s view of  can be claimed that, as l a s t voice to be heard i n the book, t h i s speaker has greater authority and that h i s admiration of Brehier i s l i k e l y t o be authentic. But however true h i s own f e e l i n g s may be, i f nobody l i s t e n s t o him, h i s personal a u t h e n t i c i t y i s useless and perhaps meaningless. Neither he nor h i s opinions can survive i n i s o l a t i o n , and he i n e v i t a b l y returns t o h i s s o c i e t y .  Sarraute,  Les F r u i t s d'Or, p. 58.  18 of the reader's role expressed i n L'Bre du Soupcon*  The old l a z y habits  of reading are over, banished by the scepticism of the age: Les loupes et l e s g i l e t s rayes^ l e s caractlres et l e s intrigues pourraient continuer a v a r i e r a l ' i n f i n i sans reveler aujourd'hui autre chose qu'une r e a l i t e dont chacun connalt, pour 1'avoir parcourue en tous sens, l a moindre p a r c e l l e * Au l i e u , comma au temps de Balzac, d ' i n c i t e r l e l e c t e u r a acceaer a une v e r i t e qui se conquiert de haute l u t t e , i l s sont une concession dangereuse a son penchant a l a p a r e s s e — et aussi a c e l u i de l ' a u t e u r — a sa c r a i n t e du depaysement.35 The reader experiences the events simultaneously with the characters of the book, but t h i s does not mean that he i s t o t a l l y i d e n t i f i e d with them i n the way that i s possible with the single person narrative of P o r t r a i t d'un Inconnu^and Martereau.^  7  In the f i r s t place,  the a c t i o n i s never situated i n any c l e a r l y described environment, so we must suppose that the reader i s privy to only c e r t a i n selected areas of the characters' consciousness.  Secondly, the reader has access to  a number of d i f f e r e n t consciousnesses with the result that his attention i s directed away from the subject to the object, from the i n d i v i d u a l character to the society or world i n which the character i s immersed. I t also r e s u l t s i n a greater demand f o r him to p a r t i c i p a t e , that i s , to judge and evaluate what he has witnessed from a v a r i e t y of viewpoints. And t h i r d l y , the reader i s not, i t seems, situated so much within the character as beside him or at h i s shoulder, as one c r i t i c remarked: . Le narrateur n'est pas dans l a conscience de 1*autre et ne pretend nullement a 1'exactitude d'une t r a n s c r i p t i o n . II d i t ce q u ' i l s a l t de 1'autre (entendons: ce q u ' i l  •^Sarraute, L'Bre du Soupcon, p. 63* ^ S a r r a u t e , P o r t r a i t d'un Inconnu,(Paris: ^ S a r r a u t e , Martereau  (Paris:  Gallimard, 1956).  Gallimard, 1953).  19 imagine), et i l l e d i t non pas sous l a forme d'une analyse e x p l i c a t i v e ou d'une d e s c r i p t i o n objective, mais sous l a forme d*un discours pretS, a travers l e q u e l se forme l e personnage de 1 • a u t r e , 3 ° The e f f e c t of t h i s i s f e l t i n the use of " j e " and characters.  " i l * * or " e l l e " by the  I t i s a nice d i s t i n c t i o n , but one which i s important to  the point of view f o r i t constantly changes the sense of distance between the reader and the character.  I f , at the end of the book,  the f i r s t person becomes the dominant note, we f i n d elsewhere that the t h i r d person i s frequently used i n the expression of intimate f e e l i n g s , while on other occasions the f i r s t and t h i r d persons both appear i n the same context.  This i s , f o r instance, the case of the w r i t e r who  f e e l s himself t o be replaced i n the estimation of the group by the meteoric r i s e of Brehier to popularity (Section 4). apprehension i s i n the f i r s t person:  His f i r s t cry of  " C a s t moi, moi qui suis tou che,  jete" a t e r r e , moi que cette brute s e r v i l e encore tout recemment encensait, moi devant qui e l l e se prosternait. *-^ Immediately afterwards, however, 1  there i s a switch to the t h i r d person, though there i s no i n d i c a t i o n of a change of narrator and, indeed, there i s no reason t o suppose that there has been a change.  n  I l est depouille, dechu, replace* dans l e rang,  menace de mort, l a sueur perle sur son f r o n t , ses jambes mollissent, i l se sent p a l i r , i t d e f a i l l e . . J/*  0  Sarraute «s use of the f i r s t  and  t h i r d person pronouns well i l l u s t r a t e s Roland Barthes's view that e i t h e r can serve the purpose of personal n a r r a t i o n .  Nevertheless,  the use of  B e r n a r d Pingaud, personnage dans P o e u v r e de Nathalie Sarraute," Preuvea, CLIY ( 1 9 6 3 ) , p. 2 9 . ^ S a r r a u t e , Les F r u i t s d'Or,  p.  80.  20 " i l " and "elle" does create a greater distance between the character and the reader. Already, i n looking at the roles of authoress and reader, we have found ourselves discussing them in terms of the character, for i t i s this last role that has become most prominent. The characters, or the players, are no more to be viewed from off court, and the authoress, by intention, and the reader, by her design, i f not actually players, appear adjacent to the players, watching every shot from the court itself.  As i f emulating Hamlet, Sarraute has made use of her book to  trap the consciousness of her reader. A l l that is known of the world and society, that we enter i n Les F r u i t s d'Or, is known through the mediation of the characters.  But  there i s no one identifiable person whom we can isolate as reliable and against whose view we can measure incidents of the work. Sarraute i s not using the technique of "selective omniscience,"41 as she did i n her f i r s t two works, but that of M u l t i p l e selective omniscience."  Friedman's  terminology, however, i s not too appropriate i n Sarraute's case because the characters are very far from omniscient.  Each individual view which  the reader shares i s , indeed, severely limited and personal.  The only  sense i n which the reader can be said to have omniscience i s i n his access to many points of view. The narrative moves from character to character to group, each eye and mind providing a different dimension of the scene. In the f i r s t section of the book there are three main points of  Friedman, T o i n t of View in Fiction,» pp. ll?6-78.  a view, though one of these i s a projection of the imagination of the two characters who  speak.  Frequently, we f i n d two points of view i n a  section and the narrative alternates between them. e.g., Sections 3, 5, 13,  In other s e c t i o n s —  1 4 — t h e r e i s only one voice, whether i t be a  single person, such as Brehier i n Section 3 or the c o l l e c t i v e voice of the group i n Section 13. points of view.  On two occasions there i s a m u l t i p l i c i t y of  This i s c e r t a i n l y the case i n Section 4  i n  which the  narration moves from person to person i n the c i r c l e gathered to discuss Les F r u i t s d'Or.  In Section 7, despite the v a r i e t y of views expressed,  i t might be argued that they are a l l but minor variations on the s i n g l e theme of Brehier's  genius.  One r e s u l t of t h i s use of the multiple narrator i s that r e a l i t y loses i t s o b j e c t i v i t y or, rather, that the object i s now defined by the c o l l e c t i o n of subjective views.  In her second novel, Martereau,  Sarraute has given us an image of an apparently objectively e x i s t i n g personality, that of Martereau, breaking down i n t o a number of component, and often c o n f l i c t i n g , facets, each of which i s projected by a d i f f e r e n t character or r e f l e c t e d by a d i f f e r e n t s i t u a t i o n .  Le  Planetarium^  2  c e r t a i n l y contains objects; we can think of the door i n the apartment of " l a tante Berthe," of the l i t t l e settee bought by A l a i n and " G i s e l e — mon  amour, ma f e m m e — o r of the person of Germaine Lemaire.  But a l l  these objects hold d i f f e r e n t meanings according t o the s i t u a t i o n of the viewer.  In Les F r u i t s d'Or the object i s nothing more than a projection  of the subjective, an existence created by the consensus of subjective  ^ N a t h a l i e Sarraute, Le Planetarium, Gallimard, 1959). '  Livres de Poche. (Paris:  22 views.  The central object of the work, l e s F r u i t s d'Or," i s never  described and i s encountered only i n the judgments, often contradictory, passed on i t .  I t i s not established objectively and, at the end, i n  the terms of existence understood by the l i t e r a r y society, i t i s as though i t never existed. r  I t i s t h i s subjective presentation of r e a l i t y that accounts f o r the confusion of the reader, which we noted a t the beginning of t h i s chapter.  R e a l i t y has been made i n f i n i t e l y complex by the use of a point  of view which leaves the reader to f i n d his own way through the conf l i c t i n g testimony of the character-narrators.  Sarraute has, by her i  absence, by her r e j e c t i o n of t r a d i t i o n a l omniscience, condemned her characters and readers to a r e a l i t y without absolutes. type of manipulation  The l a c k of the  of character of which Sartre accuses Mauriac^3  means the l o s s of an absolute r e f e r r a n t .  The result i s that the  reader's  1. attention i s turned to the process rather than to the content, to the narrative rather than to the story.  He observes not the actions but the  acting and the i n t e r a c t i n g that takes place between people and environments.  their  The s i m i l a r i t y between the points of view adopted by  Sarraute and V i r g i n i a Woolf r e f l e c t s the s i m i l a r i t y of the matter that both are seeking to uncover; disconnected  ". . • l e t us trace the pattern, however  and incoherent i n appearance, which each sight or incident  scores upon the consciousness."44  In order to trace the pattern of  these inner sensations, a point of view i s required which w i l l place ^ S a r t r e , "M. Francois Mauriac et l a L i b e r t e , " NRF, f l v r i e r ,  1939.  LL ^ Woolf, "Modern F i c t i o n , " i n Collected Essays, I I (London: The Hogarth Press, 1968), 10?.  23 the observer s u f f i c i e n t l y close t o the character to be able t o sense and record them.  For Sarraute the point of view as "second  conscience"^  arose n a t u r a l l y from a perception of r e a l i t y which conformed t o the pattern o f the tropism.  The Narrative Structure A consequenoe of the concentration of the point of view upon -process rather than oontent i s the increased r o l e played by the narrative structure i n the t e x t .  P a r t i c i p a t i n g with the characters i n actions  whose sequence he cannot comprehend, the reader i s concerned with the immediate effect of incidents rather than with the incidents themselves. The rhythm or pattern that he discerns i s not that of a l i n e a r progression of incidents advancing l o g i c a l l y from cause t o e f f e c t , but one of reactions and responses c l u s t e r i n g about an a c t i o n which acts upon them i n the manner of an i r r i t a n t or c a t a l y s t . To t h i s pattern Sarraute gave the name "tropism," and her f i r s t book was a c o l l e c t i o n of short narratives, not s t o r i e s , appropriately e n t i t l e d Tropiames. Roland Barthes, turale des r e o i t s , " ^  0  i n his a r t i c l e "Introduction a l'analyse struc-  o f f e r s a model which w i l l a s s i s t us i n analysing  the structure of the tropism.  Breaking down the narrative i n t o  elements, which he c a l l s "unites," he divides them into "noyaux," or those elements which, operating h o r i z o n t a l l y , carry the action forward, and those which, l y i n g between the "noyaux" and gathering about them, 45ln an interview with P i e r r e Schneider (". . . and the Novelist as Transmuter: Nathalie Sarraute t a l k s about her A r t , " New York Times Book Review, Feb. 9, 1964, p* 5) Sarraute says: "I had to be a second conscience that would accompany.the characters* subconscience." . ^ B a r t h e s , "Introduction a l'analyse structurale desrecits," Communications, pp. 1-27.  24 are s i g n i f i c a n t not a t the l e v e l of the story but at the higher l e v e l s of "action" (character) and "narration." Applying Barthes' analysis, we f i n d that i n Les F r u i t s d'Or there a r e few "noyaux" or, i n other words, the moments of a c t i o n a r e widely interspersed.  The main body of the text i s given to the expansion  of those elements unrelated t o the progress of the story.  The narrative  i s extended a t the expense of the f i c t i o n ; the tropism not the story holds our a t t e n t i o n . The tropism  i s , as we stated at the beginning of t h i s study,  fundamental t o Sarraute's v i s i o n .  "What counts, always, i s those move-  ments, those hidden dramatic actions, those tropisms."47  what we observe  throughout her works i s the i n t e r a c t i o n of the human organism with the environment provided by i t s society.  But there i s , i n the very choice  of a b i o l o g i c a l term, the introduction of the element of necessity or determinism.  The pattern of stimulus and response, a basic concept of  behaviorism, i s not merely an i s o l a t e d or i n d i v i d u a l phenomenon but operates equally on a l l people.  I f the response i s not always i d e n t i c a l ,  people are subject to the same influences and forces, so that i t i s possible t o perceive common patterns of a c t i o n . The basic narrative structure of Les F r u i t s d'Or i s the tropism. We can see the work, as a whole, as a series of responses t o the basic stimulus which i s provided by the appearance of Brehier's book i n the society formed by the l i t e r a r y group.  I f we were t o abstract the  narrative from i t s spatio-temporal s e t t i n g , we should f i n d a c i r c u l a r in  Sarraute; quoted by P. Sehneider, ". . . Novelist as Transmuter," p. 36.  25 structure i n which, with the book as central focus, the reactions t o i t would revolve about i t i n a ceaseless and c i r c u l a r argument f o r and against. Time and space, however, introduce the aspect of l i n e a r or horizontal movement, so that the c i r c l e i s broken and i s transformed the cycle with i t s pattern of r i s e and f a l l .  into  I n the cycle, of course,  arguments f o r and against l e s F r u i t s d'Or" w i l l not be evenly d i s t r i buted.  Those i n favour are found i n the r i s i n g curve of popularity  (Sections 2-7), those against (Sections 8-13) on the side of i t s decline. Sections 1 and 14 do not form a part of the Brehier cycle but belong t o those of the preceding and succeeding vogues. The l i t e r a r y society, which i s caught up In the Brehier vogue, cannot be i s o l a t e d from other stimuli s i m i l a r t o that provided by "Les F r u i t s d'Or. * 1  At the beginning of the book the object to which the i n t e r l o c u t o r s react i s the work of Courbet, and Brahier's name emerges, as i f a c c i d e n t a l l y , i n t o the ongoing rhythm of the Courbet c y c l e . ^ We hear, too, of the fate of e a r l i e r objects of l i t e r a r y adulation, of Robert Hunier whose popularity has waned with the r i s i n g of Brehier's s u n . ^ the book another vogue i s i n c i p i e n t .  At the end of  Brehier*s experience i s not unique,  but t y p i c a l o f an endless series of i d e n t i c a l vogues that have preceded and w i l l succeed i t .  One character, i n Section 10, voices the question that  has a r i s e n with ever greater persistence i n the mind of the  reader:  i s not d i f f i c u l t to f i n d a deliberate pun i n the name Courbet when i t i s connected with expressions such as: "II est t o r d a n t (p. 8), and I 1 se courbe en arc de c e r c l e " (p. 13). I t may not be t o o . f a n c i f u l to l i n k the name t o the c y c l i c a l movement of the vogues. w  W  ^ S a r r a u t e , Les F r u i t s d'Or,  pp. 79-82.  26 . . . eh. bien, comment se f a i t - i l qu'a tout moment on a s s i s t s a oes extraordinaires revirements sans que personne paraisse s'en e*tonner, sans que personne s'en preoccupe. . . c'est camine des h a l l u c i n a t i o n s c o l l e c t i v e s , ces enormes engouements sans qu'on sache t r e s bien pourquoi. . . ?5° The answer to the question i s that there i s a structure that l i e s behind that offered by the pattern of responses to "Les F r u i t s d'Or."  Brehier's  book i s no more than one c a t a l y s t i n an endless s e r i e s , each of which provides the i n i t i a l impetus to release a complex process of human interaction.  I t i s e s s e n t i a l to t h i s structure that "Les F r u i t s  d'Or"  should be no more than an apparent object, a central transparency through which we can perceive the adaptation  of the characters  i n e x t r i c a b l y i n a s i t u a t i o n i n which they, t e n t a t i v e l y and  involved  fearfully,  weigh the a l t e r n a t i v e s of opposition and submission t o t h e i r society. What we sense behind the Brohier case i s the d i a l e c t i c between the i n d i vidual being and his environment, the tropism as image of the human condition. We  can see t h i s pattern more c l e a r l y as we dissect the structure  of the work.  Les F r u i t s d'Or  i s divided into fourteen sections, which  correspond t o the t r a d i t i o n a l chapter of the novel. represents  Each of these sections  a t o t a l movement, the focus of which i s not Brehier's book but  statements or f e e l i n g s about i t . The fourteen sections, i n t h e i r turn, are usually divided into two or more episodes.  What emerges i s a complex  pattern of tropism within tropism, not arranged concentrically, but l i n k e d one t o the other by the formal device of the p l o t . The following table provides an analysis of the fourteen sections.  50ibid., p. 167.  27 Columns 2 and 3 give the number and nature of the p a r t i c i p a n t s . Column 4 shows us the stimulus or t r i g g e r which releases the a c t i o n . In column 5 there i s an i n d i c a t i o n of the nature of the a c t i o n , while column 6 presents the basic pattern of opposition or c o n f l i c t .  T A B L E  1  ANALYSIS OF THE PATTERN OF ACTION OF THE FOURTEEN SECTIONS (#) Column 4  Column 5  Column 6  Stimulus  Action  Conflict  Col  Col  Col  1  2  3  Section  Nature of Parts  f  Number of People  1  3  a) 11 1 b) E l l e 1 c) I l 2  Action - l a main dans l a poche  2  3  a) I l 2 b) B r u l l c) E l l e 1  Action - l a longue tete s i n c l i n e  1  a) Brule b) Future readers  Words - un l i v r e admirable  Brule's l i t e r a r y views  Formalism vs popular t a s t e .  Rise of Popularity of "Lea F r u i t s d'Or"  Submission to views of leaders vs resistance t o them.  3  Discussion of previous conversation  Accommodation with others vs Rejection of others. Desire t o j o i n the e l i t e vs desire to be one of the mass.  1  4  Many  a) C r i t i c s b) People  Words - 1 ' a r t i c l e de B r i l l  5  3  a) Narrator b) O r t h i l c) Woman of people  Words - l a r i a l i t 1 Story of inspired monologue by Orthil  R e a l i t y vs Illusion.  6  Many  a) ELle 2 b) Group c) Mettotal  Words - statement by Mettetal  Truth vs conformity  Challenge to Mettetal + r e s u l t s  28 Table 1 (Continued) Col  1  Col  Col  2  3  Sec- Number tion of People  7  Many  8  9  Nature of parts  Column 4  Column 5  Column 6  Stimulus  Action  Conflict  Climax of the c u l t Group s o l i d a r i t y vs i n d i v i dual integrity.  a) Group b) I n d i v i dual (Luc. Jean-P.)  SacrS bouquin - words  2  a) Paysan b) I l 3  Words - "Les F r u i t s d'Or" ne vaut r i e n  Discussion of "Les F r u i t s d'Or" and of other writers  F i d e l i t y to group vs desire f o r harmony with others.  Many  a) Parrot - critic b) Group  Action Faiblesse/ generosite de Parrot  Parrot f a i l s t o prove greatness of "Les F r u i t s d'Or"  Esoteric i n d i vidual vs sceptical group.  Discussion of changes i n taste  Desire f o r certainty vs subjectivism.  10  2  n  Many  a) Wife + Jacques b) Group  Action Jacques' imitation  Discussion of J's imitation of Brehier  Imitation vs originality  12  Many  a) I l 5 b) Group  Words - ceux qui admirent "Les F r u i t s d'Or" sont des sots  Reactions t o Brehier of i n d i vidual + group  Spontaneous individual judgment vs group assessment.  13  Many  a) Brehier b) Group  Words - generat i o n spontanea  Group judges + categorizes authors  Individual spontaneous creation vs classification by popular taste.  a)Il 6  Action - ignorance or f o r getting of Brehier  Reflection on what to do about admiration of Brahier  Preservation of i n t e g r i t y of b e l i e f vs need t o communicate.  1  Action - ces a) I l 4 extraordinaires b) Subjact i v i s t philo- revirements sopher  29 I t can be seen from t h i s table that, despite the differences i n a c t i o n (Column 5),  and i n the numbers of characters involved i n each section,  there appear s t r i k i n g s i m i l a r i t i e s . the p a r t i c i p a n t s . f i g u r e i n column 2,  In column 3 we f i n d the nature of  I f , i n a majority of cases, t h i s corresponds to the there are nevertheless  several marked differences  f o r , however many persons are involved i n the action, there are, i n each section, only two points of view expressed, that of the individual and that of the group.  In nearly h a l f the sections a large number of people  (counting members of the group as separate individuals) p a r t i c i p a t e s , but the r o l e that each plays i s determined by t h i s basic r e l a t i o n s h i p of i n d i v i d u a l t o group.  Thus we f i n d , i n column 6,  that there l i e s , beneath  the varied a c t i o n of each section, a c o n f l i c t r e f l e c t i n g t h i s d i a l e o t i c . At times the aesthetic nature of the a c t i o n appears f a r removed from t h i s basic s o c i a l dynamic, but the most esoteric of topics i s represented by a s i t u a t i o n i n which a s o l i t a r y person f i n d s himself, or h e r s e l f , at odds with the c o l l e c t i v e opinion of the others.  In Section 1,  for  example, no group enters the action, but the female voice expresses the desire to f i n d accommodation with others while the male consistently advocates a d o c t r i n a i r e individualism, which amounts to a scepticism of any view held by popular consent.  The a l t e r o a t i o n between these two  e f f e c t i v e l y introduces the c o n f l i c t that i s pursued throughout the book. In another case, Section 3,  the character, Brule", i s alone, but i t i s  c l e a r that others represent  a threat against which he has continually  to maintain an elaborate defence.  The relationship between Individual  and group, which we have found to be essential to the narrative structure, does not always take the form of a c o n f l i c t .  There are several occasions  30 on which the i n d i v i d u a l , out of harmony with the group, desires t o be reunited with i t .  Sometimes he or she i s successful, as i n the case  of the woman who admired Lucien (Section A); at other times i n d i v i d u a l i t y reasserts i t s e l f (Sections 6 and 12).  At the end of the book  we can only assume that the pattern perceived w i l l be perpetuated i n d e f i n i t e l y into the future. The other common aspect of the structure of the sections i s the i n i t i a l stimulus which triggers the action (column 4).  Just as the  a c t i o n of the book i s caused by the appearance on the l i t e r a r y scene of "Les F r u i t s d'Or," so each section has as i t s point of departure some action, word, or even sensation.  This stimulus arouses i n the characters  an anxiety and c o n f l i c t which, throughout the tropism, seeks i t s resolut i o n and i s f i n a l l y s t i l l e d or suppressed only t o reappear under some new form i n the next section. Section 6 provides an excellent example of the structure of the tropism.  Within the environment of the group, Mettetal, an eminent  c r i t i c , declares that he has always recognized Brehier*s genius.  This  i s the stimulus that releases an i n t o l e r a b l e c o n f l i c t i n the mind of a woman l i s t e n e r .  The effect of the statement i s described by the woman  as u n coup de feu.' n  1  Oomme lorsqu'au m i l i e u d'une foule qui deambulait paisiblement un coup de feu tout a coup a claque et que, l e premier instant de stupeur pass!, on se bouscule, on s'interroge, on court, en e l l e , aussitfct, un branlebas se declenche.5i This d e s c r i p t i o n i s very s i m i l a r to others occurring i n other 5 1  I b i d . , p. 119.  31 sections.  I n Section 1 the gesture of one man and the reaction o f  another are responsible f o r the woman's f e e l i n g "genee." The proclamat i o n that B r i l l ' s a r t i c l e i s "de tout premier ordre. releases the forces of order upon the rebel masses.  P a r f a i t " (Section 4) Each section d i s -  plays a t l e a s t one such stimulus and i n some there are several examples. Following the i n i t i a l shock comes the c o n f l i c t which, i n Section 6, i s between Mettetal's statement and evidence to the contrary that the woman has seen with her own eyes. l i e d alternates with doubts.  Certainty that Mettetal has  Her r e s o l u t i o n t o reveal the l i e i s s w i f t l y  followed by her desire t o conform t o the group's acceptance of the statement and i t s admiration  of Mettetal; her desire to uncover the  scandal, by her fear of the consequences of such an a c t i o n .  Evidently,  the struggle between the forces of individualism and those of conformism i s very b i t t e r :  "II faut absolument que cesse ce scandals, cette l u t t e  qui l a dechire."^2  However i n t e r n a l the struggle appears to be, the  pattern revealed i s that of the constant  confrontation of i n d i v i d u a l and  group, f o r the i n d i v i d u a l has i n t e r n a l i z e d the controls exerted by the society.  The woman, because of her s o c i a l conditioning, doubteher own  eyes, i s prepared to conform, and i s a f r a i d .  Her fears are borne out  f o r when, unable to r e s t r a i n herself any longer, she f i n a l l y accuses Mettetal of l y i n g , the group turns upon her and expels her.  On t h i s  occasion the c o n f l i c t i s resolved by the expulsion of the i n d i v i d u a l organism that could not adapt t o i t s environment. The pattern of the tropism, that we have found i n the book as a whole and i n the sections, reappears i n the smaller movements of the 5 2  I b i d . , p. 121.  32 episodes.  Once again, there i s the f a m i l i a r sequence of stimulus,  adaptation of c o n f l i c t , resolution.  The following t a b l e analyzes the  episodes of Section 4 using the same format as that employed i n the previous table, with the a d d i t i o n of another column, Column 0, whose purpose we s h a l l discuss l a t e r .  53  T A B L E  2  ANALYSIS OF THE PATTERN OF ACTION OF THE EPISODES IN SECTION 4 Col Col Col  0  1  Column 3  Column 4  Column 5  Column 6  Stimulus  Action  Conflict  2  Grp E p i Nos. Nature of sode Participants A  1  1  a) C r i t i c & •honnetes gens' b) Rabble  Words-de tout Imposition of Authority vs premier ordre. Authority populism Parfait Suppression of Rabble  B  2  1  a) Dr. Legris b) Time  ActionL ' a r t i c l e de Brule  3  1  a )Elle&Lucien Words: un v r a i Encouraging b) People Lucien to miracle speak  B e l i e f i n Lucien vs Disagreement with c r i t i c s .  4  1  a) E l l e b) Lucien  Words: un tres Shock at beau l i v r e Luclen's remarks  Her b e l i e f s vs Luclen's statement.  5  1  a) E l l e b) People  Words: un t r e s Submission beau l i v r e  Belief i n Lucien vs a t t r a c t i o n of popular taste.  6  1  a) Ella-Lucien Actionb) People souffle tiede  Rejoins Lucien Esoteric vs and c r i t i c s popular taste.  7  1  a) Maroel b) E l l e  Actiond i s l i k e of "Elle"  Affirmation of creativeness of "Les F r u i t s d'Or"  Word3l e geste"  " E l l e s " s e i z e Insecurity vs upon t h i s cer- statement of tainty c e r t a i n view.  C  S  Many a) C r i t i o s Marcel (1) b) E l l e s  ^3see below,  n  p. 35, footnote 54.  Comparison of "Les F r u i t s d'Or" with classics  Old vs  New  De3ire f o r membership i n e l i t e of critics vs d i s l i k e of popular t a s t e .  Table 2  Col Col Col  0  1  33  (Continued)  2  Column 3  Column 4  G-rp E p i Nos. Nature of Stimulus soda Participants C  Column 5  Column 6  Action .  