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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 this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1973 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y available for reference and study. I further agree that permission fo r extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s representatives. It i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of French  The University of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8 , Canada ABSTRACT With her very f i r s t book Hathalie Sarraute insisted upon the importance of the tropism. Though most c r i t i c a acknowledge i t s importance, only one has used i t as a key to his study. This thesis proposes that the tropism is central to the structure of Sarraute*s work and specifically to that of Les Fruits d'Or. The study presupposes that the text of the novel is the u l t i -mate, objective source of evidence. Following the suggestion of a number of French structuralist c r i t i c s , a distinction 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 Style; i n Chapter 2, "Aspects of the Fiction," appear the subsections, Plot, Character, Space, and Time. Because of the nature of Les Fruits d'Or a further chapter was needed to explore the content of the work, so that Chapter 3, "Thematic Structure," deals with the principal thanes and their interrelationship. The word "tropism" describes the process of adaptation of an organism to i t s environment. Sarraute uses i t to explore the interior 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 to release those sensations which form the substance of the work. The narrative point of view enables the reader to experi-ence the sensation simultaneously with the character, while the structure reveals a cy c l i c a l pattern of conflict and harmony corresponding to that of the tropism. In the style we find both the attempt to create immediacy of dialogue and a language appropri-ate 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 Fruit3 d'Or become subsidiary. The plot i s a skeleton upon which to mould the flesh of the narrative, but i t conforms, with i t s pattern of action and reaction, to the tropism. The charac-ters lose f i c t i o n a l individuality and become extensions of a uniform psychology, which i s perceived i n terms of stimulus and response. Space and time have lost almost a l l f i c t i o n a l existence and have become psychological determinants accounting for the pervading sense of enclosure and of mechanical recurrence within the vast, new space-time of the tropistic movements. The "mise en abime" at the centre of Les Fruits d'Or creates a t r i p l e l e v e l of meaning which i s illustrated i n three themes. The f i r s t , "Art,** corresponds to the plot and describes s a t i r i c a l l y the cy c l i c a l rise and decline of a novel. At the second l e v e l , "Appearance and Reality' 1 illustrates the confli c t , central to the work, between the visible and the f a i t , the hard and the soft. The theme, "Individual and Society," reveals the common aspiration f o r a harmony which i s eternally elusive. Relating these themes we find, once again, the pattern of the tropism, a cy c l i c a l movement of stimulus and response in which appear the basic rhythms of con-f l i c t and re-integration. v Oar concentration upon the structure of the tropism leads, / i n conclusion, to the high-lighting of certain aspects of Sarraute's work. The tropism i s both a vision of man'3 inner existence and a vehicle for i t s expression. It also 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 flickering hope. The tropism i s common to a l l Sarraute's work, and her explora-tion of man's psychological depths i s not unique i n literature. Her most important contribution to the novel l i e s i n her vision of the inner world as man's true realm of action and i n her provision of access to that world by means of the tropism. T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S Pago LIST OF TABLES i i LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS i i i ACKNOWLEDGEMENT • • • :-iV-INTRODUCTION 1 CHAPTER I. NARRATIVE 12 Narrative Point of View 13 Narrative Structure 23 Style . 36 CHAPTER I I . ASPECTS OF THE FICTION 51 Plot 52 Character 62 Space 72 Time 75 CHAPTER III. THEMATIC STRUCTURE 84 Introduction: "La Mise en Abtme1* 84 Themes: Art 87 Appearance and Reality 97 Individual and Society.-. 107 Thematic Coherence 116 CONCLUSION 129 BIBLIOGRAPHY 139 i LIST OF TABLES Table: Page 1« Analysis of the Pattern of Action of the Fourteen Sections 27-28 2. Analysis of the Pattern of Action of the Episodes of Section 4 32-34 3. Repetitions: pp. 106-107 39-40 4. Outline of the Plot 55-56 5. The Patterns of Ten Selected Plot Incidents 59-60 6. The Three Levels of Meaning i n Las Fraits d'Or 87 7. "Le Batiment" as Leitmotif 118-120 i i LIST OF TLLUSTRAT IONS Figure: Page 1 . Comparison of Narrative and Fictional Duration 76 2. Narrative and Fictional Time i n Section 6 . 77 3« Narrative and Fictional Time i n Section 5 76 4* Total Pattern of Narrative and Fictional Time i n Les Fruits d'Or . . . . . . . 79 i i i ACKN0WI2DSEMENT I should l i k e to take this opportunity to thank those people whose assistance made possible the completion of this thesis. The prompt and efficient attention of Dr. A l i s t a i r McKay to questions and requests made the early, arduous stages of the work a great deal less anxious. M. Dominique Baudouin, who devotedly read the various plans and drafts, contributed invaluable suggestions. To Dr. Cecil Jenkins I extend thanks for his continued interest and support, and admiration for his unfailing good sense and sound advice. Finally, to my wife thanks are inadequate; without her support, s p i r i t u a l , mental, and physical, I could never have com-pleted this study. : i v INTRODUCTION ',Tropism,, i s a sci e n t i f i c term which describes the reaction of an organism to stimuli from i t s environment* The t i t l e of Sarraute*s f i r s t book i s TTopismes,1 and i n her c r i t i c a l writings and interviews she i s constantly returning to these interior movements, which are the foundation of a l l her works. The tropism describes figuratively Sarraute*s vision of a world i n which people react to one another as though i n accordance with biological laws of adaptation, rather than i n a free and rational manner* Those who have written about Sarraute have always mentioned the tropism and i t s importance but have rarely studied i t s s i g n i f i -canca i n the works. An exception i s J. A. Flaming, who finds i n the tropism the psychological movements within the person and the emergence of sensation into speech. The main thrust of his a r t i c l e i s the examination of the imagery, and specifically the animal imagery, as i t i s used to describe the double movement. In this thesis the tropism i s seen as the basic structural principle of Les Fruits 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. I f we might assume an original state ^Nathalie Sarraute, Tropismes (Paris: Les Sditions de Minuit, 1957). ~* 2Joha A. Fleming, "The Imagery ofiTropism,-*• i n Image and Theme, ed. by W. M. Frohock (Howard University Press, 1969), pp. 74-98. 1 2 of harmony—though, in fact, such a state never existed, as i s made clear at the beginning and at the end of Les Fruits d'Or3—a stimulus occurs to disrupt i t , giving rise to anxiety, imbalance and confl i c t . A process of adaptation is then set in motion whose purpose i t is to re-establish that assumed harmony between the organism and i t s environ-ment. A state of balance, once achieved, can only last momentarily for the transformation of organism, or environment, or both, impinges upon other adjacent organism. Response or reaction is inevitable. In the following pages we shall give our reasons for this claim, believing i t to be based upon the evidence of the objective test. 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 , for he i s a trans-lator who can only put into new words what he sees on the page. Jean Rousset, confident of his new criticism, acknowledges i t s limitation: Heme s i l a salsie des significations a tra vers les formes m'assure un maximum de possession, je sais bien que l a relation de l'oeuvre et de son lecteur, 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 rassasle.^ Literary objective truth, i f i t exists at a l l , resides i n the text, and i t i s to i t that the reader must return as his source of f i n a l reference. Thus a dialogue i s created between text and reader, a dialectic 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 this concept 3jfe enter Les Fruits d'Or on a note of anxiety as the old Courbet vogue declines and leave as a new vogue gathers momentum. Conflict i s always there. ^Tean Rousset, Forme et Signification (Paris: L i b r a i r i e Jose* Conti, 1962), p. x x i i i . Poland Barthes states i n S/Z (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1970), p. 17: "Lire c'est trouver des sens, et trouver des sens, c'est les nommer.". 3 of literature is that i t enables us to discern more clearly the mixture of subjective and objective operations that take place i n li t e r a r y ccmnaunication. Both the author and the reader bring to the text an amalgam of personal attitudes and attributes, but there remains the text whose objective existence can never be dismissed. Todorov, in an a r t i c l e i n Communications,^ has attempted to establish objectivity by drawing a distinction between the functions of criticism and interpretation. Criticism i s an objective study of the basic elements of the text, while interpretation judges i t according to external and therefore subjective c r i t e r i a . The distinc-tion 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 possibility d'entrer en correlation 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 critique, ses positions ideologiques, suivant l'epoque. Pour etre interprete, 1'element est inclus dans un systems qui n'est pas celui de l'oeuvre mais celui du critique.7 Realistically, however, i t must be objected to Todorov*s argument that such a division exists only ideally and that the human agent, be he c r i t i c or interpreter, does not practise i n this manner. An Interpretation can never be tot a l l y subjective and, more important for our purposes, a c r i t i c i s always involved to 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. 7Ibid., pp. 125-26. 4 While we would argue for a much greater measure of subjectivity i n criticism than would Todorov, we do not wish to deny textual objectivity, for this would seem to 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 of i t , and the significance of relationships discovered are directed by c r i t e r i a within the reader, yet, to 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 to 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 universality for our findings but trust that they offer a possible, productive way of approaching the text. Meaning, as Barthea a has said, i s plural, and i t i s our purpose to reveal or provide access to at least some of the dimensions of meaning i n Les Fruits d'Or. The reader approaches l i t e r a r y meaning from two points, conceptually separable, but which are inextricable, i f not identical. I f at f i r s t he i s principally aware of incidents, characters, and ideas, later he becomes conscious of further relationships interwoven i n the text. The text has a doable function: that of presenting objects to the reader, and that of directing his attention to them i n a certain manner. The two aspects of meaning have traditionally been called "Content•» and "Form," but recently other terms have been used. %arthea writes i n S/Z, pp. 11-12, that the ideal text i s plural, 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 triom-phant, que ne vient apprauvrir aucune oontrainte de representation (d'imitation). Bans ce texte ideal, les reseaux sont multiples et jouent entre eux, sans qu'aucun puisse coiffer les autres; ce texte est on galaxie de signifiants, non une structure de si g