Conflict  9  1  a) E l l e b) Marcel  Words-"le geste" Shock at and r e j e c t i o n of Marcel's view  10  1  a) Mareel b) £lle  Words-la fausse verite* des romans Words-la fausse v e r i t e des romans  Refutation  Words-le geste  Refuting Marcel  Justice vs Fraud  I n a b i l i t y to say what he wants  Intention vs Act  Repression of Henri  Authority vs Dissent  11  Many a) E l l e s People (1) b) E l l e s Aspiring to elite  12  1  a) Henri b) Marcel  13  1  a) Henri 1 b) Henri 2  14 Many a) Henri (2) b) C r i t i c s D 15 Many a) I l s Critics (2)  n  Words-"geste banal"  F i c t i o n vs reality it  Desire f o r Brief f l u r r y of scepticism proof vs amongst " e l l e s " readiness t o submit to authority.  Action-emanaJean L. i s tions i n v i s i b l e s Challenged  Authority vs Dissent  b) Jean L.  16  Many a) Jean L. (1) b) C r i t i c s judges  17 Many a) C r i t i c s (2) b) Jean L. E  F  18  Words-J.L.n'aime Jean L. at bay Group i n t o l e r pas du tout "Les ance vs i n d i v i F r u i t s d'Or*'. dual opinions » Words-je Submission of Jean L. 1*aimerai  Many a) C r i t i c Wbrds-le (1) b) Previously mailleur l i v r e acclaimed authors  F a l l of previously acolalmed authors  Fear of group vs d e s i r e f o r admiration.  19  1  a) Nous-le Actions-changing Keeping the menu peuple order status quo b) The leaders  Fear of events vs sense of helplessness.  20  1  a) E l l e b) C r i t i c s  Authority vs reason  Words-"le meilleur l i v r e "  Refusal t o accept the judgment  21 Many a) Ils-group Words-"Le l i v r e Plea f o r en main" enlightenment (1) b) Leaders  Sense of inadequacy vs belief i n i d e a l certainty.  34  Table 2 (Continued) Col Col Col 0 1 2  Column 3  Grp E p i Nos. Nature of sode Participants F  G  Column 5  Column 6  Stimulus  Action  Conflict  22 Many a) Group (1) b) Leaders  Action-Possibil i t y of enlightenment  Sense of Dream of group as com- inadequacy manding vs envy. knowledge  23  Aotion-Potent i a l l y unified a c t i o n of group  Nothing happens  What might have happened vs what occurred'  The great critics speak  The promise vs the outcome.  24  Many a) Leaders (1) b) Group  2  (1)  a) Group Words-Le l i v r e b) Les 2 pairs en main  25 Many a) Group  E  Column 4  26  (1) 1  27  1  a) 11 b) Leaders  28  1  a) I l b) E l l e  29  2  a) I l b) E l l e  30 1  a) Moi b) Leaders  a) I l b) 2 P a i r s  Words-Pronounce- D i s i l l u s i o n - Hope vs reality. ment of C r i t i c s ment Words-Pronounce- E x h i l a r a t i o n Own ignorance vs the wisdom ment of C r i t i c s at words of leaders. it  Action-Need f o r another  n  Words-Ha ha!  Attack on r o l e and privilege of c r i t i c s Finding k i n dred 3 p i r i t  False appearance of work vs r e a l i t y beneath. Own weakness vs her apparent strength.  Struggle to Appearance 1 preserve h i s vs Appearance 2 belief i n her Stigmatizing Conformism vs of i n d i v i Individuality. dual  By comparing t h i s table with that presented above (pp. 27-28), we are struck by the o v e r a l l s i m i l a r i t y of pattern. a notable difference.  There i s , however,  Column 2 indicates that i n the majority of cases  there i s only one participant i n each episode.  I n several cases, a f t e r  "Many" we have written the numbers 1 or 2 i n parentheses.  I f we see  the group as p l u r a l , then there are often numerous p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the  35 action.  I f , however, the group, either of people or of c r i t i c s , i s  seen as a c o l l e c t i v e , then i t i s to be regarded as one p a r t i c i p a n t . The s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h i s change i n column 2 i s that the c o n f l i c t which we have noted between the group and the i n d i v i d u a l has, at the l e v e l of the episode, become i n t e r n a l i z e d . The nature of the struggle has not changed, but now we  see the i n d i v i d u a l at war with himself, divided  by pressures of conformity and  integrity.  The structure of the work that emerges from t h i s analysis i s that of several l e v e l s of tropism operating within one another. are, generally speaking, three l e v e l s :  There  the book as a whole, the section,  and the e p i s o d e . T h e tropism has two basic rhythms: c i r c u l a r i t y and that of a l t e r n a t i o n or c o n f l i c t .  that of  Thus, a t whatever  l e v e l , the tropism might be v i s u a l i z e d as a c i r c u l a r form, and  the  i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t as the juxtaposition of tropisms within that form. In Section 7* at the point at which Brehier's book appears to be about to terminate,  once and f o r a l l , a l l l i t e r a r y debate, the  eternal movement of the tropism i s threatened. t o t a l ; time must have a stop. entry into the group.  Group s o l i d a r i t y i s  At t h i s moment Jean-Pierre i s refused  The p l o t provides no cause, and the most l i k e l y  reason for t h i s event i s that the movement of the narrative has imposed i t s e l f upon the l o g i c a l progression of the p l o t . i s possible, then there must be r e t r e a t .  I f no f u r t h e r advance  The movement of the  tropism,  which, we have seen, operates at a l l l e v e l s of the structure, i s a law the long Section 4, however, another l e v e l i s added. The episodic tropisms f a l l r e a d i l y i n t o groups associated by common stimulus, action, and c o n f l i c t . Indeed, a number of episodes are more meaningful by association with others. This i s true of Episodes 2, 13, 17, 19, 23, 25, and 26. The c a p i t a l l e t t e r s i n Column 0 indicate the eight groups i n t o which the episodes might be gathered.  36 that imposes i t s pattern upon the f i c t i o n . Style My intention was to render i n t e r n a l movement through the movement of the sentences.—Nathalie Sarraute.55 The same v i s i o n that determines the structure of a work a l s o creates i t s s t y l e .  Indeed, i n the case of Sarraute, i t i s d i f f i c u l t  t o d i s t i n g u i s h between the two, f o r a t y p i c a l Sarraute sentence w i l l «56 be t o t a l l y integrated into the movement of i t s tropism.-'  We  shall  not attempt here to d i f f e r e n t i a t e between structure and s t y l e but, following the example of the authoress, s h a l l rather look at some of the features of the w r i t i n g which Sarraute has used to express her view of the world, and which give her work i t s unique q u a l i t y . In her c r i t i c i s m of other w r i t e r s , Sarraute often takes as her point of departure the s t y l e .  This i s true of her a r t i c l e on  as well as of that e n t i t l e d "Flaubert l e Precurseur."5^  Yalirj^  In t h i s l a t t e r  a r t i c l e , she finds that Flaubert's conscious a r t i s t r y hampers the expression, the movement of r e a l i t y , that the sentences by t h e i r very perfection imprison t h e i r content.  Even time i s 'boucle a t r i p l e tour'.  Such a s t y l e would quite evidently be unsuitable f o r the tropism.  What  we s h a l l expect to f i n d i n Sarraute*s work are elements which give the  55sarraute; quoted by Schneider, "Novelist as Transmuter," -'"M.S. the author of the a r t i c l e "Structure" i n the Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (ed. by A. Freminger, Princeton U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1965), pp. 812-13, has d i f f i c u l t y i n distinguishing between structure and s t y l e . He f i n a l l y proposes h i s own solution along the l i n e s of formal and informal associations. • ^ N a t h a l i e Sarraute, "Paul Valery et 1'Enfant de 1'Elephant," Les Temps Modernes, Janvier, 1947. 5 % a t h a l i e Sarraute, "Flaubert l e Precurseur," Preuves, f e v r i e r ,  1965.  37 maximum amount of freedom to the i n e f f a b l e psychological movements. Les F r u i t s d'Or i s narrated throughout i n the present  tense.  In discussing the point of view of the work we found that the action was r e l a t e d as i t occurred, and that at no point were we able to withdraw from the arena and review the a c t i o n i n a broader perspective of time and space.  A minimum of d i s t a n c i a t i o n i n the point of view means _  that the narrator has to use the present.  The point i s made by  Gerda Z e l t n e r : La perte de l a d i s t a n c i a t i o n epique est s i t o t a l s , q u ' i l tl© narrateur] ne peut employer d'autre formula^verbale que cells qui supprime l ' e c a r t temporel entre l'evenement et sa n a r r a t i o n : l e present.59 This sense of the continuous unfolding o f the present into a future that i s unknown and unknowable, away from a past that drops v e r t i g i nously into o b l i v i o n , i s a key feature of Sarraute's s t y l e .  She i s  enabled, by i t s use, t o explore the twi3ts and turns of the characters seeking to accommodate themselves to a constantly changing environment. The text of Les F r u i t s d'Or i s a continuous dialogue between character and character, or within the character himself. of words which are spoken by somebody, and to somebody.  It i s built  Usually i t i s  clear who is speaking, and to whom, even i f the dialogue i s i n t e r n a l i z e d . On some occasions, however, i t i s not so apparent.  At the beginning of  Section 4 the f i r s t episode, which sets the scene f o r the whole section, i s narrated by some unknown character.  Yet i t i s not the conventional  narration addressed to the reader, for i t i s a highly p a r t i s a n attack  ^ 59Gerda Zeltner, La Grande Aventure du Roman Francais au SCe S i e c l e (Paris: Eds. Gonthier, 1967), p. 165.  38 upon l e s fortes tetes, n  vous tous la-bas."  "Nous sommes d e l i v r e s , "  on the next page, t e l l s us that the speaker i s i n the camp of "les honnetes gens."  I t i s , then, an example of internal dialogue between  a righteous s e l f , p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the action, and a projected enemy. I t may addressed.  be more d i f f i c u l t to decide to whom the words are  Brule, alone i n h i s study, appears to be speaking to him-  s e l f , but h i s audience i s , of course, the public that w i l l read and admire his resounding phrases.  The s o l i t a r y character of Section 14  addresses himself to that select few who  s t i l l admire, or w i l l admire,  "Les F r u i t s d»Or." Because i t i s dialogue, the s t y l e imitates speech. do we f i n d a passage of self-conscious l i t e r a r y prose.  Only r a r e l y  Such a passage  i s found on occasions when an attempt i s being made to create an impression on an audience, r e a l or imagined. an example, as does the man and a l s o O r t h i l .  Thus Brule again provides  responsible f o r the image of the palace,  Generally, however, we are l i s t e n i n g to people  struggling with the expression of thought.  I t i s t h i s that accounts  f o r the staccato and apparently unsequential texture of much of the book.  Sentences may  be short or long, but the words are u s u a l l y  clustered i n small groups, which are divided by Sarraute*s own of punctuation.  style  The main i n t e r v a l s she uses are the f u l l - s t o p , the  comma, and the three dots.  B r i g i d Brophy has spoken of the breathless  q u a l i t y of Sarraute*s work.^  0  This i s a misinterpretation, I f e e l , f o r  ^ B r i g i d Brophy, "Halfway t o a Happening," New August 6, 1965, P. 187.  Statesman,  what i s conveyed i s the jerky nature of thought, which t h i s s t y l e i s attempting to imitate. Bather than l o g i c a l l y developed prose that moves ineluctably to i t s c o n c l u s i o n — t h e type of prose that Sarraute f i n d s i n Flaubert—thoughts or f e e l i n g s f l a s h i n t o the mind related not only by l o g i c , but by s i m i l a r i t y of sound or v i s u a l expression. We see minds working l a t e r a l l y as w e l l as v e r t i c a l l y .  A device that  w i l l i l l u s t r a t e t h i s feature i s Sarraute*s use of r e p e t i t i o n .  We  can  choose almost any passage i n the book t o serve as an i l l u s t r a t i o n of repetition.  The passage on pp. 106-107 we have chosen at random.  ("Mais l a , presque en face de l u i . • • des pigeons voyageurs.")  In  the following t a b l e we l i s t t h i r t e e n repetitions that we have found i n the t e x t .  T A B L  2  3  REPETITIONS; pp. 106-107 1. a. i l ne l ' a v a i t pas r©marquee b. e l l e se.tient s i effaces c. toujours un peu a distance 2. a. r i e n de louche. . . n ' a f f l e u r e b. aucun de ces mouvomenta sournois 3. a. vous donnait l ' e v e i l b. vous font vous elancer c. une i r r e s i s t i b l e poussee 4* a. l e regard. . * s'attarde b. l e regard. . • s'appuie 5. a. a peine perceptible b. legerement 6. a. e l l e a vu b. e l l e a decouvert l e l i e u secret c. e l l e possede l e talisman  40 Table 3 (Continued) 7* a . b. c. d.  trouver sana e f f o r t etre amende tout d r o i t un mysterieux et sur i n s t i n c t pigeons voyageurs  8. a . oiseatrc b. pigeons voyageurs 9. a. S l l e ne s'est pas l a i s s e e hypnotiser b. S l l e a tenu bon 10. a* b. c. d.  Voyez, vous n'etes pas seul On se comprend Nous ne sommes pas seuls d'autres que nous. . • chaque jour plus nombreux 1  11. a. Pourquoi vous a g i t e r b. Pourquoi vous tourmenter c. A quoi bon. . . se presssr 12. a. b. c. d. e.  rester indifferent laisser glisser l a i s s e r passer Q.u'importe II s u f f i t d'attendre  13* a. amusez-vous b. l e spectacle est distrayant The same remarkable number of repetitions can be found i n almost any passage i n the text. the way.  The characters never seem t o be s a t i s f i e d with  simple expression of a thought but have t o repeat i t i n another We s h a l l note two d i f f e r e n t aspects of t h i s s t y l i s t i c device. F i r s t l y , r e p e t i t i o n denotes hesitancy or doubt.  The thought  or f e e l i n g t o be conveyed i s not c l e a r and has to be savoured, as though the  character were t r y i n g t o conjure i t with the perfect verbal symbol.  A l l our examples betray the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of language seeking i t s objeot.  I t i s here that Sartre's comment on Sarraute's s t y l e i s most  applicable.  u Le m e i l l e u r de Nathalie Sarraute, c'est son s t y l e trebuchant, tatonnant, s i honnete, s i p l e i n de repentir, qui approche de l ' o b j e t avec des precautions pieuses, s'en ecarte soudain par une sorte de pudeur ou par t i m i d i t e devant l a complexity des choses et q u i , en f i n de compte, nous l i v r e brusquement l e menstre tout baveux, mais presque sans y toucher, par l a vertu magique d'une image. 01  The sentences t u r n back on themselves as though constantly seeking reassurance while they tortuously pursue an object not c l e a r l y perceived. The three consecutive phrases of our f i r s t example provide a good i l l u s t r a t i o n of t h i s sense of i n s e c u r i t y .  Each adds l i t t l e t o the  meaning of i t s predecessor, but, f o r some reason, the narrator has to touch and retouch the sensation u n t i l s a t i s f i e d he can move t o new ground. A second aspect of r e p e t i t i o n i s that of "gradation."  The  repeated words are not always precise s i m i l e s , and the language i s , i n f a c t , following a sequence of thought that makes i t s e l f , by imperceptible steps, ever more precise.  Our example 7 demonstrates t h i s gradual  evolution of thought from the i n i t i a l "trouver sans e f f o r t " t o the image "pigeons voyageurs" which sums up the whole concept. can a l s o follow a l o g i c a l sequence through time as thought Number 10 w i l l serve as an i l l u s t r a t i o n :  The gradation develops.  with each step the thought i s  advanced by s l i g h t but s i g n i f i c a n t changes; "vous" becomes "on," then "nous," and f i n a l l y "d'autres—eux."  A l t e r n a t i v e l y , there i s the move-  ment of evolution which penetrates w i t h i n the person, attempting to i s o l a t e and express the fundamental experience.  Examples 2, 6 and 7  i l l u s t r a t e t h i s type of gradation.  Jean-Paul Sartre, "Preface," P o r t r a i t d'un Inconnu, p. 14.  42 Here, however, we have uncovered a fundamental paradox, f o r r e p e t i t i o n can stem both from a d i s t r u s t of language and from a desire for precision.  I t can r e f l e c t a f e a r of communicating with others and  a search f o r that very communication.  The paradox can be better under-  stood when we r e a l i z e that there are two l e v e l s of language that are usually sharply distinguished.  Sarraute, elsewhere, has c a l l e d these 62  two l e v e l s "sous conversation * and "conversation." 1  What distinguishes  them i s the function of the words a t each l e v e l for, i n the case of the former, the word i s seeking to express an object, which i s a sensation or experience, while i n the l a t t e r i t s aim i s t o convey a message t o another person.  The problem with which the s t y l e i s struggling i s that  of t r y i n g t o translate raw sensation into communication, a problem which i s faced equally by characters and by the authoress h e r s e l f . At the l e v e l of "sous conversation," the sensation i s evoked, p r i n c i p a l l y , by means of the images or, rather, by a series of images, f o r the t o t a l experience i s too complex f o r any simple description. The experience i s re-created i n the manner described i n Section 6, i n which the woman gathers together those sensations appropriate t o a fundamental f e e l i n g . . . . autour de ce nom, comme l e s brins de p a i l l e emmeles autour du pieu qui l e s rassemble et l e s soutient, l e s impressions, l e s sentiments qu*elle avaient eprouves sur l e moment viennent s'enrouler: un peu de p i t i e pour ce pauvre Brehier, s i sympathique, s i f i n , mi peu de dedain, un vague apaisement, une douceatre et un peu ecoeurante s a t i s f a c t i o n et, surtout, de I'etonnement: . . ."3 62iji y bearing the t i t l e "Conversation et Sous-conversation" appears i n L'Ere du Soupcon. In i t Sarraute explains the terms. ne  Q B s a  S a r r a u t e , Les F r u i t s d'Or, p. 120.  43 In t h i s example the sensations have been reported i n abstract language, "pitie*," "dedain," etc.  Generally, however, the sensations pertaining  t o a p a r t i c u l a r experience are conveyed by means of images. almost any page w i l l provide i t s example.  Again,  We choose a short passage on  pp. 7-8: "Face contre t e r r e . . • Admirable.  Regardez. . . ." The  experience t o be expressed i s that of scepticism before the adulation of a popular i d o l .  The passage contains f i v e images:  A.  Religious reverence. . . . . Face contre t e r r e ; extases; choeurs.  B.  Community or s o l i d a r i t y . . . au meme moment; choeurs; synehronisme.  C.  Flock of sheep  D.  Disease and medicine  belements. . . . . comma l e medecin. . . l a legere eruption.  E.  Taste  Gourmand; savourant.  The effect of t h i s imagery i s t o re-create f o r the reader the immediate experience, which cannot be s a t i s f a c t o r i l y conveyed by any abstract d e s c r i p t i o n such as that I have used above. features of Sarraute's s t y l e should be noted.  In this respect, two F i r s t l y , the images are,  almost invariably, e a s i l y a c c e s s i b l e t o any r e a d e r . ^  There are few  esoteric or erudite references; only the pompous c r i t i o s such as Marcel (pp.  58-68)  obscurity.  The most common sources of imagery are m i l i t a r y terms,  with h i s l i t e r a r y and a r t i s t i c allusions tend to  expressions related t o law and order, animals, and r e l i g i o n .  Other  frequent images are related to buildings and t o royalty, and a great ^ F l e m i n g , i n his a r t i c l e , "The Imagery of Tropism i n the Novels of Nathalie Sarraute," remarks on the a c c e s s i b i l i t y of the animal imagery. Apart from a few l i t e r a r y references, however, a l l the imagery can be grasped r e a d i l y .  44 deal of vocabulary i s drawn from the contrast of hardness and softness. The ready a c c e s s i b i l i t y of the imagery means that the reader i s able to draw as close as possible t o the sensation t o be conveyed.  This  brings us t o the second aspect of the imagery, f o r Sarraute does not use her images f o r the purpose of s t y l i s t i c embellishment or f o r comparison, but a s the "objective c o r r e l a t i v e " of the sensation; ** they 0  serve t o t r a n s l a t e experience d i r e c t l y . preconscious thought: l a matiere  Tison Braun describes i t as  "C'est l a pensee meme en t r a i n d'eelore,  'mentale' avant son e l a b o r a t i o n — e t sa deformation—par  1'intelligence."  00  These two aspects of the imagery are c l o s e l y related  to the narrative point of view f o r , since the reader p a r t i c i p a t e s with the characters i n the action, which i s l a r g e l y i n t e r i o r , he cannot be distanced from the scene by the use of r h e t o r i c a l metaphor. The imagery of "sous conversation" may be b r i e f — t h a t i s , i t may occur i n a single word or as a small group of words—but i t may a l s o be extended i n t o passages of sustained metaphor l i k e that of the palace (PP. 95-106).  In some cases a s e r i e s of images continues f o r several  episodes, c l u s t e r i n g about some c e n t r a l c a t a l y s t .  The images a r i s i n g  " O b j e c t i v e c o r r e l a t i v e " i s a term coined by T. S. E l i o t . I t appeared f i r s t i n an a r t i c l e e n t i t l e d "Hamlet and h i s Problems" appearing i n The Sacred Wood (7th ed.; London: Methuen and Co. Ltd., I960), p. 100. The f i r s t e d i t i o n of the book appeared i n 1920. The quotation of the f u l l context w i l l express, better than I can, the meaning of the term and reveal i t s appropriateness i n describing the imagery of Nathalie Sarraute. "The only way of expressing emotion i n the form of art i s by f i n d i n g an !objective c o r r e l a t i v e ' ; i n other words, a set of objects, a s i t u a t i o n , a chain of events which s h a l l be the formula of that p a r t i c u l a r emotion; such that when the external f a c t s which must terminate i n sensory experience, are given the emotion i s immediately evoked." o5  Tison Braun,  Recherche de 1'Authenticite,  p. 22.  45 from the words " C a s t t r e s beau," i n Section 9, i s one example. I n Section 12 i t i s the word "sot" that releases the series.  But whether  i n the word or extended over several pages, the image serves the same purpose, that of recreating the actual sensation.  By means of m u l t i -  p l i c a t i o n Sarraute i s able t o evoke the complexity and dynamic of experience. At the l e v e l of."conversation" imagery i s r a r e l y used. does occur i t i s a t moments of excitement.  When i t  Thus, i n Section 2, the  character i s c a r r i e d away by h i s passionate partisanship.  Another  excitable outburst i s seen i n Section 10 where another character indulges i n a v i o l e n t attack upon the inconstancies of human t a s t e . By and large, however, imagery i s reserved f o r "sous conversation," f o r that l e v e l of being that i s concealed from others. betrays too much of a person, too much of h i s r e a l i t y .  The image "Conversation"  i s , above a l l , a mask behind which the person can shelter, l i k e Brule who r e t i r e s behind h i s words:  "Derriere l'ecran protecteur des gestes,  des mots. . . d e r r i e r e l e mince rideau de fumee, tout ce qui en l u i , a l ' a r r i v e e de l ' i n t r u s avait f u i , . . . s'organise, rentre dans 67 l'ordre."  With spoken dialogue, the word acquires a s o c i a l s i g n i f i -  cance f o r i t can unite or separate people. ** 0  The word may be a weapon,  6 Sarraute, Le3 F r u i t s d'Or, p. 41. ?  °%arraute notes, i n L'Ere du Soupcon, the use of the word as weapon. On page 103 we f i n d : ". . . e l l e s [ l e s paroles] peuvent etre. . . l'arme quotidienne, insidieuse et t r e s efficaoe, d'innombrabies p e t i t s crimes." The c r i t i c , J-L. Jaccard adds t o t h i s the importance of the word as.a l i n k between people. "Les mots sont l e seul l i e n qui unisse l e s etres, l e s uns aux autres." (J-L. Jaccard, Nathalie Sarraute [Zurich: J u r i s Druck Verlag, 1967], p. 23.)  46 as Sarraute states; i t s use i s most c e r t a i n l y a r i s k , characters are keenly aware of t h i s .  69  and the  The example of the woman (Section 6)  who wants to c a l l Mettetal t o task i s mo3t apposite.  Before saying  anything she c a r e f u l l y moderates her words and seleots her tone: . . . e l l e va rogner l e u r s angles, moucheter l e u r s pointes, bien l e s emmailloter: des grosses boules un peu molles qui vont l e bousculer gentiment, l e c h a t o u i l l e r , juste pour r i r e , bon gros r i r e , bonne grosse voix, e l l e fronce l e s s o u r c i l s et p l i s s e l e s l e v r e s d*un a i r de f e i n t e indignation.70 The great prudence of the woman t e s t i f i e s t o the power of the word. The word has l a r g e l y replaced the gesture and i t i s the word, p r i n c i p a l l y , that releases or t r i g g e r s the a c t i o n of Lea F r u i t s d'Or.  In the arena  of the " s a l l e commune," the word creates and the word k i l l s .  The words  of Brfile started the vogue of "les F r u i t s d'Or"; the words of " l e paysan" reversed the trend.  The words of " l e s deux pairs'* provoke the long  image of the palace and destroy the ambitions of the group t o f i n d the promised land.  F i n a l l y , the s o l i t a r y character hopes t o revive the  fortunes of Brehier by the use of the words **Et Les F r u i t s d^Or?** The t e r r i f y i n g e x i s t e n t i a l power of the word has an important consequence, which we can observe i n the quotation above. The fact that the word i s an a c t i o n , which i n e v i t a b l y produces i t s reaction, lead3 t o the impoverishment of language at the l e v e l of speech.  Aware of the  danger of speaking, people t r y t o say something u t t e r l y inoffensive and innocuous.  Sartre has described the role of the " l i e u commun** i n h i s  preface t o P o r t r a i t d'un Inconnu: 60  S e e below, p. 53, f o r the use of the word "risque** by Barthes. 70S a r r a u t e , Les F r u i t s d*0r, p. 122. U7  ,y  47 C'est l e regne du l i e u commun. Car oe beau mot a plusieurs sens: i l designs sans doute l e s pensees l e s plus rebattues mais c'est que ees pensees sont devenues l e l i e u de rencontre de l a communaute*. Chacun s'y retrouve, y retrouve l e s autres.' The image i s replaced by the c l i c h e , and language, instead of communicating sensation, serves t o r e i f y i t . "Les F r u i t s d'Or"  7 2  Thus, Brule's judgment of  employs a l l the commonplaces of l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m ,  even to the point of c i t i n g popularly-accepted c l a s s i c a l models. Sous cette chaude lumiere, en l u i l a seve monte, l e s mots hardiment s'el event. . . "Admirable** Plus haut. . . "Une pure oeuvre d'art. . ." Plus haut. . . "Rien dans nos l e t t r e s de comparable. . ." Plus haut, encore plus haut. . • "Ce qu'on a e c r i t de plus beau. • ." toujours plus haut, l e s cimes immenses se deploient. . . "ce qu'on a e c r i t de plus beau depuis Stendhal. . . depuis Benjamin Constant. . ."73 The irony of the passage l i e s i n the enormous distance that  separates  the pretentious images of r i s i n g sap and mountain views and the u t t e r banality of the l i t e r a r y comments.  The language of c r i t i c i s m i s  studded with c l i c h e s , which usually pass unnoticed f o r the very good reason that they are c l i c h e s .  They are the "mots de passe" or  "talismans" by which the group maintains  i t s i d e n t i t y , a process  71sartre, "Preface," P o r t r a i t d'un Inconnu, pp. 8-9. 72 ' I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g that Sarraute should, on the one hand, see "conversation" as an uninterrupted continuation of the i n t e r i o r movement (L'Sre du Soupcon, p. 104), on the other, stress the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c " l i e u commun" of" communication. One explanation of t h i s i s that, t o the e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y s e n s i t i v e Sarraute character, the s l i g h t e s t gesture or the most innocent word i s capable of the wildest a m p l i f i c a t i o n . Another explanation i s contained i n a quotation from her interview with P. Schneider (New York Times Book Review): " I t i s the conversation that provides the apparent element. Unfortunately most of the readers and c r i t i c s did not go beyond that appearance." Appearance f o r Sarraute i s the equivalent of i l l u s i o n or trompe-l'oeil; i t i s the everyday, " l a gangue" that covers, conceals, and r e i f i e s the real substance of l i f e . By comparison with the sensation of "sous-conversation," i t i s the " l i e u commun" of "conversation," but within the " l i e u commun," or through i t , can be perceived the r e a l i t y . -  7  % a r r a u t e , Les F r u i t s d'Or, p. 46.  