n i f i e s . " 5 Todorov describes the difference using the words "histoire" and "discours." Au niveau l e plus general, l'oeuvre l i t t e r a i r e a deux aspects: el l e est en meme temps une histoire et un discours. E l l e est histoire, 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 vie r e a l l s . . • Mais l'oeuvre est en meme temps discours: i l exists un narrateur qui relate 1'histoire; et en face de l u i 11 y a un lecteur qui l e percoit. A ce niveau ce no sont pas les evenements rapportes qui comptent mais l a facon dont l e narrateur nous les a f a i t eonnaitre .9 RLcardou i n his book Problemes du Nouveau Roman makes the same point more succinctly with yet different 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 les deux faces du langage."1® Our own study w i l l be structured about this same distinction and we shall usually make use of Rioardou's terminology. Thus our f i r s t chapter w i l l be entitled "Narrative 1* and our second, "Aspects of the Fiction." One of the most important features of Sarraute's work i s the decline of the role of f i c t i o n . To a large extent plot or story, character, time and place have become functions of the narrative, very much i n the manner described by Rousset i n his introduction to Forme et Signification, i n which his main thesis i s that the form, or structure, i t s e l f generates meaning. "C'est l'oeuvre, c'est l a structure de l'oeuvre qui est inventrice: 'une forme est feconde en i d l e s ' . " 1 1 Sarraute herself has expressed this todorov, "Les Categories du Recit L i t t e r a i r e , " pp. 125-26. 1 0Jean Eicardou, Problemes du Nouveau Roman (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1967), p. 11. •^Rousset, Forme et Signification, p. v i i . 6 i n a number of c r i t i c a l essays, especially i n relation to her discussion of plot and character. 1 2 Perhaps we should not take Sarraute's writings about literature too u n c r i t i c a l l y but see them rather as polemical introductions to her works. However, i n this case, her judgment seems to be substantiated f i r s t l y by a reading of her f i c -tional works and secondly by other c r i t i c s . Wayne Booth, in his only reference to Sarraute i n a footnote to his work The Rhetoric of  Fiction, 1'* places her at the limit of f i c t i o n . "Nihilism" i s the word that Booth applies to a novel which might be written without illumination and resolution. While maintaining that there i s an implied author i n Sarraute's works, he nevertheless feels that her particular employment of the multiple point of view leads her to the verge of nihilism where nothing can be ascertained or stated with certainty. In a work of this kind not only could the narrator and reader move together through the unanswered questions as they arise, but presumably the implied author would move with them; no one could be wiser for having read the book. The author of such a work must leave the action unresolved: any resolution would imply a standard of values i n relation to which one situation would be more f i n a l than another. Only an unresolved sense of meaningless continuation could do Justice to a f u l l nihilism of this kind. 14 Bearing i n mind this 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 shall discuss f i r s t the point of view. Above a l l , we shall examine the relative roles and the relationship of author, reader, and 1 23ee, for example, Nathalie Sarraute, "L'Bre du Soupcon," L'Bre du Soupcon (Paris: Gallimard, 1956), pp. 55-77. •'•^ Wayne C. Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction, University of Chicago Press, 1961. 1 4 I b i d . , p. 297. 7 character. The primary place of the narrative point of view is indicated, for i t i s the vision which directs and determines the disposing of the various elements of the text. Proust probably used the word "style" i n the broadest sense of l i t e r a r y invention when he said "le style est une question non de technique, mais de vision." The narrative structure evolves naturally, from the point of view. It i s this structure which provides the basic pattern of the work. Comprehending a l l i t s elements, i t sets them in a certain rhythmical order, which becomes what might be called the law or the fate of the f i c t i o n a l world created. In Les Fruits d'Or we shall concentrate our attention upon the "tropism," the term that Sarraute has used to describe the underlying rhythm of her own works. "Style"is the third subsection of this chapter, and i n i t we shall observe the movements of the narrative at the level of sentence and word. The same vision which determines the total struc-ture of the work accounts for the structure of the sentence and the language. The point i s made by Spitzer: L*esprit d'un auteur est une sorte de systems solaire dans 1'.orbits duquel toutes les choses sont attirees: l e langage, l 1 i n t r i g u e , etc., ne sont que des sa t e l l i t e s de cette entite, 1 'esprit de l'auteur.^-5 In examining the style, we shall attempt, then, to set our study i n the context of our previous discussions. We shall look above a l l at the various devices that are used to imitate speech, the struggle to express oneself, and the variation i n expression between thought or "'•-'Leo Spitzer; quoted by Pierre Guirard (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1963), p. 73. 8 sensation and speech. In chapter 3* "Aspects of the Fiction," we turn to the f i c t i o n , to the "what1* of the book. Roland Barthes distinguishes beneath the 16 narrative two other levels of the "recit": "fonction," and "action." These could be broadly translated as plot and character. Related to these levels are time and space, the former being closely linked to the progress of the plot, while the l a t t e r can pertain to either l e v e l . In our discussion of the f i c t i o n a l aspects of the work we shall be con-stantly aware of the dominance of the narrative, of the process over the content, and the very deliberate effort made by Sarraute to de-emphasize what she sees as the distracting elements of the f i c t i o n . The plot, according to E. H. Falk,1''' is a "chain of coherent events i n sequential order." This distinguishes i t clearly from the narrative for, i f the narrative provides relationships of necessity, the elements of the plot are linked by probability, by conformity to everyday norms. The plot does not have a prominent place i n Les Fruits  d'Or, and the sequential movement reflects the dominant pattern of the narrative. Similarly, the character loses the primary position that he held i n "traditional novels." Roland Barthes places the character, the "action," above the level of f i c t i o n , and both he and Todorov use the word "agent" for the character. This is particularly appropriate for the nameless people of Sarraute*s world, i n which character and incident l^Roland Barthes, "Introduction a 1'Analyse Struoturale des Recits," Communications, T i l l (Paris: Centre d'Etudesde Communication de Masse, 1966), pp. 1-27. ^Eugene H. Falk, Types of Thematic Structure (University of Chicago Press, 196?). are so closely identified. Two other aspects of the f i c t i o n reveal clearly the predominance of narration over f i c t i o n . Fictional space and time are remarkable by their almost complete absence. They have been reduced and encircled by the vast expansion of the time and space of the narrative. Another approach to the content of a work is through i t s themes, and we shall examine three themes i n chapter 4» Thematic Structure.'* Of central importance i n the structure of Les Fruits d'Or i s the "mise en abime." The juxtaposition and riva l r y of the books creates a complex pattern of meaning, and this we shall i l l u s t r a t e by means of the themes of "Art,1* of "Appearance and Reality," and of "Individual and Society." We shall 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 last , l a Nausea, he finds l i t t l e story and his analysis i s therefore based on the coherence of the themes of the plot. In his brief conclusion he outlines the approach to works l i k e l a Nausea, of which we might consider Les Fruits  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 shall discuss the t i t l e , for i t i s either a catalyst or reflector of the work as a whole. Les Fruits  d'Or are the f i r s t words of the book that we read and w i l l inevitably 1 8Jean-Paul Sartre, l a Nausea (Paris: Gallimard, 1938). ^ F a l k , Types of Thematic Structure, p. 178. 10 raise questions and expectations. Some of these we shall try to make exp l i c i t , les Fruits d'Or can be a t i t l e l i k e Mme.Bovary or Eugenie  Grandet. I t i s a book whose ostensible subject, or even hero, is a book called "Les Fruits d'Or." But there i s an opacity and an ambiguity about this t i t l e , for i t i s not obviously a name, and the words conjure up a number of different images. There i s the immediate suggestion of classical myth with the golden apples taken by Hercules from the garden of the Hesperides; there i s Jason's Golden Fleece; there is the apple offered by Paris to Aphrodite, and H. M. Alberes 20 links the golden f r u i t to the punishment of Tantalus. Each of these associations contains the concept of the "ideal," the quest for a distant goal* Gold usually has this connotation, and i t i s used i n this way i n the text when there i s a reference to "les nombres d'or.* 2 1 The opposite interpretation i s also possible. Gold can be thought of as money, and we could liken golden f r u i t to the golden calf of the wandering Israelites, finding i n i t the idea of the false or the a r t i f i c i a l . This interpretation 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 illusory, and we know that Sarraute i s keenly interested i n "trampe-l'oeil." 2 2 The quest f o r an ideal and the conflict between the real and the false emerge as the main suggestions of the t i t l e , Les Fruits d'Or. 2 0R. M. Alberes, Le Roman d'AuJourd'hui (Paris: Editions Albin Michel, 1970), p. 219. ^Nathalie Sarraute, Les Fruits d'Or (Paris: Gallimard, 1963), p. 62. 2 2See below, p. 98, for a discussion of "trompe-l'oeil" and the source of the t i t l e , Les Fruits d'Or. 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 this seems to be very far removed from the quest and the conflict of appearance and reality, but the organism i s i n a constant state of conflict with i t s environment, for the perfect harmony which i t seeks, the ideal, can be realized only i n a statio condition, which, by definition, cannot exist where there Is l i f e , for l i f e i s movement* I NARRATIVE —Oh ecoute, tu es te r r i b l e , tu pourrais faire un effort. . • j'etais horriblement genee. . • ---Genee? Qu'est-ee que tu vas encore chercher? Pourquoi genee, mon Dieu? — C ' e t a i t terrible quand i l a sorti cette carte postale. * • l a reproduction. . . 23 The i n i t i a l impression of Les Fruits 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 for us to follow. At the beginning of the book there i s no situation of the action, no description of the characters, nothing which we can grasp or which w i l l help us to identify 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 slightest inflections, as well as of the least gesture which w i l l i n d i -cate states of mind and relationships. I t becomes clearer, as we read further, that the subject of the conversation i s a previous conversation with a third person and that this, 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. II ne s'agit pas de ca. J'ai essaye de les voir, les fameux Courbet, j'y suis 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'escalier. . .24 23sarraute, Les Fruits d'Or, p. 7, / % b i d . , p. 11. 12 13 Courbet, as a subject, i s dismissed, just as are "Les Fruits 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 vehicle for the true focus of attention, which is the relationships between people, and between people and objects* We become conscious of a constant interplay of differing points of view, a process of action and reaction which may be expressed i n discussion or argument but, more frequently, i s seen as a conflict within the mind of one character or another. The manner i n which the reactions and relationships are perceived is crucial to 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 beautiful infatuation this always, I think, the intensity of the creative effort to get into the skin of the creature.