us described by the cynical character of Section 1 (pp. 10-15). Obviously, expressions l i k e those used by Brule" are vacuous. stream of such l i t e r a r y c l i c h e :  There i s a continual  "un v r a i joyau," "un miracle," "tres  beau l i v r e , " " l e meilleur l i v r e depuis quinze ans."  Such expressions  are commented on by the character of Section 14 (pp. 222-223). "En ce moment, i l faut l e s entendre. . . jusqu*au cent ans." There i s , however, a more esoteric language which makes use of technical jargon such as "galbe,"  "construction," "structure,"  "rapports des mots," "coherence."  "Les deux p a i r s , " according to t h e i r  detractor, developed t h e i r own language, which d i f f e r s from the ordinary vocabulary i n s o f a r as i t i s comprehensible to only a few.  I t i s not  c l i c h e i n the sense that the words have been corrupted by overuse; rather i t i s language r e i f i e d into formulae with the express intention of l i m i t i n g communication to the e l e c t .  I t i s language divorced  e n t i r e l y from contact with experience, the mask without the face.  While  i t s conventions are accepted, as i n Seotions 2 to 7, such language w i l l go unchallenged. With the introduction of scepticism, however, the emptiness of the words i s revealed.  Parrot cannot provide i l l u s t r a t i o n s  f o r his claims, and i n Section 11 there i s t o t a l confusion over the terms "Technique". . . "Procede". . . "Forme." In a work set i n the salons of, presumably, P a r i s , i t i s natural that c l i c h e should be found l a r g e l y i n conjunction with c r i t i c a l terminology.  But the conversation i s studded, too, with the sort of commonplace  found i n everyday speech.  This type of c l i c h e serves as a comment not  so much on the language of the l i t e r a r y c i r c l e as on that used i n the world outside the book.  Thus, i t i s not u n d e r l i n e d by continual  49 r e p e t i t i o n i n the text but i s recognized by f a m i l i a r i t y with the spoken language. The clichS found at the l e v e l of everyday conversation i s an expression which has l o s t i t s meaning or i t s metaphorical sense.  As  examples, one can c i t e expressions such as "je vou3 assure," " j e l»avoue," "a tout p r i x , " "impayable,"  "mourir de r i r e . "  Frequently,  people a r e c a l l e d " i d i o t s , " "brutes," or even " c r e t i n s , " words which have l o s t a l l semblance of t h e i r o r i g i n a l sense. v i s i t o r "de suivre son bonhomme de chemin."  Brule advises h i s  We twice f i n d the expression  "enfoncer des portes ouvertes" used t o mean "stating the obvious." "Fairs marcher" i s a common c l i c h e , and i t s use offers a sharp contrast to the powerful, m i l i t a r i s t i c imagery of "sous-conversation." The c l i c h e and the epigram are examples of the tendency of speech to f a l l into habitual patterns.  They are key words of a society that seeks  security i n conformity, and thus serve the purpose of enabling the i n d i v i d u a l t o speak without provoking a reaction.  They r e f l e c t the  movement that we found i n the tropism, the de3ire of the organism to conform to i t s environment. The pattern of the narrative i s c l e a r l y imprinted upon the s t y l e . The use of the present tense and of the dialogue form i s appropriate t o the point of view.  In the r e p e t i t i o n we noticed both hesitancy and  gradation, which correspond to the paradoxical r e l a t i o n s between i n d i v i dual and group, while the l e v e l s of "conversation" and "sous-conversation" are those of plot and narrative, respectively, with the wealth of imagery of the l a t t e r becoming r e i f i e d into the c l i c h e of speech. s t y l e presents a pattern of constant struggle between the deep and  The  50 i n d i v i d u a l experience of a sensation and the e f f o r t t o express that sensation i n a language that i s constantly p e t r i f i e d by s o c i a l conformity.  n  . . . j e l e sens t r l s bien, mais j e ne sais pas l'exprimer.  je n'ai a ma d i s p o s i t i o n que de pauvres mots completement uses a force d'avoir s e r v i a tous et a tout. . ."74 the same problem as his creator.  The character i s struggling with  I t i s a persistent theme of Sarraute's  r e f l e c t i o n s on w r i t i n g , that the r e a l i t y that she has experienced beneath the mask of customary appearance requires a new s t y l e and a new form. La r e a l i t e pour l e romancier, c'est l'inconnu, 1 ' i n v i s i b l e . Ce q u ' i l est, l u i semble-t-il, l e premier a s a i s i r . Ce qui ne se l a i s s e pas exprimer par l e s formes connues et usees. Mais ce qui exige pour se reveler, qui ne peut se reveler que par un nouveau mode d'expression, par de nouvelles formes• 75  74ibid., p. 128. 7 Nathalie Sarraute, "Nouveau Soman et R e a l i t e , " Revue de l ' I n s t i t u t de Sociologie de l U n i v e r s i t e de Bruxelles' (no', s p e c i a l 5  1963), p. 432.  *  ..  II ASPECTS OF THE FICTION In turning now t o discussions of p l o t , character, space, and time, we are moving from narrative into f i c t i o n , from "discours" into "histoire."  The p l o t , or story, i s "what" i s related,''' while the 0  character i s developed as an i n d i v i d u a l personality.  Space i s created  by means of descriptive passages and time, by i t s chronological v e r i s i m i l i t u d e , adds to the aura of realism.  In the eighteenth and  nineteenth centuries, the golden age of the novel, the f i c t i o n a l aspects were generally predominant.  Plots were tortuous, f u l l of incidents,  often unexpected, and characters were made, e i t h e r through subtleties of psychology or through d e t a i l e d v i s u a l d e s c r i p t i o n , to take on the i l l u s i o n of r e a l i t y , to be l i f e - l i k e .  I f we think of the work of  Balzac or of Dickens, no d e t a i l i s spared i n recreating the physical space i n which the a c t i o n takes place, while time i s constantly used to create tension, or suspense as Barthes c a l l s i t .  We have only t o  think of the l e t h a r g i c pace of the good by comparison with the f r e n e t i c a c t i v i t y of e v i l i n a Dickens novel t o see the way i n which time served to i n t e n s i f y the story.  At the beginning of the Heart of Midlothian,  Walter Scott delays the a r r i v a l of the coach while bringing out the d e t a i l s of background necessary f o r an understanding of the action, a c t i o n that w i l l only begin when the coach, discerned already f a r i n  7°see above, pp. 4-5.  51  the distance, f i n a l l y , a f t e r slowly navigating the tortuous road, reaches those waiting i n the foreground of the scene. A l l t h i s Sarraute has consciously attempted to eradicate from her work. attack.  The plot and the character are the main targets of continual  Description, too, i s dismissed as appearance, and i f time i s  not subjected to open comment, i t i s beoause i t s f a t e i s understood to be sealed with that of the p l o t .  T h i s , however, does not mean that  those four aspects of the novel are not present i n Sarraute's work. They a l l have r o l e s to play, but they are minor compared with t h e i r past s i g n i f i c a n c e .  The f i c t i o n a l element has been subordinated to the  narrative. Rousset i d e n t i f i e s the emphasis on the creative r o l e of the form as a p r i n c i p a l d i f f e r e n c e between modern and e a r l i e r w r i t i n g . In the context of a discussion of the ideas of Henry James, he says: " C a s t l'oeuvre, c'est l a structure de l'oeuvre qui est inventrice; 'une forme est feconde en i d l e s ' . ^ n  way of expressing a pre-existing idea.  E a r l i e r , the form was seen as a Sarraute has ventured f u r t h e r  than most w r i t e r s towards the opposite pole where the f i c t i o n i s 7 subordinated to the narrative, where the meaning a r i s e s from the form. Plot In discussing the narrative structure of Les F r u i t s d'Or,  we  have already touched upon the p l o t , f o r i t i s the plot which triggers ^Rousset, Forme et S i g n i f i c a t i o n , p. x i i . T h e s e comments are only true i n the broadest sense. In the nineteenth century some writers, most notably Flaubert, were already seeking form p u r i f i e d of content. Sarraute's a r t i c l e "Flaubert l e Precurseur" shows that she i s f u l l y aware of t h i s . 7o  53 the tropisms with t h e i r long digressions into the psychological element, the very substance of the work. In Barthes's analysis of f i c t i o n , * ^ which we touched upon i n our introduction, the plot i s seen as c e r t a i n "unites'* ("fonctions cardinales" or "noyaux") l i n k e d together h o r i z o n t a l l y into a sequence. Such a sequence might be:  entering a restaurant, being shown to a  t a b l e , ordering a meal, being served the courses i n sequence and paying the b i l l .  The  "noyaux" are further described as being moments of r i s k  which we should no doubt interpret i n the sense of e x i s t e n t i a l acts, f o r they e f f e c t i v e l y determine future events though t h e i r r e s u l t s cannot be  foreseen. Ces fonctions peuvent etre a premiere vue f o r t i n s i g n i f i a n t e s ; ce qui l e s constitue, ce n'est pas l e spectacle (1'importance, l e volume, l a rarete ou l a force de l ' a c t i o n enoncee), c*est, s i l'on peut d i r e , l e risque: l e s fonctions cardinales sont l e s moments de risque du recit.80  Between the "noyaux" l i e other "unites" c a l l e d "catalyses" which, at the l e v e l of the p l o t , serve mainly to f i l l i n space and take on s i g n i f i c a n c e at the higher l e v e l s of "actions" or "narration." This analysis i s p a r t i c u l a r l y useful to us i n our study of Sarraute'3 work for i t helps us to i d e n t i f y c l e a r l y the r o l e that she has assigned to the p l o t .  We know, from her own c r i t i c a l writings, that  Sarraute i s very consciously attempting to divert the reader*s attention away from the p l o t to what she sees as the important functions relationships of l i t e r a t u r e .  and  P l o t i n the past has only served t o d i s t r a c t  "^Barthes, "Analyse s t r u c t u r a l e des r e c i t s . "  the reader. Ce sont oes gros mobiles, oes vastas mouvements t r e s apparents et eux seals que voient d'ordinaire l e s conteurs et l e s leoteurs, entrafnes dans l a mouvement de 1'action et talonnes par 1»intrigue, des romans behavioristes. l i s n'ont n i l e temps n i l e moyen—ne disposant d'aucun instrument ..d'investigation assez d e l i c a t — d e v o i r avec exactitude l e s mouvements plus f u g i t i f s et plus f i n s que ces grands mouvements pourraient dissimuler. * 0  The p l o t , then, became so prominent and so mechanical that i t concealed, rather than revealed, the r e a l i t y that Sarraute i s seeking. In Les F r u i t s d'Or, there i s a p l o t , but i t has been relegated to the background behind the subtle movements of the human psyche. Stripped of i t s d i s t r a c t i n g colours, i t nevertheless plays the mechanical r o l e of creating the sequential l i n k s upon which the narrat i v e hangs.  The p l o t i s conveyed t o the reader, not i n a s e r i e s of  events, f o r there are few actions i n the book, but i n dialogue.  The  grossness that Sarraute f i n d s i n overt a c t i o n has given place t o the greater s e n s i t i v i t i e s of the word,**  2  and i t i s through what people say  to each other that we l e a r n of the current fortunes of "Lea F r u i t s d'Or."  Barthes's •"noyaux'* are found i n the responses that the characters  make t o one another, and, i f we look again at Section 6, we see l i m i t e d a r o l e the dialogue and the plot have.  how  In t h i s section the  81  Sarraute, L'Sre du Soupcon, p. 101. S a r r a u t e has t h i s to say of the contrast between deed and word: ^Les actes, en e f f e t , se deploient en t e r r a i n decouvert et dans l a lumiere crue du grand jour. Les plus infimes d'entre eux, compare's a oes d e l i e a t s et miniscules mouvements i n t e r i e u r s paraissent grossiers et v i o l e n t s : . . • A  Mais a defaut d'actes, nous avons a notre d i s p o s i t i o n l e s paroles. Les paroles possedent l e s qualites necessaires pour capter, proteger et porter au dehors pes mouvements souterrains a l a f o i s inpatients et c r a i n t i f s . " (L'Sre du Soupcon, pp. 100-102)  dialogue covers twelves l i n e s of text and i s presumably  continuous,  but between statement and response Sarraute has inserted s i x pages of narrative which plumb the psychological depths of the i n d i v i d u a l without f u r t h e r i n g the.story.  With few exceptions t h i s i s the pattern  that i s found throughout the book.*^ Even i n Section 1, i n which a great deal of information has t o be conveyed to the reader without r e s o r t i n g to a s i n g l e narrator, the dialogue scarcely exceeds the narration.  In terms of Barthes*s a n a l y s i s , what t h i s implies i s that  h i s lowest l e v e l of s i g n i f i c a n c e , that of f i c t i o n , has been reduced to no more than the merest o u t l i n e . There i s , however, a p l o t and i t i s b r i e f l y described i n the following t a b l e . T A B L E  U  OUTLINE OF THE PLOT Section 1  A conversation i s i n progress between two persons concerning a previous discussion with a t h i r d . The ostensible subject i s Courbet but the source of disagreement l i e s i n the d i f f e r e n t a t t i t u d e displayed to changes i n t a s t e . "Les F r u i t s d'Or" i s mentioned to heal the r i f t , but i t s introduction causes greater misunderstanding.  Section 2  The t h i r d person v i s i t s the eminent c r i t i c , Brule, to ask h i s opinion of "Les F r u i t s d'Or," since he cannot make up h i s own .mind. B r u l e . i s convinced that i t i s admirable.  Section 3  Brule composes an a r t i c l e i n praise of "Les F r u i t s d'Or."  ^3pwo exceptions w i l l be mentioned l a t e r .  See below, pp. 77-78.  56 Table 4 (Continued)  Section 4  The a r t i c l e i s the f i r s t shot i n a long b a t t l e between formal c r i t i c s and the l i t e r a r y c i r c l e , the r e s u l t of which i s the establishment of Brehier's popularity.  Sections 5 and 6  Success now being assured f o r the book, r e a l i t y and t r u t h can be s a f e l y ignored.  Section 7  "Los F r u i t s d'Or" becomes the standard by which a l l i s t o be measured, time as well as r e a l i t y and t r u t h .  Section 8  The intervention of the outsider, " l e paysan," i s the s i g n a l f o r doubts t o spread.  Section 9  Parrot, a c r i t i c , i s unable to substantiate his enthusiastic praise of l i e s F r u i t s d'Or."  Section 10  Formalist c r i t e r i a give way  Section 11.  Imitation can be demonstrated to be better than the original.  Section 12  Admirers of Brehier are now as rare as were, previously, his detractors, and must face ostracism i f they declare t h e i r views.  Section 13  The group denies claims to spontaneity i n a r t , f o r a l l art can be categorized and a r t i s t s pigeon-holed according to those whom they have imitated.  Section 14  The i s o l a t e d admirer at the end can r e l y only upon h i s personal response to Brehier, though he cannot avoid the attempt to re-introduce the t i t l e "Les F r u i t s d'Or" i n t o the continuing ferment of the l i t e r a r y group which has, by this time, embarked on the crest of a new vogue.  to subjective judgment.  This outline shows the c y c l i c a l pattern of r i s e and f a l l that we have already mentioned i n discussing the narrative structure.  The  fourteen sections d i v i d e equally, with seven belonging to the climax seven to the anti-climax.  and  I t i s the seventh section that the popularity '  of Brehier reaches i t s peak.  "Une l i m i t e a ete a t t e i n t e . La, en tout  cas, dans cette d i r e c t l p n - l a , l e chemin est barre.**^  S a r r a u t e , Les F r u i t s d'Or,  p.  130.  Preceding  and  57 following t h i s moment are two episodes, the one involving Gay, other Jean-Pierre.  the  Both wish t o become true d i s c i p l e s of Brehier and  both abase themselves appropriately before the very miracle of h i s genius.  Guy i s admitted  l a t e r , i s rebuffed.  into the group, while Jean-Pierre, one page  The balance i s perfect.  The peak has been passed,  and f u r t h e r movement w i l l be i n the opposite d i r e c t i o n . I f the pattern of the plot i s not usually as symmetrical  as the  two episodes i n Section 7, there i s a recurrence of incident and idea which creates a balance between the two halves of the book.  Firstly,  of course, there i s an obvious a f f i n i t y between the f i r s t and the l a s t sections, the d e c l i n i n g vogue of Courbet corresponding to the new s t a r that i s r i s i n g at the end. by the "minuter!e  rt  The correspondence i s underlined  and the "horlogerie," mechanical devices which are  mysteriously responsible f o r the turn of events. The group, which i s uniformly Imminent and immanent throughout the work, changes i t s r o l e at mid-point,  f o r , at the f i r s t , i t i s  content to be guided by i t s leaders, the c r i t i c s , while i n the second h a l f i t becomes the a r b i t e r of t a s t e . the f i r s t h a l f becomes, l a t e r ,  The autocratic hierarchy of  the revolutionary c o u n c i l .  The  difference i s revealed by the images of the palace and of the sacking of the palace.  In the f i r s t episode of Section U c r i t i c a l acclaim of  Bru*le' s a r t i c l e i s l i k e the invasion of an army of occupation which ,  drives out the rebels and re-establishes order and true authority. Order and authority are, during the decline of the vogue, to be challenged; c r i t i c s and authors are no longer objects of adulation but of attack, as i n the case of Parrot, and of categorization.  The  58 popular w i l l p r e v a i l s where, before, the people were moulded by t h e i r leaders.  Brule, who  expounds the e l i t i s t aesthetic of the f o r m a l i s t s ,  i s replaced by the philosopher of Section 10, who l i t y of any absolute judgment.  denies the p o s s i b i -  S i m i l a r l y , Valery, the epitome of  reason, gives place to Rimbaud,the inexplicable genius. P a r a l l e l s i t u a t i o n s and incidents can be m u l t i p l i e d .  The woman  i n Section 4, who seeks proof of Brehier's genius " l e l i v r e en main," sees h e r s e l f as a martyr i n the cause of truth, i n much the same way as does the man group.  i n Section 12 upholding Brehier against a h o s t i l e  He thinks of himself as a revolutionary of missionary.  He  r e f e r s i n h i s eulogy of Brehier's merits to Watteau, a name that i s scoffed at by the group.  E a r l i e r (p. 64) Watteau was considered a  paradigm of aesthetic genius.  The eulogy i t s e l f i s reminiscent of  Marcel's remarks (pp. 60-63), and of the virtuoso panegyric of O r t h i l (pp. 114-118), e s p e c i a l l y h i s discussion of the conclusion of Brehier*s book.  The remarkable difference of response accorded these opinions  i n the two halves of the book i s made yet more s t a r t l i n g by the s i m i l a r i t y of t h e i r content.  While O r t h i l i s warmly acclaimed f o r h i s  b r i l l i a n c e , the character i n Section 12 moves t o protect himself as though he fears he w i l l be stoned by the group. The p l o t , then, describes a regular cycle whose peak i s reached i n Section 7.  The upward and downward movements of that cycle  are balanced through corresponding situations, incidents, and  argu-  ments; the one i s the reverse of the other as values swing over to the opposite pole. remains constant.  But the process behind the c y c l i c a l movement Whether Brehier's vogue i s r i s i n g or f a l l i n g , the  59 fundamental pattern of the p l o t i s the same, f o r i t concerns the r e l a t i o n s h i p of i n d i v i d u a l to group. Todorov has been above a l l concerned with the reduction of the " r e c i t " t o i t s basic elements, both by attempting t o establish a l i m i t e d number of plot patterns, and by using the "miero-recit, * or incident within the novel, as an i l l u s t r a t i o n of the t o t a l s t r u c t u r e . ". . • on suppose que l e r e c i t represente l a projection syntagmatique d'un reseau de rapports paradigmatiques *"^5  Following  le  rt  modele  homologique" offered by Todorov, we s h a l l select a number of incidents from "Les F r u i t s d'Or*" arrange them i n the following t a b l e , and attempt to draw from them a common pattern.  Obviously we cannot l i s t  a l l the incidents i n the book but we believe that our findings are generalizable.  T A B L E  5  THE PATTERNS OF TEN SELECTED PLOT INCIDENTS Section  1  2  5  Persons Involved  Incident  3; anon. (A,B,C.)  1  C offers a reproduction t o A and B; B ignores i t ; C i s offended.  2  A asks C's opinion of "Les F r u i t s d'Or"; C r e p l i e s without conviction; A f e e l s . estranged.  3  C praises Courbet; Brfile f l i n c h e s ; C f e e l s out of h i s c l a s s .  4  C asks Brule's help i n judging "Les F r u i t s d'Or"; Brule" responds by giving.his opinion; C concurs with Brule.  5  " E l l e " claims Brehier i s not r e a l i s t i c ; O r t h i l crushes her; " E l l e " i s an object of d e r i s i o n .  2; C and Brule  2; " E l l e " and prthil  ^Todorov,  Description of Incident  Categories du r e S i t , p. 130.  60 Table 5 (Continued) Section  8  Incident  2; "Ilx"  6  " U " wants " l e Paysan" to J u s t i f y h i s argument; " l e Paysan" does so; a l l i a n c e formed.  7  "11" deprecates Varenger; " l e Paysan" disagrees; c o n f l i c t .  8  "11 praises Brehier; group denigrates Brehier; "11" i s "stoned."  9  "11" f e e l s sympathy with Brehier; uncertain response; d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n — i n c o m p l e t e d movement.  and."le Paysan"  12  2; " I l " 2  and group *  1J  Description of Incident  Persons Involved  3; BrehierV and group  10  w  " U " broaches subject of "Les F r u i t s d'Or" i n group; s c o f f i n g response; "11" alone.  A l l the t e n incidents, which we have used as i l l u s t r a t i o n , present themselves i n t r i a d i c form.  The f i r s t term of each i s a proposal  or o f f e r ; t h i s i s either accepted or rejected i n the second term. F i n a l l y , we are presented with the outcome, which i s either a l i e n a t i o n or i n t e g r a t i o n .  We can formulate the pattern i n the following way: ACTION  +  REACTION  —  OUTCOME  This pattern f i t s the majority of incidents i n the book, but there are exceptions.  Section 3> Brule's scene, would appear t o be a case i n  point; but, i n f a c t , t h i s section conforms t o our model, and the - explanation i s given i n Section 4, when we are t o l d how " l e s deux p a i r s " managed to achieve such eminence.  Having out themselves o f f long ago  from contact with others, they interact only with an i d e a l i z e d image of themselves.  " l i s se sont enfermes a t r i p l e tour.  Sauls avec une autre  image qu'lls n'ont plus cesse de contampler, une image d'eux memes  61 aux proportions gigantesques, toujours plus enorme, se deployant de tous cotes.^° exception.  Incident 9 i u our table, however, does seem to be an  " I I , " c e r t a i n that he i s r i g h t i n his judgment, aspires t o  an i n d i v i d u a l , unmediated contact with "Les F r u i t s d'Or" and t h e i r author which cannot be reciprocated.  He i s unable t o maintain h i s  uncompromising stance f o r long since he gets no support: ment i s s i l e n t .  h i s environ-  Like e a r l i e r , s i m i l a r i n d i v i d u a l i s t s , except perhaps  Jean L a b o r i t , he returns to the group, as we see at the end of the book (Incident 10). I f we turn our attention again t o the o v e r a l l pattern of the p l o t , we can now see better the reason f o r the p a r a l l e l i s m of incident and s i t u a t i o n , and also f o r the opposition.  The ascending curve i s  started by the c r i t i c Brftle, who states that "Les F r u i t s d'Or" i s admirable.  Any "action" thereafter i s e i t h e r a reaffirmation of t h i s  i n i t i a l b l a s t , o r a "reaction" t o i t .  B r a i l ' s words e s t a b l i s h the  pattern u n t i l the i n t r u s i o n of " l e paysan," the outsider, speaking with the voice of the common nan.  His equally absolute statement:  "Je c r o i s  que ca ne vaut absolument r i e n . . .," made i n the context of the same l i t e r a r y society, w i l l produce the same pattern of reactions but with the opposite e f f e c t .  Nothing remains a f t e r the cycle has been com-  pleted, except perhaps a lone voice i n the wilderness  of new a c t i v i t y .  Bespite the f a c t that the plot plays a consistently subordinate r o l e i n the t e s t , we have devoted several pages t o i t since  Sarraute*s  use of i t i s of i n t e r e s t . The plot i s important i n that i t provides a Sarraute, Les F r u i t s d'Or, p. 98,  62 bare skeleton upon which to hang the narrative but i t i s not allowed to intrude upon the r e a l substance of the work contained i n the movements.  I t i s , of course, no accident that p l o t and narrative s t r u c -  tures show close resemblances.  The action-reaction-outcome sequence  of the p l o t i s , indeed, the emergence on the surface of the  stimulus-  response-harmony that was the fundamental structure of the n a r r a t i v e . I f the plot and narrative are always related to the same paradigm structure, which has i t s source i n the v i s i o n of the writer, i t i s unusual f o r the plot to become, so evidently, a function of the narrative.  Character The discussion of p l o t structure leads d i r e c t l y to another aspect  of the f i c t i o n , that of character, for i t i s the character  e f f e c t s the incidents of the p l o t .  who  S t r u c t u r a l c r i t i c s , indeed, use  the word "agent," instead of "character" i n order to d i r e c t a t t e n t i o n to the f a c t that i t i s the acts, rather than the psychological depth of the i n d i v i d u a l , that are s i g n i f i c a n t .  According to Barthes, the  character should be seen as ". . . non corame un etre, mais comme un p a r t i c i p a n t . T h i s may  indeed be, as Todorov remarks, * a feature 0  8  of modern l i t e r a t u r e which i n i t s l i m i t a t i o n of the importance of character i s reverting t o medieval forms. novel, however, has been dominated by the  Most of the history of the character.  Nathalie sarraute reacts to the well-rounded character of f i c t i o n with the same f e r o c i t y that she displayed i n her attack on the ^ B a r t h e s , "Analyse s t r u c t u r a l e d e s r e c i t s , " p. 16. 88  Todorov, "Categories du r e c i t , " p.  132.  63 well-built plot.  The arguments are s i m i l a r .  The i n d i v i d u a l character  presents a d i s t r a c t i n g surface to the reader as w e l l as a d u l l r e p e t i t i o n of ready-made people reminiscent of the displays i n a waxworks.  "Musee  Grevin" i s , f o r Sarraute, an epithet of no l i t t l e force: Tel l e chien de Pavlov, a qui l e tintement d'une clochette f a i t secreter de l a s a l i v e , sur l e plus f a i b l e indice i l [ l e lecteur ou l e romancierj fabrique des personnages. Comme au jeu des "statues," tous ceux q u ' i l touche se p e t r i f i e n t . l i s vont g r o s s i r dans sa memoire l a vaste c o l l e c t i o n de figurines de c i r e que tout au long de ses journees i l complete a l a hate et que, depuis q u ' i l a l'age de l i r e , n'ont cesse d'enrichir d'innombrables romans.^9 What Sarraute i s seeking, l i k e V i r g i n i a Woolf before her, i s "les endroits ;ohsenrs de l a psychologie."  Well drawn characters, some of which do  appear i n her books, present impenetrable surfaces which stop the eyes of readers l i k e breastplates. The point of view that she has taken and the tropism are, p r e c i s e l y , the forms necessary f o r the penetration and expression of the i n t e r i o r movements, subjacent t o a l l human i n t e r action.  Proust noted, as from afar, the bubbles that burst to the  surface of s o c i e t y and people, a r i s i n g from some unknown slime beneath. It  i s the slime that Sarraute i s after. "® 0  There i s , then, an apparent paradox.  On the one hand, as we  stated i n chapter I, the character has been placed i n the very f o r e ground of the a c t i o n ; on the other, he has been demolished.  