--Henry James. The most notable feature of the point of view in Les Fruits d'Or i s the dominant role given to the characters. Beyond the words and thoughts of the characters nothing exists. The other and the object are perceived through the eyes or imagination of the people who inhabit this world that Sarraute has created. Such a point of view does not represent a complete break with the past, for previous writers, notably Virginia Woolf, have employed the same technique. It i s to be noted that this 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 linked essentially to the content 14 of the work. To see the irorld solely through the eyes of the charac-ters i s to see a world different from that described by means of the interventions of author or narrator. Northrop Frye, i n his theory of Modes,2^ has described an historical sequence which evolves from the divine, in early mythology, to the ironic, at the present time. This shift i n the conception of the hero i n literature i s closely related to that found by Friedman i n his "stages" of narrative point of view. 0 At one end of the continuum he sets "editorial omniscience," at the other the "dramatic mode** in which, of course, the author is invisible and the observer is aware only of the characters. While Friedman's continuum l i e s between non-fictional or discursive writing and drama, i t i s not d i f f i c u l t to place i t i n an his 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. Similarly, the later modes of "low mimesis" and "irony" would be associated with "Selective" or "Multiple Selective 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 his environment, i s directly associated with the form i n which that content is both perceived and presented. The r e a l i t y that Sarraute seeks is not that of the classical Greek hero nor even that of the bourgeois realists of the nineteenth century. It i s the r e a l i t y of the world of the middle of the twentieth 25Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (New York: Atheneum, 1966), pp. 3>67. 2^Norman Friedman, "Point of View in Fi c t i o n : The Development of a C r i t i c a l Concept," PMLA. LXX (Deo. 1955), 1160-84. 15 century, a rea l i t y that has been transformed by sci e n t i f i c and techno-logical change, but also—and this i s more important for our study— i n the eyes of Sarraute, i t has been transformed by the vision of the novelists, Dostoevsky, Proust and Joyce, as well as by the discoveries of Freud and by existentialism. Like Virginia Woolf, 2? she wishes to plumb "les endroits obscurs de l a psychologic" and she has clear 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 "traditional" novelist. In L'Ere du Soupcon, she introduces the question of the point of view during her attack on the obsolete formulae used for indicating 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 nettetl l a nouvelle et l'ancienne conception du roman. EL les marquent l a place a laquelle l e romancier a toujours situs ses personhages: en un point aussi eloignl de lui-meme que des lecteurs; a l a place ou se trouvent les joueurs d'un match de tennis, l e romancier etant a celle de l'arbitre juche" sur son siege, surveillant l e jeu et annoncant . les points aux spectateurs (en l'occurrence les lecteurs), installes sur les gradins.29 The image of the tennis match enables us to see more clearly, by con-trast with the point of view that she discerns i n the "traditional" novel, the relationship that she herself has established between author, reader, and character. 27The similarities i n the preoccupations of Sarraute and Woolf is astonishing. An essay of Woolf »s l i k e "Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown" is so close i n content and style to one of Sarraute's that one could . readily believe they were written by the same pen. In each the gently sarcastic tone i s interspersed with sudden passages of bi t t e r attack on the phenomenological obsessions of the "traditional" school. 28 Sartre did not write the Preface to Portrait 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 his 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." In the sense that she selects and arranges every element i n the work, she is no different from any other writer. 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 to a position i n which, l i k e the dramatist, she is invisible to the reader. She never intervenes i n the action either i n the form of a direct address to her reader, or even through a narrator. There is no "implied author," to use the terminology of 30 Wayne Booth, J nor is i t possible to indicate with absolute assurance 31 what Todorov calls the appreciative point of view, for Sarraute*s own point of vie?/ in Les Fruits 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 insistently, 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 this voice has been heard earlier i n similar, less persistent voices. Collectively, i t i s a voice which speaks in terms of immediate and personal sensation, of a natural or organic response to what i s beautiful. M. Tison Braun i n her study, Nathalie  Sarraute ou l a Recherche de l'Authentioite,^ 2 identifies this voice as that of Sarraute, a view that can be supported by reference to the authoress's c r i t i c a l writing. But the text alone gives us no reason to believe this voice rather than another, since no indication i s provided 30Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiotion. 3*Todorov, Les Categories du Roc i t L i t t e r a i r e, p. 1^6. ^T . i s o n Br.aun, Nathalie Sarraute ou l a Recherche de l'Authen- t i c U S (Paris: Gallimard, 1971). \ 17 by the authoress.