The  paradox i s resolved, however, as soon as we r e a l i z e that the character, l i k e the plot i s a function of the narrative and not the f i c t i o n . ^ S a r r a u t e , L'Bre du Soupcon, p. 70. on ' Only once i n Les F r u i t s d'Or does t h i s s h i f t i n g , unstable world of human i n t e r a c t i o n appear a t t r a c t i v e (pp. 56-57). The assumption that what l i v e s i n "les endroits obscurs" Is nasty pervades the entire book and gives Sarraute's work i t s o v e r a l l tone of sickness. s  u Psychology has been disassociated from the f i c t i o n a l person and has become i d e n t i f i e d with the way i n which the world i s seen and expressed. Barthes makes the same d i s t i n c t i o n using the terms "personne  psycho-  logique" and "personne l i n g u i s t i q u e " : . . . l a "psychologie" ne peut en effet—paradoxalement— s'acccmoder d'un pur aystame de l a personne, car en ramenant tout l e r e c i t a 1'instance seul du discours, ou s i l ' o n prefers a l ' a c t e de l o c u t i o n , c'est l e contenu meme de l a personne qui est menace: l a personne psyohologique (d'ordre r e f e r e n t i a l ) n'a aucun rapport avec l a personne l i n g u i s t i q u e , qui n'est jamais d e f i n i e par des d i s p o s i t i o n s , des intentions, des t r a i t s , mais seulem ant par sa place (codee) dans l e discours.91 Not s u r p r i s i n g l y , then, the f i r s t feature of characterization to note i n Les T r a i t s d'Or i s the absence of r e a d i l y i d e n t i f i a b l e characters.  Host people are anonymous; others are named only a f t e r they  have spoken, such as Brule, Marcel and Henri.  A few, however, are  c l e a r l y i d e n t i f i e d , as i n the case of Jean L a b o r i t , or Jean-Pierre whose naming by the group serves as an accusation. Jean-Pierre i s the only name to occur twice, but we do not know i f i t i s the same character, for  not only are names l i t t l e used, but there i s l i t t l e characterization.  With a few exceptions there i s no attempt made to i n d i v i d u a l i z e the characters by deacription or by d i s t i n c t i v e habits of speech.  Everybody  displays the same psychological features, or, i f there are differences, they are i n s i g n i f i c a n t ones of degree or d e t a i l rather than of kind. In Sarraute's view, stated i n L'Ere du Soupcon, and confirmed by her novels, people are psychologically i d e n t i c a l .  In the depths she has  ^ B a r t h e s , "Analyse structurale des recite," p. 21.  65 ^ 92 found "una matiere anonyme, identique chez tous."' Some characters, however, are c l e a r l y drawn.  "Brule," "les  deux p a i r s " and " O r t h i l " are a l l f i g u r e s which stand out i n our memories*^ and whom we could describe with some accuracy.  Less prominent,  but s t i l l describable, would be " l e p e t i t Dulud" i n Section 1, and Guy from Section 7.  What i s common t o a l l these characters i s that they  are c a r i c a t u r e s , f a c e l e s s masks, objects of admiration.  Indeed, an  image c l o s e l y associated with Brule i s that of the machine.  These few  instances serve t o prove Sarraute's r u l e that the well-constructed character i s unrelated t o r e a l i t y .  I n Section 12 Brehier's character  i s spread out f o r our scrutiny and a n a l y s i s . He i s garrulous and has bad t a s t e , we l e a r n , but the accumulation  of evidence f a i l s u t t e r l y t o  bring him t o l i f e , f o r h i s detractors are, l i k e almost everyone else i n the book, b e l l i g e r e n t l y partisan.  Brehier's t r a i t s are a r t i f a c t s of  evidence which reveal nothing w i t h i n the context of such a court. Sarraute*s view of the i d e n t i t y of human psychology c l e a r l y owes a great deal to Dostoevsky.  I n h i s work she has observed the s t a r t l i n g  twists and turns of the characters as they confront others, a t one moment fawning i n humility, a t the next rebuffing with pride; and she finds behind t h i s confusing movement the attempt of human creatures t o make contact with others:  ". . . l i s se modelent sur 1'image d'eux-memes,  9 % n h i s socio-psychological study of Sarraute's work, Nathalie Sarraute, J-L. Jaccard sees the characters as members of the r e v i l e d bourgeoisie: " l i s sont tous semblables, cette carapace q u ' i l s ont revetue est p a r e i l l e a toutes l e s autres carapaces; r i e n ne nous permet de d i s t i n g u e r un i n d i v i d u de 1'autre." (p. 30) memory i s s p e c i f i c a l l y mentioned by Sarraute (L'Bre du Soupcon, p. 70) f o r i t has the tendency t o f i x or p e t r i f y images which obstruct future perception.  66 que l e s autres l e u r renvoient."°4  Not only, however, does Dostoevsky  o f f e r her an example of human i d e n t i t y , he also shows that outward actions are simply the symptom of the r e a l drama that i s taking place within the person.  By way of example Sarraute discusses the scene i n  The Brothers Karamazov between Father Zossima and old Karamazov: . . . ces mouvements s u b t i l 3 , a peine perceptible, f u g l t i f s , contradiotoires, evanesoents, de f a i b l e s tremblements, des ebauches d'appals timides et des reculs, des ombres legeres qui g l i s s e n t , et dont l e jeu incessant constitue l a trams i n v i s i b l e de tous l e s rapports humains et l a substance meme de notre vie.95 The continuity between i n t e r i o r movement and outward action, and the i d e n t i t y of mankind are the fundamental p r i n c i p l e s of Sarraute's psychology, as we s h a l l see i n studying the structure of relationships between people, the motiviation f o r a c t i o n . In the psychological structure we f i n d repeated the pattern that we saw i n the plot and the narrative, the structure of the tropism.  The  person i s always "en s i t u a t i o n , " always forced to adapt to an environment that changes and which he changes.  Both determined and determining,  though r a r e l y consciously, the i n d i v i d u a l being forms one of the terms of a continual d i a l e c t i c with h i s society.  Ideally, there exists repose,  but i n the present there i s only movement. Conceptually, the movement begins with a stimulus, an a c t , which  S a r r a u t e , L'Bre du Soupcon, pp. 34-35. I t i s interesting to note the s i m i l a r i t i e s . i n the psychology of Sarraute's work and of that described by Bene G-irard i n h i s book Deceit, Desire.and the Novel; S e l f and Other i n L i t e r a r y Structure (trans, by Yvonne Freccero, Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 1965}. Sarraute's characters continually f i n d themselves i n mediated relationships, and t h e i r most prominent a s p i r a t i o n i s that of d i r e c t contact. I t i s not, perhaps, s u r p r i s i n g to f i n d that both Sarraute and Girard are students of Dostoevsky. 'Sarraute, L'Bre du Soupcon, p. 29  67 upsets the i d e a l harmony.  We have already noted the nature of t h i s  stimulus and given examples.  What i s important i s that i t creates,  between i n d i v i d u a l and environment, a tension or dissension which demands r e s o l u t i o n . The f i r s t pronouncements of Les F r u i t s d'Or creates t h i s tension, as though winding up a spring.  " . . . Oh ecoute,  tu es t e r r i b l e , t u pourrais f a l r e un e f f o r t . . • j ' e t a i s genee. .  horriblement  The word "gener" occurs several times i n the book, and  i s supplemented by i t s synonyms, "inquieter," " f r o i s s e r , " "deranger." Situations denoting anxiety, sometimes of an extreme nature, are frequent.  There i s the woman who f e e l s she has just had an e l e c t r i c /  shock:  97  "Un choc l a f a i t sursauter, une douleur l a d e c h i r e . " "  Judgments have the power of blows t o create i n t o l e r a b l e f e e l i n g s of tension.  "C'est f a i t expires"  i s an example i n Section 6; "ceux qui  aamirent l e s f r u i t s d'or sont des s o t s " i s another from Section 21. We have already noticed the effect of Mettetal»s statement on the woman narrator of Section 6; she panicked l i k e a stampeding orowd.  The con-  tinuous i n t e r a c t i o n between people i n the ceaselessly evolving present means that there i s a constant tension.  We s h a l l c a l l t h i s f i r s t step  of the psychological structure "anguish." The response t o anguish i s , n a t u r a l l y enough, t o attempt t o escape i t , so that, t o use Sartre's expression, we can c a l l t h i s second 98 step " f l i g h t . " 7  The contradiction created between the i n d i v i d u a l and  9^Sarraute, Les F r u i t s d'Or, p. 7.  97ibid.. p. 64. 9°Sartre, "Preface," P o r t r a i t d'un Inconnu, p. 11. We s h a l l consider the t h i r d step, "harmony," simultaneously with " f l i g h t , " f o r , i f the i n d i vidual seeks t o avert anguish, he seeks a l s o to.return t o a condition i n which he imagines himself a t peace with h i s environment.  68 his  society must be terminated,  such conditions.  f o r l i f e i s evidently not possible i n  I t i s impossible t o sustain f o r any length of time  an individual opinion without the support of at l e a s t one other person. Total i s o l a t i o n i s unbearable, except perhaps f o r the man i n Section 1 who r e j e c t s groups on p r i n c i p l e . are ubiquitous.  Examples t o the contrary, however,  In Section 1 the woman seeks t o heal the r i f t between  herself and the t h i r d person, while he i n h i s turn (Section 2), has t o choose between two separate s o c i e t i e s , the e l i t e , with Brule, or the commoners, with h i s i n t e r l o c u t o r s from Section 1. Section 4 contributes the example of the woman who misjudges her master, Lueien, f i n d s h e r s e l f i s o l a t e d , and has rapidly t o reverse her opinion; the man who would l i k e t o contradict her i s obliged by the p r e v a i l i n g mood of society to agree.  At the end of Section 4 we f i n d the man who, having demon-  strated the hollowness of the claims and pronouncements of the eminent c r i t i c s , needs the support of, at l e a s t , one other person f o r him t o feel  reassured. Que quelqu'un antande son appel, qu'un seul d'autre eux v e u i l l e bien venir se ranger a, ses cotes. . . Qu*un seul autre regard que l e s i e n perooive ce q u ' i l v o l t . . . I I n'en demande pas p l u s . Pour q u ' i l puisss se s e n t i r absolument sur, i n v i n c i b l e , pour que puisse triompher l a v e r i t e , i l l u i faut juste c e l a : un seul temoin. 99  The very same need appears again a t the end of the book, i n Section 14, when the s o l i t a r y admirer of Brehier, even against h i s w i l l , i s driven to share h i s conviction with others i n the hope of f i n d i n g  sympathizers.  However, the c o n f l i c t i s not always resolved by the submission of i n d i v i d u a l t o environment.  On a number of occasions the i n d i v i d u a l  9%arraute, Les F r u i t s d'Or, pp. 105-06.  69 refuses t o submit and, seeing himself as a martyr, revolutionary, or pariah, i s w i l l i n g t o take the consequences of h i s action.  He or she  *  i s f i g u r a t i v e l y eliminated i n images of expulsion or even of stoning (Sections 5 and 1 2 ) .  1 0 0  The character i n Section 14 has come t o terms  with h i s banishment but i s nevertheless planning to win the group over to h i s opinion.  Brehier's career summarizes the i n t e r a c t i o n between  i n d i v i d u a l and environment, f o r while his book pleased the group there was no tension; once "Les F r u i t s d'Or" becomes unacceptable,  however,  i t creates a s i t u a t i o n only t o be resolved by the execration of the book and the f i g u r a t i v e death of i t s author.^"^ I t should be noted that the group cannot always be i d e n t i f i e d with the environment f o r i t s nature changes and, at times, i t acts  102 l i k e an i n d i v i d u a l , even t o the point of taking on the role of narrator. The environment of the f i r s t h a l f of the book i s controlled by the c r i t i c s . The group, l i k e the i n d i v i d u a l , has t o adapt i t s e l f t o the ourrent pronouncements of i t s leaders of t a s t e , though i t does o f f e r , i n i t i a l l y at l e a s t , an a l t e r n a t i v e , formless and slimy environment to those who are apprehensive of the barren world of the aesthetic e l i t e s .  We hear  of the f e e l i n g s of "Nous, l e menu peuple. . .,* and we l e a r n that the group, too, seeks harmony i n i t s v i s i o n of a promised land. ^3 prom T h e most v i o l e n t movements i n Les F r u i t s d'Or are probably those made by the eyes, but the interpersonal c o n f l i c t , experienced within the character and expressed i n banal language, takes on the emotional proportion of physical action, even a c t i o n of a violent nature. I n the cases here the emotional context i s equivalent t o that of actual physical expulsion and stoning. 1(  1 0 0  1 0 1  S e e above, footnote 100.  1 0 2  S e e , f o r examples, pp. 82-83 and 86-90, of Les F r u i t s d'Or.  ^•®%arraute Les F r u i t s d'Or, p. 87 and p. 94» t  70 Section 7 onwards the group's r o l e changes.  Jean-Pierre i s expelled,  not because he d i d not submit, but because the group made a c o l l e c t i v e decision about t h i s p a r t i c u l a r i n d i v i d u a l . longer guided by the c r i t i c s .  Thereafter the group i s no  I t i s i t s own master and becomes, i n  e f f e c t , the environment t o which individuals have t o conform. The "Promised Land" i n which the masses are the arbiters of t a s t e has been found, and the masses attack the c r i t i c s , such as Parrot, and make the decisions as t o who i s to be considered great. Submission of the i n d i v i d u a l to h i s society i s , of course, an abnegation of l i f e i t s e l f . t o be moulded.  The individual becomes an object, something  Jean Laborit sees himself as empty and s t e r i l e :  "un  receptacle vide que remplira entierement ce q u ' i l s vont y deposer." S i m i l a r l y , t h e character of Section 12, momentarily opting f o r harmony, becomes viscous matter that w i l l take any shape whatsoever:  "Dans  ce moule que vois m'avez donnl, que j e s a i s , comma vous, manier, l a substance i n v i s i b l e se coule, s'adapts parfaitement." ^ 1-0  Absorption into the environment i s a process of r e i f i c a t i o n i n which the i n d i v i d u a l loses the a b i l i t y t o a c t . But i t i s not the only possible means of escape from anxiety.  Brule, "les deux p a i r s , " and  O r t h i l i l l u s t r a t e another d i r e c t i o n f o r " f l i g h t . "  The i n d i v i d u a l can  avert anguish by becoming inaccessible t o others.  He can put up a  smoke-screen of words l i k e Brfile, play the r o l e of virtuoso l i k e O r t h i l , or b a f f l e the audience with jargon l i k e " l e s deux p a i r s , " a l l devices which allow the person t o see without being seen, to attack without f e a r  1 0  ^ I b i d . , p. 195.  71 of being attacked. les  rt  The process i s best described i n the analysis of  deux p a i r s . " . . . i l s se sont barricades en eux-m&nes, ont bouche toutes l e s issues, l a plus f i n e f i s s u r e , pour emptcher de penetrer en eux, de s*insinuer en eux douloureusement ce qui f i l t r a i t de chaque regard pose sur eux, de cheque intonation de voix.  But the protective devices, the masks, become i n f a c t moulds.  *  The  i n d i v i d u a l i s once again r e i f i e d , t h i s time into a r o l e which he has chosen, but which i s defined by others, by the s o c i e t y .  He cannot con-  t r a d i c t society, as Lucien f i n d s when c a l l e d upon t o pronounce judgment upon "Les F r u i t s d»Or."  Nor can he l e t s l i p h i s mask f o r a moment  and reveal h i s humanity, as Parrot d i d . The c r i t i c , the author, even the King are r o l e s i n which the individual can f i n d protection just so long as he recognizes that i t i s the society, the environment, which defines those r o l e s .  This i n d i v i d u a l i s no f r e e r than he who seeks  anonymity within the group. In summary, we can create a t r i a d i c structure of characterization using the three terms that we selected e a r l i e r : ANGUISH —  FLIGHT — HARMONY/  This i s , of course, not an i s o l a t e d sequence but one l i n k i n an endless chain of such sequences.  Sach and every i n d i v i d u a l i s submerged i n a  continual cycle of movements from harmony-to-anguish-to-harmony.  His  attempts to escape by submission t o the environment, or by elaborate s e l f - p r o t e c t i o n are no more than b r i e f moments of harmony to be disrupted by the ceaseless flow of time.  1 0 5  I b i d . , p. 98.  72 Space Another unusual feature i n Les F r u i t s d Or i s the l a c k of f  s i t u a t i o n for the a c t i o n .  Only once i n the book i s a s e t t i n g described.  At the end of Section 1, the woman i s upset because the t h i r d party of the conversation gave a non-committal answer t o her question about •'Les F r u i t s d'Or." response.  She goes baok t o see him t o get a more s a t i s f a c t o r y  From outside i n the street she sees the l i g h t i n h i s apart-  ment, and we follow her up the s t a i r s t o h i s door and i n s i d e :  "Dans  l a s a i l s commune des femmes echevelees aux longues mecb.es reches se frappent l a p o i t r i n e , . . , " ® 1  0  This appears t o be the i n i t i a l  impetus that releases the Brehier vogue.  "Les F r u i t s d'Or"  i s l e d from  the dark i n t o " l a s a l l e commune," which, we gather from the image, i s the s e t t i n g f o r extraordinary events. ®''' I n the f i r s t two sections 1  (pp. 6 and 25) there are b r i e f i n d i c a t i o n s , i n the descriptions of f u r n i t u r e and pictures on the w a l l s , that the a c t i o n takes place i n a study.  Apart from t h i s , there i s no d e s c r i p t i o n of place. On the other hand, however, the reader i s very much aware of  space.  Without being s p e c i f i c a l l y indicated, the space i n which the  events occur exerts a constant pressure upon them.  Even without the  scene i n Section 1, the reader i s conscious that he i s i n a room and, probably, i n quite a small room, which creates a sense of i s o l a t i o n from the outside world as well as a f e e l i n g of claustrophobia.  Despite the  106lbid., p. 77. ^^The image cannot, of course, be taken l i t e r a l l y but i t can be ambiguous, both evoking the woman's sensations as she enters the room, but also suggesting t o the reader the.idea of i n s a n i t y which w i l l pervade the scenes he i s t o witness i n just such rooms as t h i s .  73 f a c t that v i c i o u s assaults are launched from one armchair to another, nobody gets up and leaves, f o r t h i s i s the salon society of the l i t e r a r y coterie whose weapons are words and whose wounds bleed internally.  only  Open animosity would, of course, lead to immediate expul-  sion from the desirable e l i t e . Such a d e s c r i p t i o n i s speculative since i t i s never written. As with plot and character Sarraute has repressed the f i c t i o n a l  aspect,  the aspect of space which would allow us to create an objective, i l l u s o r y world, with the r e s u l t that our concept of space i s a function of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between characters.  Space, l i k e a c t i o n , belongs to  "les endroits obscurs de l a psyehologie," which we have associated with the n a r r a t i v e .  Man  i s no longer determined by physical circumstances  against which he struggles i n overt action, but by his i n t e r a c t i o n with an environment which he only apprehends i n his inmost depths.  Visible  space i s replaced by the psychological space of interpersonal r e l a t i o n s . The fundamental structure of t h i s space i s that of a t i g h t l y enclosed form.  We sense, behind the episodic c o n f l i c t s from which  there i s no escape, the closed room.  This same f e e l i n g of being shut i n  i s found again i n the concept of the group as a completely u n i f i e d body: "une  seule masse," "un seul bloc."  In Section 2 Brule's study i s seen  as a l i t t l e haven of c i v i l i z a t i o n e n t i r e l y encircled by barbarity. The c i r c l e i s the paradigm of the enclosed form and i t recurs frequently i n descriptions of space i n the text.  The palace image  (Section 4), which i s employed s p e c i f i c a l l y to create the sense of i n c l u s i o n and exclusion, presents society as a series of concentric c i r c l e s about the central person of the monaroh.  The f o r t r e s s (Section 9)  IK  i s described as "1'enceinte f o r t i f i e e , " d e l i b e r a t e l y exploiting the idea of c i r c u l a r i t y .  On several occasions the group i t s e l f i s c l e a r l y  referred t o as a c i r c l e .  In Section 1 the group i s seen as an exclusive  club, both closed and c i r c u l a r . du mame monde.  "On est, n'est-ce pas, entre gens  Memos clubs fermes, mamas c e r c l e s .  1 , 1 0 8  Elsewhere the  group i s the howling pack that surrounds i t s prey and i s held a t bay by l i g h t e d matches.  ". . . ces allumettes que l'homme cerne en pleine nuit  par une meute de loups f r o t t e en toute biite. . .w ^ 10  The woman who  challenged Mettetal i s f i g u r a t i v e l y stoned and e x p e l l e d  1 1 0  by the group  described as the "cercle des f i d e l e s . " Relationships between people are also perceived i n terms of c i r c u l a r i t y , of proximity t o some dimly-perceived centre.  Marcel,  annoyed that a woman he d i s l i k e s has somehow insinuated h e r s e l f into a p o s i t i o n protected by general opinion from h i s attack, decides that he cannot remove her: Mais comment se r e t e n i r de l a pousser, de l a bousculer un peu, a l l o n s , i l y a place pour l e s autres i c i , n'est-ce pas?. • • pour moi a u s s i , voyez. . • a l l o n s , poussez-vous done, je m'installe, je m'etire. • .- 1  11  The image i s of a small enclosed space t o which everyone seeks entry, a c e n t r a l object of d e s i r e . More e x p l i c i t i s the anguish experienced by the man i n Section 12 who f e e l s h i s a l i e n a t i o n from the group i n terms of displacement  l o 8  1 Q Q  S a r r a u t e , Les F r u i t s d'Or, p. 12. I b i d . , p. 181.  •^^See above, p. 69, footnote 100. ^ ^ a r r a u t e , Les F r u i t s d'Or, p. 59.  from  75 a c e n t r a l point. Moi l e centre, moi l'axe autour duquel tout se groupait, tournait, moi dont l e regard pouvait, se j e l e voulais, se perdre dans l e s l o i n t a i n s , atteindre tous l e s confins, moi l a mesure unique de toutes choses, moi l e centre de gravite du monde, je suie deplace", deporte. . . 1  1  2  This image i s the key to the concept of space that i s i m p l i c i t i n Les F r u i t s d'Or.  The only'space that pertains to the f i c t i o n i s that  of l a s a l l e commune" of Section 1, n  and i t may well be that this i s ,  indeed, the s e t t i n g of l a t e r sections and episodes.  But space i s psycho-  l o g i c a l rather than physical, the sense of being confined by one's society or group, and the sense of one's r e l a t i v e p o s i t i o n i n i t , by which i 3 meant one's proximity t o the centre of the c i r c l e .  Time The d i s t i n c t i o n that has been made between narrative and f i c t i o n has been used by Ricardou t o analyze the function of time i n the  novel.  11  There i s a time pertaining t o the f i c t i o n and another t o the narrative, and the two are u n l i k e l y t o be co-extensive.  The narrative may r e f e r t o  f i o t l o n a l past or future; there may be d i f f e r e n t episodic durations and each may be interrupted without a f f e c t i n g the continuity of the  other.  The difference between narrative and f i c t i o n a l time i n Les F r u i t s d'Or  Is both i l l u m i n a t i n g and s i g n i f i c a n t , f o r i t shows yet again the  predominance of narrative over f i c t i o n , of i n t e r i o r movement over overt action.  We can i l l u s t r a t e t h i s by making use of the diagrammatic  approach suggested by Ricardou.  1 1 2  In a l l of the following diagrams the  I b i d . , p. 193.  ^ ^ R i c a r d o u , Problemes du Nouveau Roman, pp. 161-70.  76 two p a r a l l e l axes represent narrative and f i c t i o n a l time, and i n t h i s f i r s t f i g u r e we see that they are almost  co-extensive.  1 year (approx.) "  Narrative  /I  / '  Fiction Conversation preceding Section 1 F i g . 1—Comparison of Narrative and F i c t i o n a l Duration  We l e a r n (p. 175) year.  that the duration of events i s about  one  This t o t a l period i s divided, i n the book, into fourteen sections  which, i n terms of time, are very short.  C l e a r l y , there i s a break i n  both narrative and f i c t i o n between one s e c t i o n and the next, but i s never any i n d i c a t i o n of i t s duration.  there  The episodes, on the other  hand, seem to be associated i n continuous time, though some of the i n t e r i o r monologues (Sections 12 and 14)  could w e l l be seen as extracts  from d i a r i e s a t d i f f e r e n t dates* The f i c t i o n of Les F r u i t s d'Or  extends s l i g h t l y longer than  the narrative because of the previous conversation referred to i n Section 1.  The shortness of the time span distinguishes Sarraute'3  work from that of many e a r l i e r n o v e l i s t s , but what i s more important i s that, w i t h i n that duration, there i s l i t t l e reference to periods beyond the most immediate past and future. (pp.  The admirer of Lucien  50-54) r e c a l l s her past, even her childhood, but i t i s a b r i e f  incident and i s not repeated.  Not only the whole work, but the sections  77 and episodes too, tend to temporal  co-extension.  The difference between narrative and f i c t i o n a l time becomes most apparent when we look, not at the duration, but at the r e l a t i v e amounts of time devoted to the r e l a t i o n of an a c t i o n and i t s analysis, f o r here we see the narrative extended f a r beyond the duration of the event.  Section 6 onoe again provides the example, but i t i s a paradigm  f o r the whole work.  -—  —  —  pi  yy  >/  NARRATIVE — — Mettetal's 2 1. Words of me words  //JZ' yy'/Z'  1  ) xj^x^FICTION  *3*  W  o  r  d  s  " "  o f  Sroup  I . Inner reactions of "Elle" I I . Inner reactions of " E l l e , " Mettetal, and group  F i g . 2—Narrative and F i c t i o n a l Time i n Section 6 Even t h i s diagram inadequately conveys the lengths of time of narrative i  and f i o t i o n , f o r the f i c t i o n consists merely of Mettetal'a statement, the responses of " E l l e , " and of the group.  This i s the general pattern  that we f i n d , but there are two exceptions which serve to i l l u s t r a t e the change that Sarraute has effected i n her novels.. In Sections 5 and 11 two characters report events that occurred; that i s , they t e l l s t o r i e s i n the t r a d i t i o n a l manner.  An anonymous speaker t e l l s of O r t h i l * s  panegyric of Brehier i n Section 5» and i n Section 11 Jacques's wife recounts, with much a t t e n t i o n to s t y l e , the grand t a l e of Jacques's i m i t a t i o n of Brehier.  Both episodes reveal the desire of t h e i r  78 narrators t o capture the a t t e n t i o n and passive admiration of t h e i r l i s t e n e r s — a n a r t i s t i c goal which Sarraute  deplores.  JJorxativQ a. Time of O r t h i l ' s performance I. Time of narration of events F i g . 3—-Narrative and F i c t i o n a l Time i n Section 5 The narrator needs only four pages t o r e l a t e the events of the entire evening on which O r t h i l displayed h i s talents as a c r i t i c .  This pattern  of time i n Section 5 and i n the f i r s t part of Section 11 resembles that employed most frequently by w r i t e r s ; dialogue, which i s co-extensive, i s supplemented usually by a c t i o n and by the a s s o c i a t i o n of present events with those i n the past.  With the elimination of the major  aspects of p l o t t i n g , and with her analysis i n depth of each incident, Sarraute has reversed the usual r e l a t i o n s h i p of narrative t o f i c t i o n . When we attempt t o show diagrammatically  the t o t a l pattern of  time i n Les F r u i t s d'Or, we f i n d that the p a r a l l e l axes of narrative and f i c t i o n , i n order t o r e v e a l , even approximately, the extension of the former, have t o be ourved.  (See F i g . U, P» 79.)  The diagram  i l l u s t r a t e s that Sarraute has indeed reversed normal p r i o r i t i e s . time of a c t i o n , which u s u a l l y dominates the foreground  The  of a novel, has  been reduced t o a minimum and has been replaced by the psychological preoccupations  of the n a r r a t i v e .  The f a i n t e s t v i s i b l e movement i s the  r e s u l t of an almost indescribably long process by which the organism becomes aware of, and finds how t o respond to, i t s environment.  F i g . 4 — T o t a l Pattern of Narrative and F i c t i o n a l Time i n Les F r u i t s d'Or Chronologically, the time-lapse between stimulus and response may be infinitesimal.  To evoke the process, however, requires a greatly  expanded narrative time. The concept of time that regulates Les F r u i t s d'Or i s the pattern of movement that we have discerned i n the tropism, the ceaseless process of the organism's e f f o r t t o e s t a b l i s h harmony with i t s environment. Time, as chronology, i s mentioned only once i n the text.  Jacques's  wife t e l l s her audience that her story could not have been t o l d a year previously.  "Pour r i e n au monde, n'est-oe pas, i l y a seulement un an,  on n'aurait pas pu raconter c e l a . . .w ^ 1  w  e  l e a r n that the vogue of  "Les F r u i t s d'Or" l a s t s s l i g h t l y longer than one year, a period that we can l i n k t o the cycle of seasons.  But apart from t h i s one reference,  time, l i k e space, l i e s beneath the surface of the text, constantly urging the a c t i o n forward but never intruding overtly upon the scene.  ^Sarraute, Les F r u i t s d'Or, p. 175.  80 We,  as readers, p a r t i c i p a t e i n the a c t i o n as i t occurs.  We are  plunged i n t o a continuous present, cannot see the future, and the past i s the pages of the book that we have already read.  Time i s not per-  ceived chronologically but a3 the sequence of thoughts and actions that we experience, and the r e l a t i o n s h i p of necessity that i t establishes between stimulus and response. image of " l a m i n u t e r i e .  Necessity i s w e l l - i l l u s t r a t e d by the  n  Aliens l e sort en est j e t e . . • La porta cochere s*ouvre, v o i l a l a minuterie, l e s deux marches, l a porte v i t r e e , l ' e s e a l i e r , quatre a quatre, mais pourquoi quatre a. quatre? quelle idee. . . qui a jamais?. . . C'est deux a deux q u ' i l faut d i r e , deux a deux, tres bien, ne penser a r i e n , ne pas penser, deux a deux, une a une. . • Le doigt se tend vers l e bouton de l a sonnette. Appuie. Sonnerie. C'est declenche. Les pas se rapprochent. . * E a i s je ne veux pas, arretez. . . l a porte s'ouvre. . The button of the "minuterie" i s l i k e the stimulus i n that i t releases an a c t i o n which seeks completion.  The woman going upstairs i s  increasingly unwilling t o carry out her intention but i s i n the grasp of something more powerful than h e r s e l f , to describe t h i s f o r c e .  "Le s o r t " i s a useful c l i c h e  There i s the sense of a mechanism at work to  which the i n d i v i d u a l has to submit.  The "horlogerie" of the f i n a l  episode of the book evokes the same sense of i n e l u c t a b i l i t y , though i n the l a t t e r case the i n d i v i d u a l i s conscious of the process, i f not i n control of i t . The i n d i v i d u a l (including the group-as-individual) would l i k e to halt the movement of time, t o e s t a b l i s h a s t a t i c r e l a t i o n s h i p between himself and others.  This could be achieved by complete disassociation  with society as seen i n the case of Brule:  1 1 5  I b i d . , p. 21.  81 Maintenant tandis q u ' i l s'assoit a sa table, i l s a i t que l e s heures vont commencer.a se detendre lentement, docilement, a s'epandre l o i n devant l u i dans l e s i l e n c e , dans l a solitude de l a n u i t , soulevant, gonflant en l u i l e sentiment de sa l i b e r t e . d e sa puissance, de sa d u r e e — un avant-gout d ' e t e r n i t e . * 1  0  But Brule provides the best example i n the book of r e i f i c a t i o n .  Isolated  from others, he has ceased to l i v e . The a l t e r n a t i v e t o i s o l a t i o n i s t o t a l harmony, the a s p i r a t i o n of the group i n Section 4 which, l i k e the wandering t r i b e , seeks eternal rest i n the Promised Land.  The tvoman of Section 1 sees, i n  the confirmation of her opinion, a salvation one of whose attributes i s the cessation of time.  '  Juste un p e t i t signe, Je n'en demande pas plus, un simple clignement, un cillement. . . Et ce sera l a s e c u r i t e V La p a i s . Je s e r a i sauvee. Nous serons sauves. Pour toujours. Salut eternel. Dans l a lumiere r e e l l e . Au c i e l . Contamplant l a face de Dieu.H7 But the movement i n time cannot stop; the woman's plea i s neglected. The great, both authors and c r i t i c s , l i k e Robert Hunier and Parrot, f a l l as time moves on. Brehier.  The vogue of Courbet gives way to that of  For a moment i t seemed that "Les F r u i t s d'Or" was the i d e a l ,  that i t would once and f o r a l l put an end t o movement, that time would be measured i n r e l a t i o n to "Les F r u i t s d'Or": Les F r u i t s d'Or et i l y a ceux d ' a p r e s . " point of s t a s i s the t i d e begins to turn. i s used at t h i s point:  Immediately a f t e r t h i s  Indeed, the image of the t i d e  "C'est un tremblement de t e r r e , Les F r u i t s d'Or.  I l 6 l b i d . , p. 42.  117ibid., p. 24. l l 8  118  "II y a ceux d'avant  l b i d . , p. 129.  82 C'est un raz de marie.  In Section 13 the image of the t i d e  returns i n connection with the episode describing the dead authors l a i d out by category.  When the cycle nears i t s completion, we l e a r n  that even the great are subject to the t i d e of time:  ". . . l i s  etaient eux aussi b a l l o t t l s au gre des courants, rassembles par bancs et pousses par l e f l u x et reflux r e g u l i e r des m a r g e s . "  120  A character  i n Section 10 asks how i t i s that taste undergoes t h i s constant process of change. fashions.  The sanguine reply i s that people follow the  But the fashion of Brehier, l i k e that of Courbet or those  that w i l l follow, pursue a regular course that begins, ultimately, to reveal i t s structure.  The time of Les F r u i t s d'Or i s dictated by  the movement of the tropism.  The incidents of the plot do provide  a probable sequence of events through time, but the l o g i c of those events i s determined by the pattern of stimulus and response.  The  i n d i v i d u a l i s trapped i n an endless sequence from which he can escape only b r i e f l y , f o r separation from h i s society creates intolerable tension, while t o t a l harmony cannot l a s t .  A rhythm of opposition i s  thus created which, f o r the work as a whole, i s the vogue of "Les F r u i t s d'Or," but which also appears i n the movement of the i n d i v i d u a l episodes.  I f the Brehier fashion represents a year, then the episodes  are the days and hours w i t h i n that year.  Time i s not i d e n t i f i a b l e  with chronology, however, f o r i t pertains to the narrative rather than to the f i c t i o n .  Time, l i k e space, character, and plot i n Les F r u i t s  d'Or i s part of the way of looking at the world, not the world i t s e l f .  83 They are a l l aspects of the subject and h i s point of view rather than of the object r e i f i e d by f i c t i o n .  in THEMATIC STHJCTUHS  Introduction:  l a Mise en Abtma  The study, t o t h i s point, has dealt mainly with the formal aspects of Les F r u i t s d'Or p r i n c i p a l l y because of the prominent r o l e given t o the narrative*  Another approach to the content  of the text  would be through a study of i t s themes, and Eugene Falk, i n h i s book 121 Types of Thematic Structure, Sarraute's novel.  suggests a methodology appropriate to  By analyzing and then integrating three themes,  we s h a l l attempt to uncover the meaning of the work.  Before t h i s ,  however, we should observe that the meaning of Les F r u i t s d'Or  i s not  simple f o r i t i s r e l a t e d t o a complex aspect of the structure which we have not yet considered,  " l a mise en ablme.**  We have seen that, as part of the t r o p i s t i c structure, the novel, "Les F r u i t s d'Or," i s the stimulus which sets i n motion the Brehier vogue.  I n d i r e c t l y , of oourse, i t i s responsible f o r the l e s s e r  tropisms of the sections and episodes. r o l e , f o r i n Lea F r u i t s d'Or  But i t has another s t r u c t u r a l  the presence of the book within creates a  continual ambivalence of meaning. Ricardou sees the "mise en abime" as a r e v o l t :  " l a mise en  ablme est avant tout l a revolte s t r u c t u r e l l e d.*un fragment du r e c i t 1 2 1  Balk,  Types of Thematic Structure.  84  85 contra 1* ens sable qui l o c o n t i e n t .  1 , 1 2 2  I t i s a means of a l e r t i n g the  reader t o the i l l u s i o n of the story, causing him t o r e f l e c t upon i t . Indeed, i t i s a mirror at the centre of the book which, by i t s very presence, challenges the reader to examine c l o s e l y the images presented to him, to compare them f o r s i m i l a r i t i e s and differences, to plunge deeper i n t o the t e x t . The confrontation of the two books, Sarraute's and Brehier's, i s d i f f e r e n t from the usual "mise en abime" i n that i t i s not episodic. I t l a s t s throughout the book, so that the reader i s at once involved i n the f a t e of Brehier and i n judging S a r r a u t e . ^ 12  A f t e r f i n i s h i n g the  book, o r upon second reading, he i s bound t o make comparisons and t o discover continually h i s own d u a l i t y :  at one and the same time, he i s  reading about c r i t i c i s m and being c r i t i c a l of h i s reading. A second difference tends to the same end, f o r the "mise en abtme" generally draws the reader f u r t h e r i n t o the book by r a i s i n g a question about the story, while i n Les F r u i t s d'Or the process i s reversed. I t i s Sarraute*s book that i s c r i t i c a l of Brehier*s so that the reader i s drawn out of the book and i t i s h i s own opinions that are challenged. This c e n t r a l structure of Les F r u i t s d'Or creates a t r i p l e l e v e l of meaning, and we can describe i t i n terms of Ricardou's image of the mirror.  At the f i r s t l e v e l there i s a s i n g l e image.  When we read the  book we are aware of the object, a l b e i t transparent, whioh i s "Les F r u i t s d'Or."  At t h i s l e v e l there i s no r e f l e c t i o n , and the focus i s , i n f a c t , 1 2 2  R i c a r d o u , Problernes du Nouveau Roman, p. 181.  ? B r i g i d Brophy ("Halfway to a Happening") recognizes t h i s constant ambiguity, of meaning but, somewhat c y n i c a l l y , suggests that Sarraute i s merely t r y i n g t o spike the guns of her c r i t i c s . 1 2  86 upon the p l o t *  The next l e v e l reveals two images* the object and i t s  r e f l e c t i o n ; that i s , the two books of the same name. What we  perceive  i s that the images are reversed, that the outer and inner books are d i f f e r e n t , the one c r i t i c a l of the other.  At the t h i r d l e v e l , however,  we notice the s i m i l a r i t i e s of the two images, f o r despite t h e i r apparent differences they belong to the same world. We  s h a l l i l l u s t r a t e these three s t r u c t u r a l l e v e l s of meaning by  means of three themes which are c e n t r a l to the work.  We  do not main-  t a i n that each of these themes belongs uniquely to the l e v e l on which i t serves as an example.  On the contrary, a f t e r having discussed  the  three themes i n d i v i d u a l l y , we s h a l l attempt to show t h e i r fundamental integrity. Our d e f i n i t i o n of theme we have taken from E. H. Palk. distinguishes between theme and t o p i c .  Palk  While a topic "marks out a  s a l i e n t feature of the materials," the word "theme" i s equivalent to ideas that emerge: . . • from the p a r t i c u l a r structure of such textual elements as actions, statements revealing states of mind or f e e l i n g s , gestures or meaningful environmental s e t t i n g s . Such t e x t u a l elements I designate by the term "motif"; the idea that emerges from the motif by means of an abstraction, I w i l l c a l l theme. ^ 12  The three themes we have chosen correspond to the three l e v e l s of meaning created by the structure of the "mise en ablme."  At the f i r s t l e v e l ,  that of p l o t , we s h a l l use the theme of "Art," at the second, where the images are reversed, vidual and Society."  1 2  "Appearance and Reality,*' and at the t h i r d , "IndiThis correspondence of formal structure and  4 p a l k , Types of Thematic Structure, p. 2.  87 thematic content can be presented i n tabular form.  T A B L E  6  THE TTTRRrK LEVELS 0? MEANING; IN LES FRUITS  Levels of Meaning  Thematic Content  Formal Structure  D'OR  1. Single image  Art  Meaning as P l o t  2. Reversed images  Appearance and Reality-  Meaning as Contradiction  3* I d e n t i c a l images  Individual and Society  Meaning as Integration  Themes Art:--The f i r s t l e v e l of meaning, corresponding t o the s i n g l e unreflected image, we have c a l l e d the l e v e l of the p l o t .  In our discussion of the  plot we noted that i t described a c y c l i c a l movement, that of the r i s e and decline of the Brehier c u l t . no r a t i o n a l foundation,  I t i s a movement that appears to have  even though we know that such vogues do occur.  At the l e v e l of p l o t the book i s a s a t i r e .  Using the theme of a r t ,  we see a s a t i r e of the l i t e r a r y c i r c l e s which l i o n i z e the l a t e s t writers, supporting t h e i r f l u c t u a t i n g tastes with esoteric theories. The theme of a r t i s that of the v a l i d i t y of a r t i s t i c judgment. Tison Braun notes that " l e problemeetait du Jugement.  r,12  5  c e l u i de l ' a u t h e n t i c i t e  theories of a r t appear i n the book, which corre-  spond to the pattern of the c y c l e .  Each theory has i t s own  vocabulary  and images and each has i t s i d o l s and prophets. The theory that dominates the f i r s t h a l f of the book i s that of  12  -*Tison Braun, La Recherche de 1'Authentic!te,  pp. 241-2.  88 Formalism.  Nathalie Sarraute gives her own interpretation of the  formalists i n L'Bre du Soupcon; I I est bien c l a i r pourtant que l a realite* n'e3t pas l e u r p r i n c i p a l s a f f a i r e . Mais l a forme, toujours, c e l l e que d'autres ont inventee et dont l a force magnetique l e s empeche de jamais pouvoir s'armchar. Tantot cette forme est c e l l e , auz l i g n e s harmonieuses et pures, ou l e s eerivains d i t s "classiques" enserraient s i etroitement l'objet f a i t d'un seul bloc de cette matiere dense et lourde sur 1equal l i s concentraient l e u r s e f f o r t s . . . C'est l a s i m p l i c i t l elegante de l a forme classique qu'avant tout l i s s'efforcent d'atteindre. . . . Tantot abandonnant l'harmonie et l a sobre elegance, l i s adoptent une forme dont l a caracteristique e s s e n t i e l l e est c e l l e de f a i r e "ressemblant." ° 12  Formalism proposes the notion of the ideal form that, i n a r t , i s to be imposed upon the basic matter of l i f e .  This i d e a l , i n  Les F r u i t s d'Or, i s generally found i n c l a s s i c a l models, by which i s meant those authors who, by the passage of time, have created works considered worthy of emulation, authors such as Stendhal and Constant. Formalism i s t r a d i t i o n a l i s m , but i t i s a l s o the judgment of l i t e r a t u r e by preconceived, aesthetic rules which under the guise of o b j e c t i v i t y are imposed upon works of a r t . In h i s preface to P o r t r a i t d'un Inconnu Sartre has described t h i s approach to l i t e r a t u r e as " l a s u b j e c t i v i t e de 1» object i f . " 7 12  Not only i s t h i s o b j e c t i v i t y i l l u s o r y , i t f a i l s also  to respond t o " r e a l i t y " by concentrating upon the s u p e r f i c i a l . The a r t vocabulary of the f i r s t h a l f of Les F r u i t s d'Or i s evocative of t h i s s u p e r f i c i a l i t y .  A work of a r t i s an "objet" or  "une p e t i t e chose" or "un joyau."  A completed form, i t i s not to be  penetrated:  1 2 o  12  "pas une f i s s u r e " says one character. Adjectives used t o  S a r r a u t e , Les F r u i t s d'Or. p. 128.  7sartre, "Preface," P o r t r a i t d'un Inconnu, p. 10.  89 describe a r t are " p a r f a i t " and "admirable" and "pur," while the q u a l i t i e s to be admired are the "grace," " l i g n e , " or "galbe." Thus a r t i s t o be looked at from a distance; i t belongs to the realm of " l ' o e i l , " a realm f u l l of synonyms.  I f i t i s touched, i t should be only l i g h t l y ; "caresser"  i s a word used several times t o describe the touch that seeks only to f l a t t e r the form. The imagery of formalism evokes the t r a d i t i o n a l as w e l l as the idea of beauty as something s u p e r f i c i a l .  I t evokes, above a l l , the  q u a l i t y of the "manufactured,* the Imposition by man of conscious form upon the basic s t u f f of l i f e . * * 1 2  the  There are, i n Section 3» images of  garden, of the aristocracy and i t s manners, of t a s t e f u l fashion,  a l l images suggesting not only the past but the c u l t i v a t i o n of man. This Imagery i s extended i n t o the d i s t i n c t i o n drawn between the r e f i n e d and the pure and i t s opposite, the vulgar and the s t i c k y .  I n Section 4  t h i s contrast of hard and s o f t recurs as we f i n d characters choosing between the morass of popular taste and the pure but forbidding, even morbid) values of the e l i t e .  On the two occasions on which reference i s  made t o the t i t l e "Les F r u i t s d'Or," i t i s the contrast between the hardness and the softness which i s emphasized. however, i s that of the building or the town.  The dominant image, Closely associated with  the  garden, those images evoke the domination of a chaotic nature by  the  orderliness and the r a t i o n a l proportions imposed by the human brain. . . . eh bien, l ' a r t justement oonsiste a assecher tout cela, a en f a i r e une t e r r e s o l i d e , dure, sur l a q u e l l e on puisse construire, creer une oeuvre. "On roman, pour moi, c'est comme  % t should be noted that much of the imagery used here t o I l l u s t r a t e the theme of art i s drawn from the two other themes. See below pp. 97-116. 1  90 Saint-PetIrsbourg batie sur des marais, comma Teniae gagnee, . _ au p r i x de quels e f f o r t s , sur l e s eaux troubles de l a lagune. ' This i s the clearest statement man,  of the image of the universe ordered by  but i t recurs i n various modifications throughout the t e x t . ^ O Another group of images i s associated with the veneration that  we have already found i n association with royalty or a r i s t o c r a c y .  On  a number of occasions we f i n d r e l i g i o u s images used i n connection with literature.  For the formalists l i t e r a t u r e i s a " l i e u s a i n t , " and a  work of a r t an "objet sacre" before which the masses should make obeisance: . . • unites anonymes de c e t t e foule capable tout juste de d e f i l e r en s i l e n c e dans l e s l l e u x saints remplis des reliques que vous l e u r avez donnees a venerer, que vous l e u r avez offertes, imposees a l e u r piete, • . .131 Another group of images e n t i r e l y i s that of the l i t e r a r y or a r t i s t i c reference. Each cult w i l l have i t s i d o l s , and f o r the formalists there are a number.  Shakespeare i s no more than a distant f i g u r e of  great stature who serves as an ultimate standard, but Baudelaire i s regarded with disapproval because of h i s descent i n t o numerous sloughs of despond.  Watteau, with h i s nostalgic classicism, and  with h i s "ressemblance,"  Fragonard,  are c l e a r choices f o r the formalists amongst  the painters, while the l i t e r a r y models are Stendhal and  1 2  1  % a r r a u t e , Les F r u i t s d'Or, p.  30  T n e  jjjagQ  See pp. 116-126. 1  o t  .j^e b u i l d i n g w i l l be studied i n d e t a i l below.  3 S a r r a u t e , Les F r u i t s d'Or, p. 1  61.  52.  91  Constant. ^ 1  But the paradigm f o r the f o r m a l i s t s i s V a l l r y .  His name  i s mentioned only ones, s i g n i f i c a n t l y i n the episode i n which the image of the b u i l d i n g i s developed: Plus r e e l l e que l a v i e . Organise. Ordonne. Savamment c o n s t r u i t . D'admirables proportions. . • Un s t y l e souple, puissant qui soutlent, comme ces colonnes, f i l l e s des nombres d'or, chanties par Valery, l e s grands, l e s v r a i s sentiments* . . ^ 3 3 V a l l r y ' s presence f i l l s t h i s part of Les F r u i t s d'Or, and we  can  see h i s importance by r e f e r r i n g to Sarraute's a r t i c l e on Valery, "Paul ValSry et 1'enfant de l ' e l ! p h a n t . 3 4 N L  Nathalie Sarraute, l i k e  K i p l i n g ' s i n s a t i a b l y curious elephant c h i l d , asks embarrassing questions about Valery and gets the habitual responses*  She then sets h e r s e l f  the task, "seule en face de l'oeuvre," of examining the great man's work, attempting t o ignore the c r i t i c a l eulogies that have been poured upon it.  Some of t h i s c r i t i c a l acclaim i s worth noting f o r i t re-echoes  words and passages that we f i n d i n Les F r u i t s d'Or* . . . un poetique qui nous ouvrira un s i royal domains. N u l l a f a i l l e ! Nulle lacunaI Le v o i l a l e v r a i c l a s s i c i s m s ! Quelle lecon de rigueur et de severite envers soi-meme! . . . l e Cantique des Colonnes, poeme des l i g n e s ^ des formes pures. . • I d i f i c e qui chante, harmonieux a l a f o i s pour les o r e i l l e s et l e s yeux* * . . 1 3 5  132STENDHAL and Constant appear frequently i n Sarraute's works i n t h i s context. We f i n d one or both of them mentioned i n "Flaubert l e precurseur," and i n L'Bre du Soupcon (pp. 8 4 , 9 4 , 1 4 9 ) • In."Nouveau Homan et R e a l i t e " we read: "Ohaque jour vous voyez certains c r i t i q u e s et l e u r s l e c t e u r s se f e l i c i t e r que, en 1 9 6 1 , surgisse un jeune homme qui possede cette chance d'avoir l e temperament de, disons Benjamin Constant ou de Stendhal, et de v o i r , des l o r s , l e monde comme l i s l e voyaient et d ' e c r i r e des oeuvres analogues aux l e u r s . " * 3 % a r r a u t e , Les F r u i t s d'Or, p. 62. 3 % r . Sarraute, "Paul V a l l r y et 1'enfant de 1'elephant," Les Temps Modernes. (janvier, 1947), PP. 610-37. 1  1  35IBID.,  pp.  612-14.  92 La Jeune Parque i s a " l i e u sacra'," and only i n "Narcisse p a r l e " does Sarraute f i n d that indescribable element which s i g n i f i e s , f o r her, inspired a r t .  The words she uses are l i k e those that characters i n  Les F r u i t s d'Or use f o r s i m i l a r experiences:  ". . . ce quelque chose  d'ineffable, ce rayonnement, cette v i b r a t i o n a peine perceptible. ft 3° 1  I t i s not impossible to see i n Brule a caricature of valery, the s e l f s t y l e d "Penseur," working i n s o l i t u d e through the night.  The "cerebral"  Brule, r e j e c t i n g the spontaneous, i s described i n terms of a machine, and f o r Valery a r t i s mechanistic. "...  Sarraute quotes from Varieto:  ( e c r i r e devant Stre, l e plus solidement et l e plus exactemant  qu'on puisse, de construire cette machine de langage. . • ) . . .ft 37 1  A f i n a l i n d i c a t i o n of Valery's importance appears i n the name of the poet Varenger, which i s a mixture of "Valery" and "Beranger."  Beranger's  importance, a t l e a s t f o r Sarraute's a r t i c l e , i s that, u n i v e r s a l l y admired at the time, h i s work has since disappeared from s i g h t .  Varenger's  poetry i s surely a pastiche of valery, and we even f i n d mention of "sources s o e l l e e s " which, unrelated t o the text, i s a t h i n l y disguised "fontaines s o e l l e e s " from l a Jeune Parque. Formalism dominates the theme of a r t u n t i l Section 8 and the appearance of " l e paysan."  I t stands f o r order, refinement, t r a d i t i o n ,  and reason and r e s i s t s the viscous and d i s o r d e r l y . great prophet of the school.  Brule i s the f i r s t  He assiduously avoids contact with others  and admires the esoteric, the refined, the "pur objet d'art." ^ i b i d . , p. 616. J  -37ibld., p. 616.  He i s  93 followed, i n Section 4,  by a series of c r i t i c s who,  sharing h i s  admiration of "Les F r u i t s d'Or" o f f e r c o n f l i c t i n g interpretations of i t : Dr. L e g r i s , Lucien, and then Maroel who finds the book true because i t i s "un tout coherent."  The c r i t i c s with the prestige and authority  of t h e i r theory are able to subdue any argument u n t i l a l l doubt i s removed with the mystifying words of " l e s deux p a i r s . "  The greatness  of "Les F r u i t s d'Or" i s so c e r t a i n that O r t h i l can dismiss " r e a l i t y " with the vocabulary t y p i c a l of the formalist schools: Regarder. Ne pas se n o u r r i r . J o i e des yeux. Pas de " r e a l i t e . * C'est l a poiitesse p a r f a i t e . Aucune f a m i l i a r i t e , pas de contact d'haleines tiedes, pure contemplation de dessins aux sujets surannes et delieats.138 The formalist theory f i n a l l y collapses by very reason of t h i s l a c k of contact with " r e a l i t y . "  In Section 7 we see a l i m i t l e s s number  of interpretations of the book being offered, a l l of them j u s t i f i a b l e by appeal to the objective theory, but none of which can be sustained against attack, f i r s t by " l e paysan," and then by the group, which demands proof from the c r i t i c , Parrot, of the claims that he made i n his a r t i c l e on Brehier. With the emergence of scepticism, the o b j e c t i v i t y of the formalists i s revealed as vacuous, and we f i n d a new theory appearing according to which a r t i s the inexplicable product of the genius. ^ 1  Th  Q  genius i s , of course, recognized by popular consent.  We have moved, i n Sartre's terms, from " l a s u j e c t l v i t e de l ' o b j e c t i f " to " 1 ' o b j e c t i v i t l du s u b j e c t i f . " The vocabulary of subjectivism i s diametrically opposed to that of  1  3 % a r r a u t e , Les F r u i t s d'Or, p.  11?.  139 i s tempting, and to some extent appropriate, to see i n the two theories i n Les F r u i t s d'Or, the contrast of classicism and romanticism with t h e i r respective emphases on society and i n d i v i d u a l , human order and nature. It  94 formalism.  .Whereas the f o r m a l i s t view centred upon the eye, the basic  perception of the l a t t e r h a l f of Les F r u i t s d'Or i s " l a sensation," by which i s meant a direct experience: "tintement," "resonnance," "modulation," nouns which recur.  "contact," "vibration," "ondulation" are some of the  Adjectives or a d j e c t i v a l phrases t o q u a l i f y these  nouns are " f r a i s , " "neuf," " d i r e c t , " "spontane," "leger," "a peine perceptible," while t y p i c a l verbs could be " v i v r e " or "vibrer."  I n the  s u b j e c t i v i s t school the a r t i s t becomes " l e genie" whose work i s "inexplicable." Images of the s u b j e c t i v i s t s are few, but those there are oppose the r a t i o n a l orderliness of the formalists with the organic and the latent.  The vocabulary i t s e l f represents the imagery of the movement  which distinguishes i t from the s o l i d , object-oriented imagery of the formalists. 14)  The p r i n c i p a l images are those of flowers (Sections 13 and  and of the c h i l d ' s hand (Section 1 4 ) T h e y  are images evoking  not only nature, but a l s o growth. The subjective theme appears sporadically i n the f i r s t h a l f of Les F r u i t s d'Or.  The character i n Section 2, speaking to B r u l l , responds  to "Les F r u i t s d'Or" with a l l the v i b r a t i o n appropriate t o a s u b j e c t i v i s t . Like other characters i n Section 4 , he i s reminded that personal judgments are not necessary. pas," says Brfile.  "Faites done comme moi.  Ne vous en occupez  Other people, responding personally t o Brehier's book,  are not l e t down so l i g h t l y by the c r i t i c s , l i k e the woman who i s  ^OWQ might add t o our l i s t e l e c t r i c i t y . On two occasions i t i s a t e r r i b l e shock (pp. 64-65), but elsewhere i t i s used to evoke the idea of a current that activates or revives i n the manner of a stream of water (pp. 37, 5 1 ) .  95 shocked by the r e a l i t y of the gesture c i t e d by Marcel (pp. 64-67). I t i s , however, " l e paysan" who, entering the l i t e r a r y set from outside, introduces the s u b j e c t i v i s t counter-attack upon formalism. On ne doit se f i e r qu'a s o l . I I appuis son poing sur sa p o i t r i n e . . . A s o i , vous m'entendez. A sa propre sensation, fit moi, moi, i l se frappe l a p o i t r i n e , moi, j e vous l e d i s , r i e z tant que vous voulez, vos "Fruits d'Or," c'est un beau navet. ^! 