^ indeed, the language associated with authenticity, that of the imperceptible vibration and the unseen potential, i s used by people whose evidence i s clearly unreliable. 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 fort , je suis integre et franc" (p. 38). Yet this same character i s able to transform himself, Proteus-like, into the obsequious and attentive host or the arrogant master who banishes the servants to the pantry. In Section 4, a woman suddenly reverses her opinion of "Les Fruits d'Or" for the very dubious reason that the man she idolizes, 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 jamais—. . . " ^ The role of the authoress has been diminished, and she has concealed herself behind her characters. At the same time, the reader's part has grown i n importance. No longer occupying the stand for spectators, he i s expected to make his own judgments of the game, although his view of i t and his understanding of the rules are limited. From his former position of passive observation, the reader has been projected into an active participation i n the action and the incidents which take place before his eyes. This conforms to Sarraute*s view of can be claimed that, as last voice to be heard i n the book, this speaker has greater authority and that his admiration of Brehier i s l i k e l y to be authentic. But however true his own feelings may be, i f nobody listens to him, his personal authenticity is useless and perhaps meaningless. Neither he nor his opinions can survive i n isolation, and he inevitably returns to his society. Sarraute, Les Fruits d'Or, p. 58. 18 of the reader's role expressed i n L'Bre du Soupcon* The old lazy habits of reading are over, banished by the scepticism of the age: Les loupes et les gilets rayes^ les caractlres et les intrigues pourraient continuer a varier a l ' i n f i n i sans reveler aujourd'hui autre chose qu'une re a l i t e dont chacun connalt, pour 1'avoir parcourue en tous sens, l a moindre parcelle* Au l i e u , comma au temps de Balzac, d'inciter l e lecteur a acceaer a une verite qui se conquiert de haute lutte, i l s sont une concession dangereuse a son penchant a l a paresse— et aussi a celui de l'auteur—a sa crainte du depaysement.35 The reader experiences the events simultaneously with the characters of the book, but this does not mean that he i s total l y identified with them in the way that is possible with the single person narrative of Portrait d'un Inconnu^and Martereau.^ 7 In the f i r s t place, the action i s never situated i n any clearly described environment, so we must suppose that the reader i s privy to only certain selected areas of the characters' consciousness. Secondly, the reader has access to a number of different consciousnesses with the result that his attention i s directed away from the subject to the object, from the individual character to the society or world i n which the character i s immersed. It also results i n a greater demand for him to participate, that i s , to judge and evaluate what he has witnessed from a variety of viewpoints. And thirdly, the reader is not, i t seems, situated so much within the character as beside him or at his 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 transcription. II dit ce qu'il salt de 1'autre (entendons: ce qu'il •^Sarraute, L'Bre du Soupcon, p. 63* ^Sarraute, Portrait d'un Inconnu,(Paris: Gallimard, 1956). ^Sarraute, Martereau (Paris: Gallimard, 1953). 19 imagine), et i l l e dit non pas sous l a forme d'une analyse explicative ou d'une description objective, mais sous l a forme d*un discours pretS, a travers lequel se forme l e personnage de 1•autre,3° The effect of this i s f e l t i n the use of "je" and " i l * * or " e l l e " by the characters. I t is a nice distinction, but one which i s important to the point of view for 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 find elsewhere that the third person i s frequently used i n the expression of intimate feelings, while on other occasions the f i r s t and third persons both appear i n the same context. This i s , for instance, the case of the writer who feels himself to be replaced i n the estimation of the group by the meteoric rise of Brehier to popularity (Section 4). His f i r s t cry of apprehension i s i n the f i r s t person: "Cast moi, moi qui suis tou che, jete" a terre, moi que cette brute servile encore tout recemment encensait, moi devant qui e l l e se prosternait. 1*-^ Immediately afterwards, however, there i s a switch to the third person, though there i s no indication of a change of narrator and, indeed, there is no reason to 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 front, ses jambes mollissent, i l se sent p a l i r , i t defaille. . J/*0 Sarraute «s use of the f i r s t and third person pronouns well illustrates Roland Barthes's view that either can serve the purpose of personal narration. Nevertheless, the use of Bernard Pingaud, personnage dans Poeuvre de Nathalie Sarraute," Preuvea, CLIY ( 1 9 6 3 ) , p. 2 9 . ^Sarraute, Les Fruits d'Or, p. 80. 20 " i l " and "elle" does create a greater distance between the character and the reader. Already, in looking at the roles of authoress and reader, we have found ourselves discussing them in terms of the character, for i t is 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 in Les Fruits d'Or, is known through the mediation of the characters. But there is no one identifiable person whom we can isolate as reliable and against whose view we can measure incidents of the work. Sarraute is not using the technique of "selective omniscience,"41 as she did in her fi r s t two works, but that of Mult i p l e selective omniscience." Friedman's terminology, however, is not too appropriate in Sarraute's case because the characters are very far from omniscient. Each individual view which the reader shares is, indeed, severely limited and personal. The only sense in which the reader can be said to have omniscience is in 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 is a projection of the imagination of the two characters who speak. Frequently, we find two points