1  The emphasis of " l e paysan" i s upon individual judgment, while the other character appeals t o the c o l l e c t i v e authority of the eminent c r i t i c s . Parrot, i n Section 9, has t o admit, f i n a l l y , that he might be wrong, and f a l l i b i l i t y i s expanded, i n the next Section, i n t o the credo of the s u b j e c t i v i s t theory.  The philosopher of Section 10 corresponds to  Brftll i n Sections 2 and 3; both are, the spokesmen of t h e i r schools. Faced by the character who indignantly attacks the whole " e d i f i c e " of l i t e r a r y judgment, the philosopher asks, i n contrast t o Brule, why he should look f o r c e r t a i n t y . Pourquoi? Les gouts ohangent. I I y a a certains moments certains besoins. St apres on veut autre chose. Comment voulez-vous empScher l e s gens de suivre l a mode, i c i comme en tout? In Section 11,  i n an argument which defies l o g i c , genius i s established  as the main c r i t e r i o n of great l i t e r a t u r e , and, i n Section 12, i t i s Brehier's l a c k of genius which condemns him. It i s at t h i s point that subjectivism d i v i d e s . As a theory i t would seem to.deny the p o s s i b i l i t y o f a society achieving consensus,  ^ S a r r a u t e , Les F r u i t s d'Or, p. 135. 1  ^ I b i d . , p. 170. 2  96 but the closed s o c i e t y , that seemed t o have been dispersed by the arguments of individualism, suddenly reappears t o pronounce i t s judgment as t o who i s , and who i s not, a genius.  The character who cannot  hide h i s admiration f o r Br&hier i s stoned by the others.  Subjectivism  has been o b j e c t i v i z e d . l i s se redressent tous ensemble, durois, serres l e s uns contre l e s autres, formant une seule masse: "Cui, mais 9a, d i t e s done. . . Je protege mon visage, je courbe l e dos. . . Ca c ' l t a i t Rimbaud.*43 As Valery was the paradigm f o r the formalists, so Rimbaud provides the model f o r the s u b j e o t i v i s t s .  Conforming t o no preconceived  rules,  e x h i b i t i n g allegedly appalling taste, he writes i n e x p l i c a b l y great poetry.  A r t , according t o the s u b j e o t i v i s t s who have objectivized t h e i r  views into a theory, i s an accident, even a sickness, as we see i n the central statement of the new school i n Section 12. Nous sommes bien tous l e s memes au fond, quand on y regarde de pres, tous des hommes en f i n de compte, bien p a r e i l s , malgre ce d e t a i l — l e u r oeuvre. . . nous ne song eons pas a y toucher, nous l a l e u r l a i s s o n s bien v o l e n t i e r s . . . e'est l a un accident, une excroissance curieuse, e'est l a une maladie, e'est l a , nous l'accordons, un p e t i t miracle. . . on ne peut pas l ' e x p l i q u e r . . . ^4 " L ' o b j e c t i v i t l du s u b j e c t i f " f i n a l l y , i n Section 13, reaches the point of denying subjective experience.  To prevent a s i t u a t i o n i n which no  two people can reach agreement, the school of subjectivism i s driven to impose i t s models according t o which each author can be categorized. Each w r i t e r i s a l l o t t e d h i s appropriate portion of genius, and l i t e r a r y judgment becomes a process of a r i d h i s t o r i c i s m . 1  But beneath the school  4 3 i b i d . , p. 205.  ^ ^ I b i d . , pp. 202-203. I t i s s t a r t l i n g how c l o s e l y t h i s passage resembles the image of the club on p. 12.  97 of subjectivism the recurrent theme of individual response to a r t persists.  In Section 14 i t appears again to proclaim i t s personal  f a i t h i n "Les F r u i t s d*Or,  ff  opposing the vocabulary of pure subjectivism  to that of objective theory, and i t s images of natural growth and p o t e n t i a l to those of supernatural buildings, of resurrection and renaissance to death and forgetfulness. \  What we see at t h i s f i r s t l e v e l of Les F r u i t s d»Or i s a pattern of r i s e and f a l l corresponding t o the cycle described by the p l o t . Using the theme of a r t as an i l l u s t r a t i o n , we found that the pattern was  one of a r t i s t i c judgments which b u i l t themselves to a peak of  u n r e a l i t y on the basis of an i l l u s o r y o b j e c t i v i t y only to collapse i n a welter of subjective dissension, and a theory which denied to art any v a l i d i t y beyond popular consensus.  I t i s a s a t i r e upon l i t e r a r y cliques  and upon the pretensions of a l l theories of a r t , f o r they must a l l i n e v i t a b l y l o s e contact with the immediate sensation sparked by the word of the w r i t e r i n the breast or bowels of the reader. Appearance and R e a l i t y : — I t i s t h i s i l l u s o r y aspect upon which we wish to concentrate our attention at the second l e v e l of meaning we have defined.  At t h i s l e v e l we perceive not a s i n g l e image, that of  "Les F r u i t s d'Or," but two images, those of the books bearing the same t i t l e .  And we remark the differences between the two books; the.  image i s reversed.  The outer book, that of Sarraute, becomes a c r i t i q u e  of the inner, and we, as readers, are aware of the s u p e r f i c i a l i t y of the Judgments passed by B r e h i e r s readers. ,  The r e l a t i o n s h i p of the two  books i s equivalent, then, to the contradiction of appearance and reality.  98 In our preceding chapters we have frequently referred t o Sarraute's opinions on " t r a d i t i o n a l " novels and t h e i r r e l i a n c e upon i l l u s i o n i n order to create a resemblance to r e a l i t y .  I t i s not sur-  p r i s i n g , then, to f i n d that t h i s i s a major theme of Les F r u i t s  d'Or,  a book with l i t e r a t u r e or, a t l e a s t , l i t e r a r y judgment as i t s subject. In the fourth essay of L'Bre du Soupcon, "Ce que voient l e s oiseaux," Sarraute begins by o u t l i n i n g the subject matter that she l a t e r used i n Les F r u i t s d'Or.  She also indicates the meaning of the t i t l e . ^ 1  Writing of the disillusionment often experienced at the second reading of a popular novel, she says: . . . non seulement l e s nouveaux lecteurs de ces romans mais l e u r s plus grands admirateurs eux-mamas, quand par malchance l i s cammettent 1'imprudence de l e s r o u v r i r , eprouvent a l e u r contact l a meme sensation penible que devaient eprouver l e s oiseaux qui tentaient de p i c o r e r l e s fameux r a i s i n s de Zeuxis. Ce q u ' i l s voient n'est plus qu'un trompe-l'oeil .*46 Zeuxis was a Greek painter of the l a t e f i f t h century B.C. whose claim to fame was h i s perfection of the technique of "trompe-l'oeil," and the story i s recorded of the birds attempting to eat the grapes i n his painting "Bnfants aux Raisins." ^''' 1  The two references to the t i t l e i n  the test of Les F r u i t s d'Or c a l l our attention to t h i s aspect of illusion.  On both occasions the image i s of people who,  expecting  ^ S T h i s does not imply that t h i s i s the only s i g n i f i c a n c e of the t i t l e Les F r u i t s d'Or, but merely that "trompe-l'oeil" i s a major theme. The essay "Ce que voient l e s oiseaux" was published at l e a s t seven years before Les F r u i t s d'Or. ^°Sarraute, L'Bre du Soupcon, pp. 131-132. ^ " Z e u x i s , " La Grande Bnoyclopidie, 1886-1902, 1314. The following quotation about,Zeuxis appears: "II s'attacha a perfectionner l a technique, chercha a rendre l e s jeux de.lumiere et d*ombre, poussa p a r f o i s l e souci de 1«exactitude jusqu'au tramps l ' o e i l . "  99 s o f t f r u i t , break t h e i r teeth on metal. Et puis, i l a trouve "Les F r u i t s d'Or." C o s t l e o & t l trcmpe-1'oeil qui l ' a s l d u i t . I I m'a d i t : "Je voulais que l e l e c t e u r creve de faim devant c a . " Comme l a brave dame* . . " I I faut que ceux qui veulent eroquer l e s pommes juteuses, l e s affames, se cassent l e s dents l a -dessus. *»° wA  The opposition of appearance and r e a l i t y i s , then, of f i r s t  importance  i n Les F r u i t s d'Or. Again t h i s theme i s defined by i t s own vocabulary and images and we s h a l l s t a r t our study of the theme by looking at them. Central t o the theme of appearance and r e a l i t y i s , of course, the question of perception. I n Les F r u i t s d'Or the vocabulary of perception i s sharply and c l e a r l y divided.  There i s f i r s t the realm of  perception dominated by the eye and the l a r g e s t word group i n the book i s associated with s i g h t .  We f i n d continuous reference t o sight with  the words " o e i l , " "regard," " v o i r , " "regarder," "observer," "montrer," and others.  But there i s another common group associated with inner  perception^ here we f i n d such words as "sensation," " i n s t i n c t , " "eprouver," " s e n t i r , " and "percevoir." The two modes of perception correspond t o two contrasting worlds which we s h a l l c a l l the hard and the s o f t .  On the one l e v e l , then, we s h a l l f i n d words related t o the  material presence of things such as "objet," "chose," and even "eela," and with them w i l l be associated verbs containing the same suggestion; there i s p r i n c i p a l l y " s a i s i r " but a l s o "s'accrocher," "s'agripper," "attraper," " t e n i r . " solidity:  Adjectives, as might be expected, suggest  " s o l i d e , " "dur," "sec," "lourd," or, i n more abstract contexts,  ^-^Sarraute, Les F r u i t s d'Or, p. 116.  100 '•sur, " v r a i , " "absolu"; people w i l l be "pur," "integre," "franc,*» and n  "honnote."  On the side of softness the words evoke i n s t a b i l i t y :  "substance," "masse," "mouvement" f o r the nouns; amongst verbs we  shall  f i n d " g l i s s e r , " "remuer," "couler," and more a b s t r a c t l y " v a c i l l e r , " " h e s i t e r , " "balancer."  The appropriate adjectives f o r t h i s world  are "mou," "moite," "gluant," " t l e d e , " "douteux."  There i s a further  group of words which denote a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t sort of movement, words that we have already mentioned i n connection with the theme of art.  These are " v i b r e r , " " p a l p i t e r , " " v i v r e , " "modulation,"  "ondula-  t i o n , " "leger tintement," etc., a vocabulary suggesting almost imperceptible tremors of l i f e .  This group i s * i n i t s turn, opposed by  a p e j o r a t i v e vocabulary of r e i f i c a t i o n ivith such words as " p e t r i f i e r , " and "couvrir," " p a c o t i l l e , " and  "camelote."  This outline of the vocabulary of Appearance and R e a l i t y i s f a r from exhaustive* of the world*  I t i s intended t o show the dualism of Sarraute'3 view  On the one hand, there i s the s o l i d world perceived by  the eye and subject t o the grasp of the hand; t h i s i s the s u p e r f i c i a l world to which we are accustomed i n everyday l i f e , and the reproduction of which, Sarraute would claim, i s the aim of the " t r a d i t i o n a l " n o v e l i s t . On the other hand, there i s the subterranean world, " l e s endroits obscurs de l a psychologie," which i s i n a constant state of movement, and which she i s attempting to u n c o v e r . ^ 1  The hard and the s o f t corre-  spond t o appearance and r e a l i t y , respectively, since i t i s t h i s surface  ^°The opening paragraphs of two a r t i c l e s by Sarraute, "Nouveau Roman et B e a l i t e " and "Les Deux R e a l i t e s " ( Esprit, j u i l l e t , 1964), c l e a r l y show the d i s t i n c t i o n we. are making here between the two r e a l i t i e s . A  which masks the t r u e l e v e l of a c t i o n of the world as Sarraute sees i t . At times the r i p p l e s on the surface betray what l i e s i n the depths, but u s u a l l y i t i s a screen whose purpose i s t o conceal.  Andre Comtesse  has pointed t o the d i a l e c t i c of hardness and softness i n an a r t i c l e which examines Sarraute's f i r s t three novels. -*® 1  He f i n d s that she i s  involved i n what he c a l l s e x i s t e n t i a l psychoanalysis: En d e f i n i t i v e , cette "psychanalyse e x i s t e n t i e l l e , s i l ' o n peut nommer a i n s i l a methode de Nathalie Sarraute, ne devoile pas une essence de l'homme comme l a l i b i d o ou l a volonte de puissance, mais revele un va-et-vient continual entre f l u i d i t e et s o l i d i t e , dont l a l i b i d o et l a volonte de puissance ne sont que des moments, un projection de soi-meme sans cesse manquee. tt  This same d i a l e c t i c i s a t work i n Les F r u i t s d'Or, and we can best uncover the pattern by looking f i r s t at the individual  consciousness  of i t s own modes of existence. At the end of Section 1 the woman who returns t o the apartment to ask again her question about "Les F r u i t s d'Or" has the sensation of standing on the brink of a chasm. She i s conscious of two l e v e l s of being; overtly she wishes t o ask her question, concealing i t behind the subterfuge of looking f o r her gloves, but subliminally she i 3 experiencing vertigo and even madness. She clutches a t the question to save h e r s e l f , using the vocabulary of hardness with which we a r e familiar:  "Mais je dois s a i s l r , r e t e n i r du b r a s i e r , je dois sauver. . .  5 comtesse, "L'Imagination chez Nathalie Sarraute: l a D i a l e c t ique du Fluide et du S o l i d e , " Etudes des Lett res, "VI (juillet-septembre, 1963), pp. 192-205. 1  n  A n d P Q  151 I b i d . , p. 204. I t should be noted that other c r i t i c s do i n fact f i n d a psychological essence. Sarraute h e r s e l f indicates that fundamental to her characters i s t h i s " t e r r i b l e desire f o r contact." For Gerda Zeltner i t i s the need f o r reassurance.  102 c*est i a . . . laissez-moi. . . v o i l a , je v a i s l e toucher, l'arracher. . .*» 52 x  This  same consciousness of the dichotomy of  existence appears again i n Section 2. Here the character distinguishes between " l a p a t r i e retrouvee," where he f i n d s " l a seeurite," and "les contrees barbares."  The d i s t i n c t i o n i s underlined by the image of the  "fLLs dlbauche qu'impregnent encore l e s moiteurs" set i n contrast t o h i s mother, who i s pure and with "un regard confiant." Section 4 provides us with a number of examples*  The woman,  f o r whom s t a b i l i t y i s provided by her admiration of Lucien, i s suddenly faced with a choice which i s described i n an image of two worlds, the one hard, the other s o f t .  Later a group of women, " e l l e s , " described  i n terms of a flood of water, seek confirmation of a hypothesis i n the s o l i d examples of antique, c l a s s i c a l sculpture. S i m i l a r l y , the group, wanting proof of what has been said of "Les F r u i t s d'Or," perceives of i t s e l f as f l u i d , "modelables S souhait," and i n search of something s o l i d which i t can grasp with assurance:  "un seul point d'appui,"  "quelque chose de stable sous leurs pieds," "quelque chose de stable a quoi s'accrocher," "juste une p a r c e l l e , mais dure, s o l i d e . . . . " A f i n a l example should serve t o confirm the pattern. In Section 10 a character a s s a i l s the changeability of t a s t e i n a r t . Accused of wanting absolute t r u t h , he suddenly f e e l s as though he has stepped i n t o the very quagmire that he was hoping t o reclaim: "Inquietants c l a p o t i s . . . On s'enfonce. spongieuses  . . C'est vers ces t e r r e s  q u ' i l s'start e l a n d , c'est e l l e s q u ' i l avait voulu defricher,  ^ ^ a r r a u t e , Les F r u i t s d'Or. p. 23*  103 l a hache, l a torche a l a main. .  The consistency of t h i s  dichotomy between the hard and the soft does not i n i t 3 e l f j u s t i f y regarding i t as equivalent t o a contrast between appearance and r e a l i t y , but t h i s connection can be established by reference t o other incidents and images. the t i t l e .  We have already c i t e d the two references i n the text t o The images of s o f t f r u i t and hard gold c l e a r l y indicate  the contrast between the appearance of the object and i t s a c t u a l i t y . Throughout the book we encounter t h i s same i l l u s i o n . In the f i r s t episode there i s an image of a doctor who i s pleased by the appearance of a rash:  w  . . . mais i l aurait f a l l u etre  s a t i s f a i t comme l e medeoin qui h e s i t a i t encore et qui v o l t s u r g i r a point nomme l e p e t i t bouton, l a legere eruption, . .  , 54 nl  T l l  is  image t e s t i f i e s t o an i n t e r n a l and external l e v e l of existence, only one of which i s accessible t o the eye.  The surface i s an impenetrable  mask which conceals the face behind, but i t can, a t times, with the appearance of almost i n v i s i b l e symptoms, indioate what l i e s beneath. An image s i m i l a r t o t h i s occurs i n Section 6. The woman who has caught Mettetal l y i n g (and a l i e i 3 a type of t r o m p e - l o e i l ) evokes f,  ,  B  her sensations by using the image of a respectably-dressed gentleman committing indecent acts behind the,bushes of a public park.  On t h i s  occasion the s u p e r f i c i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s t o t a l l y conceal the r e a l i t y that l i e s beneath.  I n Section 4. a woman who claims t o know the true  nature of a man, r e a l i z e s that he i s playing a r o l e : 1  1  53ibid., p. 171.  54ibid., p. 8.  104 C'est presque une j o i e pour e l l e , une sorte de jouissance douceatre de l e connaitre s i bien, de v o i r comma protege par sa carapace, son visage sur lequel r i e n d'autre ne peut etre decele que l a plus placide i m p a r t i a l i t e , l a plus p a r f a i t e indifference, i l l e s e"pie, . . . 5 5 x  The central image of t h i s dual existence of the individual i s the mould.  The i n d i v i d u a l sees himself as an i l l - d e f i n e d , f l u i d exis-  tence which seeks some s o l i d form into which to pour himself. appears three times with s l i g h t v a r i a t i o n s .  The image  Jean Laborit (p. 78) i s  prepared t o adopt any shape that w i l l suit the group; the character i n Section 12, i n a sudden f i t of humility, w i l l conform to the views of the majority:  "Dans ce moule que vous m'avez donna, que je s a i s , comme  vous, manier l a substance i n v i s i b l e se coule, s'adapts parfaitement. . . e l l e prend forme, je l a v o i s . . . 5 6 w A  i  n  image we see the t o t a l  integration of hardness and softness and of appearance and r e a l i t y as the man prepares t o take on the appearance that society wishes t o give him.  I n the t h i r d example i t i s the group i t s e l f , as i n d i v i d u a l ,  which i s seeking the reassuring, s o l i d form offered by the mould. Society, l i k e the i n d i v i d u a l , displays t h i s same d u a l i t y of appearance and r e a l i t y , though i t i s society i t s e l f whioh i s the appearance, the s u p e r f i c i a l form that i s imposed upon groups of people with l i v i n g and v i t a l r e l a t i o n s betoeen them.  Thus, i n the f i r s t  section, we f i n d the image of the club with a l l i t s s u p e r f i c i a l symbols of membership i n a community.  The long fourth section recounts the  establishment of one such society, and i n the f i r s t episode we see a l l the trappings of the state imposed upon chaos described i n terms  1 5 5  I b i d . , p. 84.  1 5 o  I b i d . , pp. 194-95.  105 suggestive of, i f not f l u i d i t y , i n s t a b i l i t y .  The rebels are a "brute  barbare, j a i l l i e on ne s a l t d'ou," and are g u i l t y of "tous l e s dereglements, foisonnements,  grouillements, magmas informes, . . . " By  contrast the new order i s seen i n images suggesting a l l that i s structured and s o l i d :  "Voici l e s grands corps de l ' E t a t .  Les membres des assemblies, Les cinq academies.  Le gouvernement.  Les grandes acoles.  Les f a c u l t l s . . , « ^ ^ The images of the palace and the f o r t r e s s , which we s h a l l discuss l a t e r i n d e t a i l , 5 8 QISQ present a view of society i n which the external appearance no longer corresponds with the r e a l i t y beneath.  By Section 13, where we f i n d the image of the morgue, the  l i f e has departed the corpse of society; here a r t and a r t i s t s are categorized according t o the authors whom they are believed to have copied.  "Generation spontanee," which would t e s t i f y to a r e a l i t y that  can be contacted, i s dismissed. lay  "Tout est d i t , "  out i n order the bodies of yesteryear.  and i t remains only to  Sarraute seems t o be  suggesting that the i n s t i t u t i o n of society, whether a r i s t o c r a t i c l i k e the palace or e g a l i t a r i a n l i k e the morgue, must necessarily p e t r i f y the r e a l i t y of human r e l a t i o n s h i p s . appears i n Section 1:  The f i r s t reference to the palace  "Vous me f a i t e s tous penser a cette piece de  P i r a n d e l l o ou l e s i n f i r m i e r s jouaient l e role de c o u r t i s a n s . " ^ 1  0  This  image projects a sense of i l l u s o r i n e s s upon the subsequent developments of the palace society; people are not, i n r e a l i t y , what they seem. The converse i s true a t the end, f o r i n the dismemberment of Brehier, and  ^ I b i d . , p. 49. below, pp. 116-26. 159 •"Sarraute, Lea F r u i t s d'Or. p. 10.  106 i n the slogan "Tout est d i t , " i t would appear that people "are only what they seem. We have already discussed the theme of a r t , so we can very b r i e f l y indicate i t s incorporation of the concept of Appearance and Reality.  The formalist school c l e a r l y advocated the imposition of  hardness and i l l u s i o n upon the soft matter of r e a l i t y .  Brule extols  Brehier's s t y l e which "tamise, r a f f i n e , epure, resserre entre ses contours fermes" and r e j e c t s "ce qui est mou, same i s true of Marcel who of the "processus  f l o u , baveux, gluant."  The  sees a r t as the "drying up" of the f l u i d i t y  obscurs."  "Jole des yeux.  O r t h i l to h i s delighted l i s t e n e r s .  Pas d e ' r e a l i t S , " proclaims 1  I f the formalist school i s con-  sciously i n search of i l l u s i o n rather than r e a l i t y , the s u b j e c t i v i s t s are no l e s s g u i l t y .  In the development of an objective theory they  d e l i b e r a t e l y suppress "generation spontanee" and any claim to an i n d i v i d u a l contact with r e a l i t y , f o r a r t i t s e l f i s a process of the reproduction of timeworn themes which bear no r e l a t i o n to l i f e .  The  f i n a l image of a r t presents the contrast of the crocus and the b u i l d i n g : "Qu*importent l e s batiments et l e s constructions aux dimensions du monde s i e l l e s ne contiennent pas l e crocus encore ferme, l a main d»enfant. . . Est-ce l a ou n o n ? "  100  This statement i n the form of a hesitant question  contrasts the imposing appearance, with i t s suggestion of massive s o l i d i t y , to the miniscule or unrealized p o t e n t i a l of l i f e , the r e a l i t y which forms the basis of a r t . In t h i s treatment of the theme of Appearance and Reality and  107 i t s d i f f e r e n t manifestations i n Les F r u i t s d'Or, we have attempted to show that Sarraute has consistently opposed an a r t i f i c i a l and p e t r i f i e d appearance, to a r e a l i t y whose p r i n c i p a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c i s movement or life.  In doing t h i s we might seem to have digressed considerably from  our o r i g i n a l purpose, which was  to i l l u s t r a t e the contrast between the  two images of a book bearing the t i t l e "Les F r u i t s d'Or"; yet Brehier*s book, and the judgments made about i t by i t s readers, i s the subject of r e f l e c t i o n of Sarraute'S book and of ourselves as i t s readers. challenged to compare the f i c t i o n a l experience with our own,  We  are  to question  the v a l i d i t y , not only of a r t i s t i c judgments, but also of the psychol o g i c a l and s o c i a l circumstances i n which these judgments are made.  loA  Individual and Society:—-This brings us to the t h i r d l e v e l of meaning which we have i d e n t i f i e d , the l e v e l at which the s i m i l a r i t i e s rather than the differences of the two images are perceived.  The outer and  inner books are seen as expressions of, and occurring within the same environment.  The suggestion at the end of the book that the vogue i s  not f i c t i o n a l but belongs to an eternal pattern creates an immediate l i n k between reader and character.  Meaning, at t h i s l e v e l , appears  as the representation of the human condition, and i t i s f o r t h i s reason that we have chosen to i l l u s t r a t e i t by means of the theme of Individual l6Lji Braun goes so f a r as to maintain that B r l h i e r ' s book i s " t r a d i t i o n a l according to Sarraute's terminology. We have r e a l l y no reason to believe t h i s , and indeed such an assumption makes Les F r u i t s d'Or d i f f i c u l t to understand. Sarraute has d e l i b e r a t e l y made no comment about "Les F r u i t s d'Or" because, while a " t r a d i t i o n a l " novel would be appropriate i n the f i r s t h a l f of her book, she i s scarcely l i k e l y to present such e v i dent devotion to a " t r a d i t i o n a l " novel as that seen i n the l a s t section. The inner book must necessarily-.remain an enigma. Tison Braun's claim i s the more strange, sinoe she sees the l a s t long soliloquy as being the utterance of a u t h e n t i c i t y . S O n  n  108 and  Society. The theme i s established i n the f i r s t section of the book i n  which three characters go through the motions of what i s almost a r i t u a l dance.  One of the three represents a society i n which a l l  values and opinions are held i n common. The two other characters, a man  and a woman, discuss, i n a l t e r n a t i n g and balanced dialogue and  "sous-conversation," the nature of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p , " t o t h i s t h i r d person.  The man r e c o i l s from the society which he pictures as a herd  (p. 7), en insane asylum (p. 10), a club whose members are remarkable f o r t h e i r i d e n t i c a l tastes and apparel dubious r e l i g i o u s practices (p. 13).  (p. 12), and a sect involved i n He r e j e c t s a l l contact with such  a society, while the woman seeks i t , seeing the t h i r d person f i r s t l y as a genuine b e l i e v e r wishing t o share h i s f a i t h ("Je vous apporte l e pain benit.") and then as a l o s t soul seeking help from tham. She i s also a f r a i d , however, that he w i l l abandon them, leaving them outside the society of which he i s a part.  Her " p i t i l " i s , thus, p a r t l y  f e a r , and i t i s fear which dominates her e f f o r t t o re-establish contact when she returns t o the apartment.  Her v i s i o n i s of a society i n  which true understanding e x i s t s , a v i s i o n contained paradise  (pp. 23-24).  i n an image of  I t i s a v i s i o n which i s dashed and the image of  paradise i s transformed into a composite metaphor of condescending wealth, of a l i e n lands, and counterfeit coinage.  This analysis o f  Section 1 provides the basic elements of the theme of Individual and Society, f o r the i n d i v i d u a l i s always found t o be seeking d e f i n i t i o n of himself i n terms of the group. Society i s seen, usually, as closed or as a s o l i d object. I t  109 Is described by words such as "cercle," "bloc,'* and "masse." I t s principal task appears to be that of protecting i t s e l f against attack from within and without, so we find a number of words associated with militarism:  "defendre," "proteger," "vaincre," together with military  t i t l e s and an assortment of weapons. The vocabulary associated with the c i v i l order i s very rich.  There is f i r s t of a l l "ordre" with a  range of synonyms, "authority," "droit," "regie," and the verbs that normally accompany them: "MeW"  "juger," "ordonner," "imposer," "exiger."  and "ensemble' are words that recur continuously throughout the 1  work and point again to society's continual drive for solidarity.  He  who f a i l s to conform i s variously described as "paria," "stranger," "forte tete," "hallucinS," "fou."  "Resistance" appears on a number of  occasions, but more frequently we find the words "se soumettre," "subir," "renoncer." Key words i n the vocabulary associated with the individual are "rassurer" and "contact."  The individual i s often anxious:  "gene," "inquiet," "mai a l'aise," and he is always uncertain: "douter," "hesiter," "balancer," "se debattre."  "vaciller, ' 1  His relationships are  dominated by a vocabulary of contradictory movement: "abandonner," "approcher," "ecarter," "se tendre," "arriver," "s'eloigner," " o f f r i r , " "repousser," etc., and by conflicting emotions:  "pitie"," "dedain,"  "ccnfianee," "peur," "respect," "mepris," "amitie," "haine." And there i s a vocabulary suggestive of a continuous state of searching: "tatonner," "se perdre," "fouiller," "chercher."  "errer,"  We have already noted  many of the main images related to the s o c i e t y ^ and have also discussed 10  l o 2  S e e above, pp. 104-106.  110 the psychological aspects of the individual i n our section related to character. °3 A  Our purpose here i s not to repeat that work but  to  i n d i c a t e the fundamental l i n k between the i n d i v i d u a l and his society. I t i s a l i n k which the i n d i v i d u a l cannot r e j e c t , and which the society i s constantly seeking to strengthen. In our discussion of Section 1 we saw how perforce, to take a stance v i s - a - v i s society. of resistance, the other sought integration.  two  characters  bad,  One adopted the position In Section 2 the charac-  t e r does not even contemplate resistance; h i s dilemma i s which of  two  s o c i e t i e s to choose, the c i v i l i z e d or the barbaric, that of the pure mother or the world of the prodigal son; at one moment he i s humble host, at the next despotic master; he i s torn between God and the d e v i l . His f i n a l decision leads him t o advocate the extermination of those i n the society he has rejected, but he can only do t h i s when safely ensconced within the reassuring framework of i t s r i v a l .  The woman who  admires Lucien finds h e r s e l f faced with the same dilemma, but  her  choice i s made f o r her by Lucien, and we observe the slow process by which she adapts herself to her new absorbed.  society u n t i l f i n a l l y she i s t o t a l l y  At f i r s t the change i s seen as a s a c r i f i c e , the paradigmatic  s o c i a l act, but then the forbidding landscape of her new  country begins  to look more accommodating, l e s s l i k e a graveyard: Et v o i l a que des mornes et grises etendues, des formes p l t r i f i e e s qui se dressent dans l e jour blafard, quelque chose peu a peu se dlgage. . . C'est comma un s o u f f l e tiede, un f a m i l i e r e , intime, A rassurante bouffee. . . quelque chose qu'elle reconnect. . . 64 l o  lo  % e e above, pp. 62-71.  ^ 3 a r r a u t e , Les F r u i t s d'Or,  p.  57.  Ill The pattern o f the dilemma which the i n d i v i d u a l seeks t o resolve byadapting and being absorbed into a new society appears throughout the book.  We see i t i n the group's search f o r the promised land and, a t  the end of Section 4, i n the case of the man caught between the society of the palace and the b i z a r r e woman. The woman of Section 6, at one point, seems w i l l i n g t o accept Mattetal's s o c i e t y — " L a j u s t i c e n'a pas Ste" bafouee, l'ordre n'a jamais cease de regner"—but her convictions force her t o speak out. words w i l l usher i n the true society.  finally  She s t i l l believes that her Section 8 offers the example  of the character attempting t o accommodate h i s views to those of w  l e paysan" as he t r i e s t o replace h i s o l d , d i s c r e d i t e d values by a  new  set.  I n Section 12 the man who was once a t the centre of the  c i r c l e , which i s society, finds t o h i s horror that he i s now a pariah because of h i s l i k i n g f o r "Les F r u i t s d'Or," and he desperately attempts t o reimmerse himself i n the group, describing h i s vain submission by means of the image of the mould. The overwhelming need of the i n d i v i d u a l t o f i n d d e f i n i t i o n i n terms of a society i s prompted by the i n d i v i d u a l ' s sense of floundering i n a bog or of being l o s t i n a t r a c k l e s s waste whenever he f i n d s himself alone.  Such Images crop up throughout the book. I n  Section 1 i t i s the t h i r d person who i s imagined as l o s t i n the night. He himself, i n Section 2, i s a f r a i d of returning t o the chaos of " l a barbarie."  The disappointed group of Section 4 sets out once more  across "tbundras glaeees."  I n Section 10 the character, when faced  with the i l l - d e f i n e d philosophy of subjectivism, f e e l s himself sinking i n t o the bog.  For a person so l o s t the support of just one other i s  112 seen as reassuring, f o r two people already form the nucleus of a society to which others can r a l l y .  "Una seule personne" i s a cry that i s  uttered on several occasions.  The man who has seen, to h i s own s a t i s -  f a c t i o n a t l e a s t , the falseness of the formalist school i s incapable of r e s i s t i n g i t alone, but looks f o r support from another:  "Pour q u ' i l  puisse se s e n t i r absolument sur, i n v i n c i b l e , pour que puisse tricmpher l a verite", i l l u i faut juste c e l a :  un seul temoin." ^ 10  I n Section 8  " l e paysan" and the other character come close t o forming the nuclear society.  I t i s depicted i n the image of the horse and r i d e r , the  couple i n complete harmony:  "Colles l'un a 1'autre, ne f a i s a n t qu'un  seul corps comme l e cheval de course et son jockey, l i s s'elevent, i l s planent. .  n A 0 t  °  The image changes abruptly when there i s disagreement  and i 3 mocked by a series of new images evocative of d i f f e r e n t types of society.  There i s the " r o i de cirque couronnS de carton" and also the  "faux prophete." drunks:  The ideal couple i s transformed into a p a i r of vulgar  "Rires obtus de brutes, bavardages d'ivrognes. . • Grossss  tapes sur l'epaule, penohes l'un vers 1'autre, titubant, enlaces. . . Ho, ho. . ." °7 The couple appears again at the end of the book. The A  s o l i t a r y character sees himself, the reader, i n perfect union with the author, Brehier. But t h i s i n i t s e l f i s not s u f f i c i e n t , and he i s forced to seek h i s reassurance i n society.  l 0  Again just one other person w i l l  5 l b i d . , p. 106.  166 P» U 9 . 7 l b i d . , pp. 154-55. These two images from Section 8 are preceded by another of two men f i g h t i n g . I t would seem to be related t o the b a t t l e between David and Goliath, the champions of two d i s t i n c t societies. l o  113 suffice: Et seuls, s i seuls, c'est a ne pas c r o i r e . J ' a i beau de temps en temps* * . i l l e faut. . . sait-on jamais.... . et s ' i l se trouvait tout d'un coup quelqu'un qui reponde, Juste une autre voix. . • quel soulagementl^ I l n ' e n faudrait pas plus pour qu'on se sente presque s a u v e . ° . lo  The i n d i v i d u a l , then, from the i n s t a b i l i t y and i n s e c u r i t y of his solitude, revealed i n images suggestive of f l u i d i t y , seeks reassurance i n society, whether i t be that of one other person or of the group whose paradigm i s the s o l i d form of the c i r c l e .  I f we  reverse our gaze and look at the r e l a t i o n s h i p from the point of view of the group, two patterns emerge.  There i s f i r s t l y the response of the  s o c i e t y to changes a r i s i n g within i t , a process of i n t e r n a l reorganizat i o n , and secondly there i s the pattern of reaction t o dissent. In the f i r s t pattern we f i n d the example of the writer finds himself displaced i n the popularity of the society by He feel3 as though h i s throne has been usurped: quelle n u i t , tandi3 q u ' i l dormait paisiblement, du pouvoir?  Quand l e t r a l t r e e s t - i l passe" du  A second example i s Parrot who,  who  Brehier.  "Comment, au cours de s'est  operSe l a p r i s e  cStl de 1 'usurpateur?" *^ 10  having allowed himself to be trapped by  the group into a discussion on an even footing, f a l l s from his p o s i t i o n of power l i k e a dethroned king.  The character of Section 12 a l s o  regrets his change of status from a central p o s i t i o n i n the society to pariah. group may  remain s t a t i c , there i s a constant process of change and  l 6 8  l 6  These examples indicate that, while the structure of the  I b i d . , p.  9 l b i d . , p.  216. 80.  114 readjustment as author succeeds author, and eminent c r i t i c loses favour and i s replaced by another. The other pattern we observe i s that of the treatment of the dissenting i n d i v i d u a l by the society.  On the one hand, he may submit  and be reabsorbed, as happens i n the case of Henri i n Section 4. His s l i g h t demurral t o the unqualified priase of Brenier brings a l l the power of the state t o bear upon him:  "Les forces de l'ordre alertees,  intervlennent  aussitSt. . . Une main se pose sur l u i . . .'Ah non, Henri, . . .  l w l  70  Jean Laborit i s another example of a person who buckles before the authority o f the i n q u i s i t i o n .  Guy, i n Section 7, confesses h i s previous  doubts and i s admitted i n t o the group as a result of his abject repentance. In Section 12 the group i s eager to readmit t o membership the man who was once a prominent member. More frequently, however, the dissenter i s expelled.  The demands  of self-preservation c a l l for extreme action t o be taken against those who  threaten the s o l i d a r i t y of the group, and the motif of the pharmakos  i s prominent i n the theme of Individual and Society.  The f i r s t to be  dismissed i s the woman who challenged the c r i t i c s t o substantiate t h e i r claim " l e l i v r e en main." brules."  She i s dismissed as "cette f o l l e , cette tete  The woman of Section 6 i s not only regarded as mad but i s  f i g u r a t i v e l y stoned and excluded: lapident. referme.  "On l'entoure.  E l l e est repoussee, expulsee.  Leurs regards l a  Le cercle des f i d e l e s se  Le calme un instant trouble, r e v i e n t . " ' ^ 1  i n Section 7 i t i s  115 Jean-Pierre who suffers expulsion and l a t e r the character of Section 12. I t i s , indeed, the ultimate f a t e of Brehier who i s tossed i n t o the "fosse commune." As we can see i n the quotation above from Section 6, the crime committed by these individuals i s that they have disturbed the order i n the society.  Society acts, therefore, i n the i n t e r e s t s of harmony,  but the i n d i v i d u a l , too, acts out of the very same motivation. H i s r e l a t i o n s h i p t o h i s society i s disturbed by some circumstance,  some-  thing which s t r i k e s him as f a l s e , l i k e the gesture of drawing a r e production of Courbet from a pocket o r a l i e by Mettetal.  He reacts  with the i n t e n t i o n of r e - e s t a b l i s h i n g the previous state of harmony that existed before the d i s r u p t i o n .  The women of Section 1 and of Section 6  hold v i s i o n s of an ideal society restored by t h e i r timely intervention i n a world that no longer rings true.  But they, inadvertently, become  c a t a l y s t s i n a process that ends with t h e i r own symbolic banishment.  death or  I t i s a vicious c i r c l e , an eternal pattern which trans-  cends the book and becomes part of the reader's consciousness own world.  of h i s  This i s the force of the end of Les F r u i t s d'Or when  the s o l i t a r y character, conscious o f the process by which vogue succeeds vogue and a c t i o n produces i t s r e a c t i o n , i s nevertheless driven into attempting  t o d i r e c t the course of the movement.  This, too, i s the  s i g n i f i c a n c e of the image of the machine which, without our assistance, moving i n step with time, drives incessantly forward.  At the end of  Section 1 i t i s the "minuterie" that leads the woman upwards t o the " s a l l e commune'' as though against her w i l l .  I t i s the machine that  causes the downfall of Parrot and the machine again, t h i s time a clock,  116 which produces the i n e v i t a b l e reaction to the question "Et l e s F r u i t s d'Or?"  The question has long echoes, f o r , however much we f e e l the  e f f e c t s of Les F r u i t s d'Or, i t i s , a f t e r a l l , just another book l i k e "Les F r u i t s d'Or" and subject t o the same changes of taste through time. Thematic Coherence At the beginning of t h i s chapter we noted that the themes we were to use as i l l u s t r a t i o n s were by no means r e s t r i c t e d to a s i n g l e l e v e l of meaning.  Each.could be used at either of,the other l e v e l s .  There i s considerable interconnection between the themes, as we have found i n the case of Appearance and  fieality  which we developed i n the  context of A r t and of Individual and S o c i e t y . ^  2  In his work, Types of Thematic Structure, E. H. Falk has proposed a method f o r analyzing the i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p of themes.  In  Lea F r u i t s d'Or, which exhibits so l i t t l e p l o t , the coherence of the work depends l a r g e l y upon the thematic structure.  Falk perceives that  themes run p a r a l l e l but converge at points which he c a l l s "component motifs."  These may be incidents or episodes which display s i m i l a r i t i e s  and which may be indicated by the presence of a l e i t m o t i f , a l i n k i n g word or phrase or image.  In applying t h i s analysis to Les F r u i t s d'Or,  we s h a l l not attempt to analyze the entire work but s h a l l take as l e i t m o t i f " l e ba"timent" both i n i t s occurrences as a word and as an image.  In the table below we s h a l l examine the episodes i n which a  above, pp. 97-107.  117 b u i l d i n g appears and determine i t a s i g n i f i c a n c e i n terms of our three themes.  We have stretched  l i n k e d images:  " l e b&timent" to include other closely  " l e p a l a i s , " " l a v i l l a , " " l a maison," " l a forteresse."  We a l s o note references to other themes i n order to indicate the close integration of the t e x t .  T A B L E  7  " L E BATIMENT"AS LEITMOTIF  2  1 Example Page  Reference  3 Context  1  47  . . . l e soldat Immobile d e r i l e dans l a rue de la ville ocoupee.*  2  61  "St-Pet ersbourg Marcel's exposiba/tie sur des t i o n of a r t . marais, etc• Establishing the "Nobles-v i l l es, new vogue with places harmonan objective ieusestheory. spacieuses demeures-tTn nouveau monument s'elevent en parfaite harmonle."  n  4 Art  6  Appearance and Reality  Individual and Society  S o l i d i t y of army vs f l u i d i t y of resistors.  Repression o f people by i n s t i tutions of society. Images: M i l i t a r y , class, r e l i g i o n .  Art i s the imposit i o n of s o l i d form on f l u i d matter. Images: Hard & s o f t , building & town.  An i d e a l i z e d v i s i o n - " i l ferme l e s yeux." Sense of acting a part. Secret purpose of upsetting woman.  Sense of harmony f e l t by Marcel. - " l a i l s'est toujours promene."  A notable c r i t i c Art i s the impoproclaims h i s s i t i o n of order opinion of on chaos. "Les ^ r u i t s d'Or" Images: Religion, Mystery, E s o t e r i cism.  n  5  3  69  "des s a l l e s de musee, des temples antiques,... l'Acropole."  The women look for incontrovertible evidence.  B e l i e f i n the absolute standards set i n the past.  Appreciation of art l i k e shopping i n the sales.  Need of unstable to f i n d s t a b i l i t y . Image: water.  4  71  "un bloc de~ ciment grossier ne peut s'integrer, sans l e deparer, a un e d i f i c e en b e l l e p i e r re de taille."  Henri believes that Marcel i s f o o l i n g them and that he can prove the fraud.  Each d e t a i l t o be as perfect as the whole.  The f a l l a c y of Marcel's argument. Image: h a l l u cination.  Marcel seen as outsider; Henri i n fact the outsider. Image: J u s t i c e  Table 7 (Continued) l Example Page  2 Reference  3  Context  4  Art  The group senses the p o s s i b i l i t y of discovering the t r u t h .  100  "des portes bien gardees, des hautes g r i l l e s de l a demeure royale ou ces princes de 1»esprit vivaient enfermes...les vastes cours de palais royaux..."  The vogue reaches The c r i t i c as i t s highest point sovereign. of organization. Art as an esoteric mystery.  7  162  " I l a^ete a t t i r e hors de l a protection de cette enceinte f o r t i f i i e ou i l se tenait, de cette place forte..."  The old e l i t e can no longer defend i t s e l f as before.  8  169  " i l secoue l ' l d i f i c e entier."  Attack on A r t i s t i c judga r t i s t i c judgments no more ment and vogues. than changes i n fashion.  87  6  Appearance and R e a l i t y  A r t i s t i c truth A v i s i o n onlyexists l i k e an 'qu'on l e u r fasse orderly town. voir." Image: mould.  "pays...qui se d i p l o i c dans l e l o i n t a i n avec ses maisons, ses rues," etc.  5  5  A r t i s t i c truth cannot be demonstrated objectively.  6 Individual and Society Prospect of perfect harmony. Sense of present inadequacy. Images: children, pupils.  The f r a i l t y of the palace and the fraudulence of the mystery. Images: h a l l u cination, magic, religious transe.  D i v i s i o n of s o c i e t y . Exclusion of people. Need f o r defence. Images: royalty, defence, r e l i g i o n .  Revelation of f a l l a c y of formalist theory. Only an impressive surface. Images: bubbles, electro-plating, magic.  Individual at odds with s o c i e t y . Need for defence. Image: wolves.  Objeotive c r i t i cism a fraud"la.frime." Image: h a l l u cination.  Attack by i n d i v i dual on society; t o t a l dissension. Images: insect, terrorist.  Table 7  (Continued)  1 Example Pag©  2 Reference  3 Context  4 Art  5 Appearance and R e a l i t y  9  201  " l e palais est vide, l e r o i detrone est en f u i t e . . . "  Re-established group destroys l a s t vestiges of old society.  Replacement of formalist pretension by total scepticism.  10  218 & 219  J e suis a l l e v i s i t e r ces grands b a t i ments. Qu important l e s batiments . . . s i a l i a s ne contiennent pas l e crocus. ..."  Resistance of the i n d i v i d u a l to the new vogue. F i d e l i ty to Brehier.  Crocus - Reality Contrast of s u p e r f i c i a l i t y Building of building Appearance. with innate l i f e of crocus.  w  f  The f raudulence of the palace f i n a l l y revealed. Empty, or cont a i n i n g only the vulgar.  6 Individual and Society New harmony seen i n i d e n t i t y of a l l people.  Individual alone and at odds with society. Image: noise and turmoil *  121 I t w i l l be r e a d i l y seen from our t a b l e that the s e l e c t i o n of other l e i t m o t i f s would be equally f r u i t f u l .  The images and themes  appear so intimately l i n k e d that we could begin our analysis from any point.  In our examples we have stretched " l e batiment  n  to include  images of the palace, the f o r t r e s s , the house and the town.  We  could very e a s i l y have considered royalty, r e l i g i o n and the garden as motifs that are equivalent to the b u i l d i n g .  Inclusion of the m i l i t a r y  could have l e d us to look a t the animal imagery, while "vibration'' introduces motifs from vegetation, motifs that serve as a contrast to the meaning of the building.  The denseness of Sarraute's text can be  seen i n t h i s extraordinary i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p of imagery and theme. Even the vocabulary used i s not applicable to one theme rather than another; words denoting hardness and softness are common to a l l our themes.  One of the notable features of Sarraute's work i s t h i s  r e l e n t l e s s concentration of v i s i o n , reminiscent of Racinian tragedy. We can read our t a b l e h o r i z o n t a l l y and v e r t i c a l l y , the v e r t i c a l dimension being that associated with continuous or chronological progression through the book, while the horizontal i s the dimension of the component motif, the transverse view of the p a r a l l e l themes at any one selected point i n the t e x t .  In the v e r t i c a l columns 4 to 6  we f i n d again the development of the three themes which we analyzed i n the preceding section of t h i s chapter.  Of the other columns,  Column 2 ("Reference") situates the l e i t m o t i f of the building i n i t s immediate t e x t u a l context, and we can see, by reading down the column, the variations i n meaning.  At f i r s t the b u i l d i n g i s regarded  p o s i t i v e l y ; " l a v i l l e occuple" i s associated with order and "honnetes  122 gens,'* and i n the second example we f i n d "nobles v i l l e s , " "Venise gagnee. . . sur l e s eaux troubles," a vocabulary underlining the virtues of the b u i l d i n g .  U n t i l the long image of the palace, the  b u i l d i n g i s always admirable, a c l a s s i c a l model, an harmonious form not t o be destroyed by banal d e t a i l s , and a v i s i o n of a distant land. The example of the palace associates the b u i l d i n g with c e n t r a l i t y , authority and exclusion, t h i s l a t t e r being developed i n Example 7 where the building i s a f o r t r e s s .  The b u i l d i n g can be toppled (Ex. 8)  and i s empty (Ex. 9). F i n a l l y i t i s p l u r a l i z e d to act as a symbol not only of Brehier*s book but of a l l books that enjoy or s u f f e r the same f a t e .  Thus the b u i l d i n g can mean "Les F r u i t s d'Or," or  books (including Les F r u i t s d'Or), or the vogues associated with new books, or l i t e r a t u r e i n general.  Always i t brings us back t o a r t  suggesting each time an added dimension.  The gradation of the motifs  can be found i n Column 3. Here " l e batiment" i s situated i n the broader context of the p l o t , and we can observe i t s r i s e and decline from the occupied town, through the splendid c i t y , t o the palace, whence i t declines t o the f o r t r e s s and f i n a l l y t o the empty s h e l l that i s ransacked and t o t a l l y devoid of l i f e . I f we now read the t a b l e h o r i z o n t a l l y we can see how our three themes intertwine within the context of each component motif, and how each derives additional s i g n i f i c a n c e by i t s c o r r e l a t i o n with the others.  Example 1 i s the moment at which the new author i s introduced  i n t o the l i t e r a r y society.  I t opens with blunt and unsubstantiated  proclamations of excellence. know.  The speaker, a c r i t i c , i s assumed to  The theme of a r t i s expanded by the use of the imagery of  123 hardness and softness ("soldat immobile,'' "l'ordre regno" vs. "puanteurs et sueurs," etc.) and the point of view of the narrator i s c l e a r l y favourable to the former.  I t i s the theme of the Individual  and Society that i s most prominent with the images of m i l i t a r y force, of sacred symbols, and of the e l i t e and the rabble.  The episode  evokes the imposition of an orderly form upon the chaos of matter, doing so simultaneously within the framework of A r t , Perception and Society. In our second example the "nobles v i l l e s " and palaces, etc. are Marcel's projected view of a r t . Once again the s o l i d form of the building i s imposed upon the f l u i d substance of l i f e . dimension i s added.  But a broader  Marcel closes h i s eyes to see h i s i d e a l i z e d c i t y  of a r t and does so very d e l i b e r a t e l y .  He i s c l e a r l y a c t i n g , and we  know from the beginning of the episode that he wants to upset the previous speaker.  There i s i n Marcel's whole attitude  something  which does not r i n g true, a f e e l i n g which i s reflected back on to the motif of the b u i l d i n g .  Another important suggestion i n t h i s  episode i s that of the sense of integration between the individual and h i s society.  Marcel i s not necessarily d e l i b e r a t e l y l y i n g ; i t  i s possible that he believes i n this v i s i o n of the c i t y , and i t i s c l e a r that he regards i t as the appropriate s e t t i n g f o r himself: l a , i l s'est toujours prcmenl."  C l e a r l y he belongs to the e l i t e  as shown i n the images of r o y a l t y . The b u i l d i n g i s the ideal c l a s s i c a l model i n Example 3. the one hand, i t o f f e r s s e c u r i t y because of i t s f a m i l i a r i t y , the reassurance that the women of t h i s episode lack, f o r they are the  On  124 water which breaks the dam;  on the other hand, the resort t o Greek  harmony i s associated with the opening of the sales at a department store.  Again, by association, the image of the b u i l d i n g acquires  overtones that debase i t and render i t suspect.  Henri, i n Example 4,  suspects Marcel, compares him to Rasputin, and accuses him of drugging and h a l l u c i n a t i n g the group.  He claims to have seen the  f a l l a c y of the argument, but he a l s o sees Marcel as a criminal, somebody t o be condemned or expelled from s o c i e t y .  In e f f e c t , of course,  i t i s he himself who i s not i n touch with h i s society, who i s i n c o n f l i c t with i t just as the "bloc de ciment g r o s s i e r " c o n f l i c t s with "un e d i f i c e en b e l l e p i e r r e de t a i l l e . "  Harmony i s the v i s i o n of the  group (Ex. 5) as i t pleads to be admitted to the esoteric mystery known only to the c r i t i c s .  Again the motif of the e y e s — " q u ^ n l e u r  fasse v o i r " — s u g g e s t s the blindness of the v i s i o n , underlining i t s unreality.  Later the group describes i t s e l f i n terms of f l u i d i t y ,  a condition which i t seeks to remedy by f i n d i n g something s o l i d .  The  image that summarizes i t s s i t u a t i o n i s that of the mould (p. 88). Thus the v i s i o n of the orderly c i t y i s cast i n t o doubt.  The  promised  land, which i s perceived as a realm of incontrovertible a r t i s t i c judgment, does not r e a l l y e x i s t , we suspect.  The group that aspires  t o i t i s likened t o the pupils submissive to t h e i r teacher, or to the c h i l d deceived by i t s parents.  What i s evidently experienced  i n the present i s l a c k of harmony between the group (or individual) and i t s circumstances. The image of the palace occurs at the moment when the formalist  125 school of a r t has reached i t s highest peak of organization, bat the point of view c l e a r l y indicates to the reader the fraudulence of that whole society, the palace.  The lengthy episode opens once again  with a reference to eyes and to h a l l u c i n a t i o n s : Reveillez-vous, des passes magnetiques vous ont plonges dans l e sommeil, on vous a suggestionnes, revenez a vous, regardez, voyez-les, ces deux comperes qui viennent d'executor sur vous un de l e u r s tours. Observez-les attentivement. . .173 Images of magic and r e l i g i o u s transe add to the impression that the society of the palace i s more apparent than r e a l , depending f o r i t s s u r v i v a l upon the blindness of the people. present an image of harmony; i t now  No longer does the b u i l d i n g  i s seen to exclude, to be d e l i b e r a t e l y  desigaed t o keep people from the t r u t h .  The images of royalty and  r e l i g i o n , added t o the description of the palace, suggest a divided society and one which promotes the fraud of a central and esoteric mystery.  Objective a r t i s t i c judgment and expertise i s under strong  attack.  The palace appears a l l powerful but i t s i l l u s o r y foundations  have been revealed and the images of defence ("barricades," "gardes," "enfermes at t r i p l e tour") add t o the sense of i n s t a b i l i t y . In Example 7 the building has become a f o r t r e s s . there f o r the protection of those i n s i d e .  I t i s simply  Parrot wrongly assumes a  state of harmony i n the world outside the f o r t r e s s and i s trapped and f a l l s from power l i k e a king dethroned.  The b u i l d i n g / f o r t r e s s i s a  s u p e r f i c i a l covering which has been shown to bear no connection with reality.  Like "Les F r u i t s d'Or" i t has l o s t i t s magic, the bubble  has burst.  There i s nothing beneath the electro-plated exterior that  ^ ^ S a r r a u t e , Les F r u i t s d'Or. p. 95.  126 so appeals t o the eye. By the time we reach Example 8 "Les F r u i t s d*0r" has been discredited.  The b u i l d i n g image has acquired the extra dimension of  the vogue and i t i s thi3 that i s now under attack.  Again we f i n d the  image of h a l l u c i n a t i o n and the l i t e r a r y fads are described as " l a frime."  At t h i s point the i n d i v i d u a l i s c l e a r l y at odds with h i s  society, to such an extent that he wishes to destroy i t . describes him as " l e t e r r o r i s t e . " )  (The other  The whole process of judging a r t  i s under attack and i s countered by subjectivism.  Our l a s t view of  the palace i s at the moment that i t i s being ransacked  (Ex. 9).  It  i s revealed t o be empty, to contain nothing of value but only the cheap and the vulgar, which, i n terms of t h i s new form of society, is reality.  The pretensions of the palace, of the f o r m a l i s t s , and  of Brehier are displayed i n a l l t h e i r falsehood, and the new harmony i s proposed "dans l a mesquine r e a l i t e " (p. 204) where nobody i s revered and nothing i s sacred. In the f i n a l Example i t i s the emptiness of the b u i l d i n g that i s compared with the v i t a l i t y and promise evoked by the image of the crocu3.  I t i s c l e a r from what the motif has acquired i n the previous  examples that the b u i l d i n g i s the appearance compared with the r e a l i t y of the flower.  I t i s the s i z e and grandeur of the b u i l d i n g that i s  stressed, but a l s o the fact of i t s emptiness.  I t i s related through  the immediate context to the turmoil and noise of society, which i s contrasted t o the i s o l a t i o n of the s o l i t a r y i n d i v i d u a l seeking words to express h i s sense of contact with the aesthetic r e a l i t y .  127 This concurrent analysis of our themes raises three points. F i r s t l y we note that there i s a difference between the theme of a r t and the two other themes.  We used a r t to i l l u s t r a t e the l e v e l of  meaning of the p l o t , the simple mirror i m a g e , ^ tut i t s movement 1  conforms c l o s e l y to that of the plot with i t s o v e r a l l c y c l i c a l pattern. Actions a r i s e from the controversy about a r t , so that however f a r we plunge into other thematic material we are always brought back to comments about "Les b r u i t s d'Or" and about a e s t h e t i c s . The context of the themes of Appearance and Reality and of Individual and Society are, however, d i f f e r e n t .  In the former case, we have consistently  found i n each of our exemplary motifs the fraudulent or the sham.  The  two l e v e l s of existence, the hard and the s o f t , are always present i n the image of the b u i l d i n g , but there i s a frequent a s s o c i a t i o n within the motif, with images of h a l l u c i n a t i o n or magic, or with  l'oeil.  tt  n  The suggestion i s constantly there that r e a l i t y i s not only what i t seems, and we are conscious of a tension between Appearance and Reality.  There i s tension, too, between the Individual and Society.  We noticed the sense of harmony or disharmony that existed i n a l l the examples and the desire of the i n d i v i d u a l as well as of the society f o r the re-establishment of that ideal condition, t h e i r ultimate integration. Our study of the themes has brought us back to the tropism, f o r t h e i r content r e c a l l s the movement of the tropism described i n our previous chapters. ^^See  We f i n d a d i s t i n c t i o n between the three themes,  above, pp. 85-86.  128 f o r while A r t i l l u s t r a t e s p r i n c i p a l l y  the l e v e l of the f i c t i o n , the  other two r e f l e c t the rhythms of the narrative, the rhythms of c o n f l i c t and the c y c l i c a l movement from harmony through disharmony and back again t o harmony.  I t i s t o the tropism that we turn our attention i n ,  our concluding chapter.  V CONCLUSION  The focus of t h i s study has been the tropism.  We have  described the tropism as the process of adaptation of the organism to i t s environment, a process which comprises both c o n f l i c t and the desire f o r harmony.  I t i s a process which takes place, f o r the  most part, w i t h i n the i n d i v i d u a l , the external and v i s i b l e signs being merely the r e s u l t s of long internal movements.  The o v e r a l l  pattern of the tropism i s c i r c u l a r i n the sense that the sequence of the seasons, or the d a i l y response of plants to the movement of l i g h t or, indeed, the cycle of l i f e and death are c i r c u l a r .  For  Sarraute the tropism i s the d e s c r i p t i o n of the condition of man  placed  ineluctably i n a society i n which, on the one hand, he continually seeks to immerse himself while, on the other, he finds i n i t endless sources of f r i c t i o n .  But there i s no escape and, l i k e i t or not, he  must define himself i n terms of h i s society. The tropism i s a l i t e r a r y device by means of which Sarraute presents her v i s i o n of the world.  I t i s t h i s l i t e r a r y usage that we  have attempted t o analyze i n t h i s study and which we s h a l l review i n the f i r s t h a l f of t h i s chapter. The point of view adopted by Sarraute enables her and her reader to p a r t i c i p a t e as immediately as possible i n the multiple and complex movements that a r i s e between the i n d i v i d u a l and h i s society.  129  130 Actions and events are not mediated by a narrator or implied author, and the reader experiences the s l i n g s and arrows of fortune as they are recorded by the various characters. He i s enabled to pierce the surface of a c t i o n and character, entering into the "fonds obscure de l a psychologle," which i s , i n Sarraute's opinion, the true realm of f i c t i o n i n our present age. The expansion of the inner world of Sarraute's characters involves an expanded r o l e f o r the narrative elements of the work. A c t i o n i s displaced by extensive r e f l e c t i o n and complex responses to events, which f a l l into the c i r c u l a r pattern that we have described above.  From  an assumed condition of harmony a stimulus releases a c o n f l i c t whose desired outcome i s the re-establishment of harmony.  I t i s a structure  which can be seen at the l e v e l of the work as a whole, i n the fourteen sections, and i n the episodes w i t h i n those sections.  Tropisms  exist w i t h i n tropisms; one releases another to create an i n f i n i t e series, and they can be juxtaposed and mutually c o n f l i c t i n g . In the s t y l e we can trace how Sarraute i s able to achieve her effects.  I n the use of the present tense and i n the imitation of  r e a l i s t i c dialogue with a l l i t s unexpected  jerkiness, she presents  her world i n a l l i t s complexity, not as a thing ordered and subject to an h o l i s t i c description, but as a process, continually unfolding and e t e r n a l l y incomprehensible.  More p r e c i s e l y she i s able to express  the c o n f l i c t between the two views by means of the d i s t i n c t i o n that she draws between "sous-conversation, "conversation," with i t s c l i c h e s .  11  with i t s wealth of imagery, and Sarraute has thus distinguished,  131 s t y l i s t i c a l l y , between the external world of action (speech being considered as action) and the inner world i n which occur the movements of the tropisms. The f i c t i o n of Les F r u i t s d'Or i s notable f o r i t s l i m i t e d r o l e . The expansion of the narrative has r e s t r i c t e d the plot to a mere skeleton, a few statements and gestures which form a sequence and from which stem the dramatic c o n f l i c t s of the inner world.  The r o l e  of the plot i s l a r g e l y mechanical but i t , too, conforms e p i s o d i c a l l y to the pattern of the tropism with i t s regular t r i a d i c structure of Action-Keaction-Outcome.  Character, l i k e p l o t , has l o s t i t s prominence.  There are few w e l l - b u i l t characters i n the sense i n which we usually understand these words; those that there are appear as caricatures, masks without faces.  Character has come to mean a psychological  orientation of the i n d i v i d u a l t o h i s environment, an orientation which, with a few minor variations, i s common to a l l men and women.  The  i n d i v i d u a l aspires to harmony with h i s environment and any disruption of that harmony provokes a struggle f o r i t s recovery. Space and time, usually considered as aspects of the f i c t i o n , show, i n Les F r u i t s d'Or, the predominant  influence of the n a r r a t i v e .  Space i s not described but i s apprehended by the reader through the words and f e e l i n g s of the characters. The i s o l a t i o n from society, the sense of claustrophobia, and the c i r c u l a r structure of space i s a condition, not s i g n i f i c a n t at the l e v e l of a c t i o n and f i c t i o n , but only i n the psychological relationships between people.  Similarly,  time i s not chronology, related t o the sequence of the p l o t , but the i n e l u c t i b l e law of movement which l i e s beneath the tropism.  The time  132 of a c t i o n i s l i m i t e d and interrupted, but the time of the i n t e r i o r world that Sarraute i s exploring i s p o t e n t i a l l y l i m i t l e s s . The "mise en ablme'" creates a t r i p l e l e v e l of meaning i n Les F r u i t s d'Or.  At the f i r s t l e v e l the meaning i s s a t i r i c a l and can  best be i l l u s t r a t e d i n the theme of A r t which conforms c l o s e l y to the movement of the p l o t .  Two  other meanings, however, a r i s e from the  opposition and, then, the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of the two books bearing the same t i t l e .  Throughout the book there are tendencies to both c o n f l i c t  and i n t e g r a t i o n . The c o n f l i c t i s best seen i n the theme of Appearance and R e a l i t y while integration i s the ultimate goal of both individual and society. While running p a r a l l e l to one another, the three themes frequently touch, lending to each other, upon contact, a greater dimension.  The i n t e r a c t i o n of the themes creates a coherent  thematic  structure which, once again, r e f l e c t s the movement of the tropism. The r i s e and decline of the vogue, whence emerge the various a r t i s t i c pronouncements, provoke c o n f l i c t s within the society, c o n f l i c t s which turn fundamentally upon what i s true and what f a l s e , what i s r e a l and what apparent.  But the persistent and repetitious c o n f l i c t s  appear w i t h i n theme of the Individual and the Society, where they alternate with the opposite desire f o r i n t e g r a t i o n . Sarraute's v i s i o n of the world as tropism implies that any topic (e.g., the p l o t ) w i l l be worked out w i t h i n a l i t e r a r y context i n which the d i s t i n c t i o n between appearance and r e a l i t y i s subject to the laws governing the mutual needs of i n d i v i d u a l and society, of organism and environment.  133 Thus f a r i n t h i s chapter we have done no more than summarize what we have demonstrated at greater length i n the body of the t h e s i s . We have attempted, however, to underline the presence of the tropism i n every aspect of "Le3  ffruits  d'Or and to see the book's s i g n i f i c a n c e  i n the l i g h t of that predominant structure.  But our attention has been  concentrated on the i n t e r n a l significance of the xvork, and we have not, except i n parenthetical comment, looked at the broader meaning of the tropism.  We have, i n Todorov's terms, studied the "sens" and not 0  attempted  "interpretation."  175 l J  In turning now to interpretation, we  can see two areas f o r comment; f i r s t l y , we s h a l l discuss the tropism i n terms of i t s a b i l i t y to represent r e a l i t y and secondly we s h a l l consider i t s contribution t o l i t e r a t u r e . There can be no doubt i n the mind of any reader that the i n t e r i o r movements, which Sarraute has c a l l e d tropisms, form part of h i s experience of l i f e , and, e s p e c i a l l y , part of his r e l a t i o n s h i p with others.  Constantly, we respond with keen s e n s i t i v i t y t o remarks, and  the speaker may well be unaware of the e f f e c t that h i s , perhaps offhand, comment has made. We can nurse f o r a long time i n t e r n a l wounds or c a r e f u l l y guarded hopes, but when we f i n a l l y reveal them t o the person responsible, he views what he has produced with i n c r e d u l i t y .  Sarraute  i s r i g h t i n assuming an inner realm of experience which i s i n v i s i b l e , r i c h , and can be brought to l i g h t only with the greatest d i f f i c u l t y . The tropism, however, goes further than t h i s .  As we noticed  ^ ^ F c r discussion of these terms, see above, pp.  3-4.  134 at the beginning of our study the word i t s e l f i s drawn from biology and thus implies a condition which i s inescapable. determined by his environment.  Even consciousness  Man  is totally  does not lead to  l i b e r a t i o n as we see at the end of Les F r u i t s d'Or, f o r the character i s aware of h i s and mankind's s i t u a t i o n but i s s t i l l unable to release himself from i t .  The image of the machine, that appears on four  occasions i n Les F r u i t s d'Or, t e s t i f i e s to t h i s sense of an i n e v i t a b l e and mechanical law that guides our destiny.  For Sarraute the i n d i v i -  dual i s a prisoner of h i s society, and any society w i l l seek the submission of the i n d i v i d u a l .  Jaccard bases h i s study of S a r r a u t e ^ 1  0  on the premise that her characters are members of the bourgeoisie, revealing the conventional attitudes of that class, but there seems no reason to believe that Sarraute i s r e s t r i c t i n g her v i s i o n to i t alone. '''? 1  Though Proust described the a r i s t o c r a t i c c i r c l e s and those  who aspired to them, we do not therefore assume that h i s v i s i o n of society i s r e s t r i c t e d to that r e l a t i v e l y minute c l a s s .  Sarraute i s  describing human r e l a t i o n s and her view displays an extensive pessimism f o r not only i s man trapped, but the i n t e r i o r movements, which he  176j ccard, Nathalie Sarraute. a  ^ ^ I t i s almost impossible to give any t o t a l l y s a t i s f a c t o r y d e f i n i t i o n of "bourgeoisie." We f i n d , however, i n Sarraute's works more than one class represented. C l e a r l y , i n Martereau, the family of the narrator and Martereau himself belong to d i f f e r e n t c l a s s e s . While A l a i n Guimez and family i n Le Planetarium would c e r t a i n l y be part of the bourgeoisie, i t i s doubtful i f Germaine Lemaire can be placed i n the same s o c i a l group f o r one of her attractions i s her apparent freedom from such problems as door knobs and sofas. Germaine Lemaire, however, provides the answer to the problem, f o r she turns out to be no d i f f e r e n t from the other characters. Sarraute i s not describing one class but "une matiere anonyme, identique chez tous."  135 experiences continuously, are l a r g e l y responses of f e a r and suspicion. Her people appear unable to react p o s i t i v e l y to one another, of i f , 171  as occasionally happens, they do, they are soon sorely d i s i l l u s i o n e d . The purpose of our comments i s not to plead f o r optimistic  l i t e r a t u r e but to indicate the type of world that Sarraute appears t o be portraying. "demonic.'*  I t i s a world that Northrop Frye would describe as  Some,of the features of that world are noted i n t h i s  quotation from Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m : Opposed t o apocalyptic symbolism i s the presentation of the world that d e s i r e t o t a l l y r e j e c t s ; the world of the nightmare and the scapegoat, of bondage and pain and confusion; the world as i t i s before the human imagination begins to work on i t and before any image of human d e s i r e , such a s the c i t y or the garden has been s o l i d l y established; the world also of perverted and wasted work, ruins and catacombs, instruments of torture and monuments of folly.179 Frye might almost have drawn h i s examples from Les F r u i t s d*Or so appropriate are they to i t .  But t h i s i s not a l l , f o r he sees the  c i r c l e as a s i g n i f i c a n t symbol of the demonic world and the pharmakos as i t s archetypal character.  Sarraute, however, does not even o f f e r  us the a l t e r n a t i v e of the apocalyptic, f o r the garden and the building and the c i t y which Frye, l i k e a good formalist, sees as creations of man's divine s p i r i t , are f o r her mere sham, "de l a frime.** Within this hopeless environment o r society there i s one l i t t l e  may c i t e as examples of d i s i l l u s i o n e d hope the experience of the woman who returns a t the end of Section 1 seeking a p o s i t i v e answer, only to be rebuffed once again. The group i n Section 4 i s sorely deceived i n . i t s f a i t h i n the c r i t i c s . The woman of Section 6 believes that frankness w i l l p r e v a i l . The man of Section 12 hopes that h i s s t i r r i n g eloquence w i l l sway the group. Further examples of misplaced optimism could be added. 1 7  9 F r y , Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m , p. 147. e  136 gleam, but i t i s so small that we must beware of b u i l d i n g any about i t . I t i s expressed  theory  i n the images of the crocus and the child's  hand and i n the language associated with v i b r a t i o n and the imperc e p t i b l e r u s t l e of l i f e . e a s i l y be extinguished.  Like the flame i t i s s e n s i t i v e and  can  I t s p r i n c i p a l a t t r i b u t e s are i t s tenderness  and i t s p o t e n t i a l i t y but i t seems incapable of development or growth. In Les F r u i t s d'Or there i s no example of any authentic value or sensation beyond the l e v e l of these feeble suggestions.  The  crocus  and the c h i l d ' s hand f l i c k e r weakly i n the vast and ominous mass of demonic and f a l s e l y apocalyptic imagery that f i l l s the book. The f i r s t thing to mention i n considering the l i t e r a r y impori tance of Sarraute's t r o p i s t i c v i s i o n i s that i t s use i s not r e s t r i c t e d to Les F r u i t s d'Or.  I t i s the fundamental pattern of a l l her works as  she h e r s e l f r e i t e r a t e s whenever she discusses her own w r i t i n g .  The  t i t l e of her f i r s t book Tropismes i s evidence enough i n i t s e l f .  It  was written at a time when Sarraute believed that novels were obsolete and that writers could only record those l o c a l i z e d and immediate sensations that are the tropisms. she found a way  Through the s i n g l e narrator, however,  of recording a continuous  experience, as events and  opinions of others transformed the narrator's world.  In Martereau  i t i s the a t t i t u d e s expressed by the narrator's family which shatter the s o l i d , r e l i a b l e appearance of Martereau, provoking continual changes i n r e l a t i o n s h i p s .  With Le Planetarium Sarraute begins to use  the multiple narrator and we already f i n d those group scenes i n which action or word produces i t s i n e v i t a b l e response.  In the l a t e s t novel,  ,  137  7oii0 l e s Entendez, i t i s the giggles of the children that continually disrupt the aspirations of the two men f o r a world of security based on universal aesthetic values.  Sarraute's work, as a whole, can be  seen as a continuous attempt t o express with even a greater p r e c i s i o n and c l a r i t y her fundamental concept, the tropism. This view of the world i s , however, not without  precedent.  Sarraute herself points to a large number of predecessors to whom she recognizes her o b l i g a t i o n .  She c i t e s ,  i n L ' E r e du Soupcon, Kafka  and Dostoevsky, who have had such an influence on her cenception of character.  Ivy Ccmpton Burnett appears to have helped her t o  x  c l a r i f y her concept of "conversation" and "sous-conversation."  Proust  recorded the symptomatic eruptions on the surface of society of the sickness and trouble beneath.  V i r g i n i a Woolf comes closest  to being  a d i r e c t predecessor with her desire to record the experience of the inward eye, her use of the m u l t i p l e narrator, and her attacks upon the conventions of novel w r i t i n g .  But Sarraute d i f f e r s from these  other writers and has a v i s i o n which she has discovered and developed alone.  There i s always the f e e l i n g ,  i n reading V i r g i n i a Woolf, that  the i n t e r i o r movements are somehow an aberration, a sign of i n c i p i e n t madness i n Mrs. Dalloway, or a blemish upon the objective beauty of the English country garden i n The Waves.  eternal  For Sarraute the  inner world has become r e a l i t y , and i t i s the outer, v i s i b l e world that i s f a l s e . literature.  I t i s t h i s that Sarraute has above a l l contributed to  Writing of mankind i n the mid-twentieth century she has  ISGgQQ f  0 r  discussion of Dostoevsky's  influence pp. 65-66.  138 39911, l i k e so many others, h i s a l i e n a t i o n from h i s environment, but she has discovered h i s escape into "les fonds obscurs de l a psychologie." What Sarraute has revealed t o us, and i s constantly struggling t o express, i s that i n a world i n which mankind i s prisoner of h i s environment and society, i n which a l l overt, authentic a c t i o n has become impossible, the true realm of man's adventure l i e s within himself. The heroes, martyrs, despots, and revolutionaries of today struggle beneath the bland and f a l s e appearance of modern l i f e , and the tropism i s both Sarraute's perception of the inner r e a l i t y , and the l i t e r a r y means by which she draws that tumultuous l i f e out of the depths, to display i t before the mind's eye of her reader*  \  SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY I.  Works by Nathalie Sarraute a) Books Tropismes.  Paris:  Editions de Minuit,  1957  Martereau.  Paris:  Editions Gallimard,  1953.  P o r t r a i t d'un Inconnu. P a r i s : L'Ere du soupcon. P a r i s :  Editions Gallimard,  Editions Gallimard,  Le Planetarium. Livres de Poche. P a r i s : Gallimard, 1959. Les F r u i t s d'or. P a r i s :  Paris:  Sntre l a v i e et l a mort.  Editions  1968:  Vous l e s entendez.  Paris:  Paris:  1956.  Editions  Editions Gallimard,  Le Silence s u i v i de l e Mensonge. Gallimard, 196?.  1963.  Editions Gallimard,  Editions Gallimard,  1972.  b) A r t i c l e s "Paul Valery et 1'enfant de 1'elephant.'' Les Temps Modernes (Janvier, 1947), 610-37. "Nouveau roman et r e a l i t e . " Revue de l ' I n s t i t u t de Sociologie de l ' U n i v e r s i t l de Bruxelles (Numero s p e c i a l , 36e annee, I I , 1963), 431-441. "Les deux r e a l i t e s . "  E s p r i t ( j u i l l e t , 1964), 72-75.  "Flaubert l e precurseur."  3-11.  139  1956.  Preuves ( f e v r i e r , 1965),  140 II.  General works consulted Barthes, Roland.  Sur Racine.  Paris:  E d i t i o n s du S e u i l ,  1963.  "Introduction a 1'analyse structurale des r e c i t s . "  Communications, VIII (1966), 1-27. S/Z.  Paris:  E d i t i o n s du S e u i l ,  1970.  Boisdeffre de, P i e r r e . Une h i s t o i r e vlvante de l a l i t t e r a t u r e d'aujourd'hul. 7e ed.; P a r i s : L i b r a i r i e Academique P e r r i n ,  1962.  Booth, Wayne C. The Rhetoric of F i c t i o n . of Chicago Press, 1961.  Chicago:  Cocking, J . M. "The 'Nouveau Soman i n France." French L i t e r a t u r e (November, 1965), 1-14.  Essays i n  1  Ehrmann, J . , ed.  Structuralism.  New York:  university  Anchor Books, 1970.  Falk, Eugene H. Types of Thematic Structure. University of Chicago Press, 1967.  Chicago:  Friedman, Norman. "Point of View i n F i c t i o n : The Development of a Concept." PMLA, LXS (December* 1955), 1160-84. Frye, Northrop.  Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m .  New York:  Atheneum, 1966.  Girard, Rene. Deceit, Desire and the Novel; S e l f and Other i n L i t e r a r y Structure. Translated by Y. FTeccero. Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 1965. Guiraud, P i e r r e . La S t y l i s t i q u e . t a i r e s de France, 1963. Lane, M., ed. Structuralism: Cape, 1970.  Paris:  A Reader.  Presses U n i v e r s i London:  Jonathan  Marzac, Nicole. "Le theme du pays perdu dans l e reman contemporain." Revue des Sciences Humalnes, CXEZ ( j u i l l e t septembre, 1965), 431-440. Mauriac, Claude. L ' A l l i t e r a t i o n Contemporaine. Editions A l b i n Michel, 1969. Moore, Harry T. Carbondale:  Paris:  Twentieth Century French L i t e r a t u r e, V o l . I I . Southern I l l i n o i s University Press, 1966.  Nadeau, Maurice. Le nouveau reman depuis l a guerre. Editions Gallimard, 1963.  Paris:  141 Ricardou, Jean. du S e u i l .  Problemes du nouveau roman.  Paris:  Editions  Rock, Rima D. "Old and New i n the French New N o v e l . Southern Review, I (Baton Rouge, Louisiana, October, 1965), 791-802. n  R i f f a t e r r e , Michael. Essais de s t y l i s t i q u e s t r u c t u r a l e . Flammarion, 1971. Rousset, Jean. Forme et S i g n i f i c a t i o n . Jose Conti, 1962.  Paris:  Paris:  Librairie  Todorov, Tzyetan. "Les categories du r l c i t l i t t e r a i r e . " Communications, T i l l (1966), 125-51. Woolf, V i r g i n i a .  Collected Essays.  London:  The Hogarth Press,  1968. Zeltner, Gerda. La grande aventure du reman francais au XXe s i e c l e . P a r i s : E d i t i o n s Gonthier, 1967. III.  Works about Nathalie Sarraute Arendt, Hannah.  "Nathalie Sarraute."  Merkur, XVIII (August,  1964), 785-92. Aury, Dominique.  94-100.  Barjon, Louis.  "La communication."  NRF, XI ( j u i l l e t , 1963),  "Les f r u i t s d»or." Etudes, CCCXIX (1963), 79-85.  Blot, Jean. "Nathalie Sarraute: (aout, 1968), 111-118.  une f i n e bule."  NRF, XVI  Brombert, T i c t o r . "The Novel as Recorder of the Pulsations of Time. . ." Review of Les f r u i t s d*or, by Nathalie Sarraute. New York Times Book Review, February 9, 1964, p. 4. Brophy, B r i g i d . "Halfway to a Happening." Review of Les F r u i t s d^or, by Nathalie Sarraute. New Statesman, August 6, 1965, Cismaru, A l f r e d . "The Reader as Co-creator i n Nathalie S a r r a u t e ^ Novels." Renascence, XVI (Summer, 1964), 201-07, 218. Conn, Ruby. "Nathalie Sarraute's Sub-conversations." LXXVIII (May, 1963), 261-70.  MLA,  "Nathalie Sarraute and T i r g i n i a Woolf." Un Nouveau Roman. Edited by J . H. Matthews. P a r i s : M. J . Minard, 1964.  142 Comtesse, Andre. L•imagination, chez Nathalie Sarraute: l a dialeetique. du f l u i d e et du s o l i d e . " Etudes de L e t t r e s , VI (juillet-septembre, 1963), 192-205. Cranski, Mimica, and Yvon B e l a v a l . Editions Gallimard, 1965.  Nathalie Sarraute.  Paris:  Finns, Lucette. "Nathalie Sarraute, ou l e s metamorphoses du Tel.Quel, XX (Hiver, 1965), 68-77.  verbe."  Fleming, John A. "The Imagery of the Tropism i n the Novels of Nathalie Sarraute." Image and Theme. Edited by W. M. Frohock. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1969. Jaccard, Jean-Luc. Verlag, 196?.  Nathalie Sarraute.  Zurioh:  J u r i s Bruck  Magny de, O l i v i e r . "Nathalie Sarraute ou l'astronomie i n t e r i e u r e . " Les Lettres Nouvelles, XLI (decembre, 1963-Janvier, 1964)»  139-153.  Matthews, J . H. "Nathalie Sarraute et l a presence des choses." Un nouveau roman. Edited by J . H. Matthews. P a r i s : M. J . Minard, 1964. Micha, Rene. Nathalie Sarraute. Classiques du XXe LXXH. P a r i s : Editions U n i v e r s i t a i r e s , 1966.  siecle,  Peyre, H e n r i . "Out-Prousting Proust." Review of The Age of Suspicion, by Nathalie Sarraute. Saturday Review, March 16, 1963, P. 93. Picon, Gaetan. "Sur 'les F r u i t s d'or'." CCCXLVIII ( j u i l l e t , 1963), 485-93.  Mercure de France,  Pingaud, Bernard. "Le personnage dans l'oeuvre de Nathalie Sarraute." Preuves, CLIV (deoembre, 1963), 19-34. Roudiez, Leon S. "A Glance a t the Vocabulary of Nathalie Sarraute." Yale French Studies, XXVII (printemps-ete, 1961), 90-98. "The Waves beneath the Lines We Wear." Review of Tropiams, by Nathalie Sarraute. Saturday Review,  May 6, 196?, pp. 35-36.  Schneider, P i e r r e . " . . . and the Novelist as Transmuter: Nathalie Sarraute talks about Her A r t . " New York Times Book Review, February 9, 1964, PP. 4-5, 3o7 Sontag, Susan. Against Interpretation. Laurel E d i t i o n . D e l l Publishing Co., 1969.  New York:  143 "St. Aubyn, F. C. Rilke, Sartre, and Sarraute: the Sole of the Third.' Revue de L i t t e r a t u r e Comparee, XLI (1967), 275-84. 1  Temple, Ruth. Nathalie Sarraute. Columbia Essays on Modern Writers, XXX7III. New York: Columbia U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1968. Times L i t e r a r y Supplement. pp. 1-2.  "A Pronoun too Few."  January 1, I960,  Tison Braun, Micheline. Nathalie Sarraute ou l a reoherehe de 1'authenticite*. P a r i s : E d i t i o n s Gallimard, 1971. Watson-fWilliams, Helen. "Nathalie Sarraute's Golden Apples." Essays i n French L i t e r a t u r e , I I I (November, 1966), 78-93. Weightman, J . G.  "Nathalie Sarraute."  Encounter, XXII (June,  1964), 36-43. Wood, Margery. "Norman Mailer and Nathalie Sarraute: a Comparison of E x i s t e n t i a l Novels." Minnesota Review, 71 (1966),  67-72. Zeltner, Gerda. "Nathalie Sarraute et l'impossible realisms." Mercure de France, MCLXXX7III (aout, 1962), 593-608.  

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