of view i n a section and the narrative alternates between them. In other sections— e.g., Sections 3, 5, 13, 14—there i s only one voice, whether i t be a single person, such as Brehier i n Section 3 or the collective voice of the group i n Section 13. On two occasions there is a multiplicity of points of view. This i s certainly the case in Section 4 i n which the narration moves from person to person i n the cir c l e gathered to discuss Les Fruits d'Or. In Section 7, despite the variety of views expressed, i t might be argued that they are a l l but minor variations on the single theme of Brehier's genius. One result of this use of the multiple narrator i s that re a l i t y loses i t s objectivity or, rather, that the object is now defined by the collection of subjective views. In her second novel, Martereau, Sarraute has given us an image of an apparently objectively existing personality, that of Martereau, breaking down into a number of component, and often conflicting, facets, each of which i s projected by a different character or reflected by a different situation. Le Planetarium^ 2 certainly contains objects; we can think of the door i n the apartment of "la tante Berthe," of the l i t t l e settee bought by Alain 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 different meanings according to the situation of the viewer. In Les Fruits d'Or the object i s nothing more than a projection of the subjective, an existence created by the consensus of subjective ^Nathalie Sarraute, Le Planetarium, Livres de Poche. (Paris: Gallimard, 1959). ' 22 views. The central object of the work, l e s Fruits d'Or," is never described and i s encountered only i n the judgments, often contradictory, passed on i t . It 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 It i s this subjective presentation of reality that accounts for the confusion of the reader, which we noted at the beginning of this chapter. Reality 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 find his own way through the con-f l i c t i n g testimony of the character-narrators. Sarraute has, by her i absence, by her rejection of traditional omniscience, condemned her characters and readers to a reality without absolutes. The lack of the type of manipulation of character of which Sartre accuses Mauriac^3 means the loss of an absolute referrant. 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 interacting that takes place between people and their environments. The similarity between the points of view adopted by Sarraute and Virginia Woolf reflects the similarity of the matter that both are seeking to uncover; ". . • l e t us trace the pattern, however disconnected 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 Liberte," NRF, f l v r i e r , 1939. LL ^ Woolf, "Modern Fiction," i n Collected Essays, II (London: The Hogarth Press, 1968), 10?. 23 the observer sufficiently close to the character to be able to sense and record them. For Sarraute the point of view as "second conscience"^ arose naturally from a perception of reality which conformed to the pattern of the tropism. The Narrative Structure A consequenoe of the concentration of the point of view upon -process rather than oontent is the increased role played by the narrative structure i n the text. Participating 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 linear pro-gression of incidents advancing l o g i c a l l y from cause to effect, but one of reactions and responses clustering about an action which acts upon them i n the manner of an irr i t a n t or catalyst. To this pattern Sarraute gave the name "tropism," and her f i r s t book was a collection of short narratives, not stories, appropriately entitled Tropiames. Roland Barthes, in his a r t i c l e "Introduction a l'analyse struc-turale des r e o i t s , " ^ 0 offers a model which w i l l assist us in analysing the structure of the tropism. Breaking down the narrative into elements, which he ca l l s "unites," he divides them into "noyaux," or those elements which, operating horizontally, carry the action forward, and those which, lying between the "noyaux" and gathering about them, 45ln an interview with Pierre Schneider (". . . and the Novelist as Transmuter: Nathalie Sarraute talks about her Art," 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 significant not at the level of the story but at the higher levels of "action" (character) and "narration." Applying Barthes' analysis, we find that i n Les Fruits d'Or there are few "noyaux" or, i n other words, the moments of action are widely interspersed. The main body of the text i s given to the expansion of those elements unrelated to the progress of the story. The narrative i s extended at the expense of the f i c t i o n ; the tropism not the story holds our attention. The tropism i s , as we stated at the beginning of this study, fundamental to Sarraute's vision. "What counts, always, i s those move-ments, those hidden dramatic actions, those tropisms."47 what we observe throughout her works is the interaction of the human organism with the environment provided by i t s society. But there i s , i n the very choice of a biological 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 isolated or individual phenomenon but operates equally on a l l people. I f the response is not always identical, people are subject to the same influences and forces, so that i t i s possible to perceive common patterns of action. The basic narrative structure of Les Fruits d'Or is the tropism. We can see the work, as a whole, as a series of responses to the basic stimulus which is 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 to abstract the narrative from its spatio-temporal setting, we should find a circular in Sarraute; quoted by P. Sehneider, ". . . Novelist as Transmuter," p. 36. 25 structure i n which, with the book as central focus, the reactions to i t would revolve about i t i n a ceaseless and circular argument for and against. Time and space, however, introduce the aspect of linear or horizontal movement, so that the c i r c l e i s broken and i s transformed into the cycle with i t s pattern of rise and f a l l . In the cycle, of course, arguments for and against l e s Fruits 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 to 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 isolated from other stimuli similar to that provided by "Les Fruits d'Or.1* At the beginning of the book the object to which the interlocutors react i s the work of Courbet, and Brahier's name emerges, as i f accidentally, into the ongoing rhythm of the Courbet c y c l e . ^ We hear, too, of the fate of earlier objects of l i t e r a r y adulation, of Robert Hunier whose popularity has waned with the ri s i n g of Brehier's sun.^ At the end of the book another vogue is incipient. Brehier*s experience i s not unique, but typical of an endless series of identical vogues that have preceded and w i l l succeed i t . One character, i n Section 10, voices the question that has arisen with ever greater persistence i n the mind of the reader: is not d i f f i c u l t to find a deliberate pun i n the name Courbet when i t i s connected with expressions such as: "II est tordant w (p. 8), and WI1 se courbe en arc de cercle" (p. 13). It may not be too.fanciful to l i n k the name to the cycl i c a l movement of the vogues. ^Sarraute, Les Fruits d'Or, pp. 79-82. 26 . . . eh. bien, comment se f a i t - i l qu'a tout moment on assists a oes extraordinaires revirements sans que personne paraisse s'en e*tonner, sans que personne s'en preoccupe. . . c'est camine des hallucinations collectives, ces enormes engouements sans qu'on sache tres 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 Fruits d'Or." Brehier's book i s no more than one catalyst i n an endless series, each of which provides the i n i t i a l impetus to release a complex process of human interaction. It i s essential to this structure that "Les Fruits d'Or" should be no more than an apparent object, a central transparency through which we can perceive the adaptation of the characters involved inextricably i n a situation i n which they, tentatively and fearfully, weigh the alternatives of opposition and submission to their society. What we sense behind the Brohier case i s the dialectic between the ind i -vidual being and his environment, the tropism as image of the human condition. We can see this pattern more clearly as we dissect the structure of the work. Les Fruits d'Or i s divided into fourteen sections, which correspond to the traditional chapter of the novel. Each of these sections represents a total movement, the focus of which i s not Brehier's book but statements or feelings about i t . The fourteen sections, i n their turn, are usually divided into two or more episodes. What emerges is a complex pattern of tropism within tropism, not arranged concentrically, but linked one to the other by the formal device of the plot. 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 participants. Column 4 shows us the stimulus or trigger which releases the action. In column 5 there i s an indication of the nature of the action, while column 6 presents the basic pattern of opposition or confl i c t . T A B L E 1 ANALYSIS OF THE PATTERN OF ACTION OF THE FOURTEEN SECTIONS (#) Col 1 Col 2 Col 3 Column 4 Column 5 Column 6 Sec-tion f Number of People Nature of Parts Stimulus Action Conflict 1 3 a) 11 1 b) E l l e 1 c) I l 2 Action - l a main dans l a poche Discussion of pre-vious conversation Accommodation with others vs Rejection of others. 2 3 a) I l 2 b) Brull c) E l l e 1 Action - l a longue tete s 1 i n c l i n e Desire to join the e l i t e vs desire to be one of the mass. 3 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 taste. 4 Many a) C r i t i c s b) People Words - 1'article de B r i l l Rise of Popularity of "Lea Fruits d'Or" Submission to views of leaders vs resistance to them. 5 3 a) Narra-tor b) Orthil c) Woman of people Words - l a r i a l i t 1 Story of inspired monologue by Orthil Reality vs Illusion. 6 Many a) ELle 2 b) Group c) Metto-t a l Words - statement by Mettetal Challenge to Mettetal + results Truth vs conformity 28 Table 1 (Continued) Col 1 Col 2 Col 3 Column 4 Column 5 Column 6 Sec-tion Number of People Nature of parts Stimulus Action Conflict 7 Many a) Group b) Indivi-dual (Luc. Jean-P.) SacrS bouquin - words Climax of the cult Group solidar-i t y vs i n d i v i -dual integrity. 8 2 a) Paysan b) I l 3 Words - "Les Fruits d'Or" ne vaut rien Discussion of "Les Fruits d'Or" and of other writers F i d e l i t y to group vs desire for harmony with others. 9 Many a) Parrot - c r i t i c b) Group Action -Faiblesse/ generosite de Parrot Parrot f a i l s to prove greatness of "Les Fruits d'Or" Esoteric i n d i -vidual vs sceptical group. 10 2 a) I l 4 b) Subjac-tiv i s t philo-sopher Action - ces extraordinaires revirements Discussion of changes i n taste Desire for certainty vs subjectivism. 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 Fruits d'Or" sont des sots Reactions to Brehier of i n d i -vidual + group Spontaneous individual judgment vs group assess-ment. 13 Many a) Brehier b) Group Words - genera-tion spontanea Group judges + categorizes authors Individual spontaneous creation vs classification by popular taste. 1 a ) I l 6 Action - ignor-ance or for-getting of Brehier Reflection on what to do about admiration of Brahier Preservation of integrity of belief vs need to communicate. 29 It can be seen from this table that, despite the differences i n action (Column 5), and i n the numbers of characters involved i n each section, there appear striking similarities. In column 3 we find the nature of the participants. If, i n a majority of cases, this corresponds to the figure i n column 2, there are nevertheless several marked differences for, 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 half the sections a large number of people (counting members of the group as separate individuals) participates, but the role that each plays is determined by this basic relationship of individual to group. Thus we find, i n column 6, that there l i e s , beneath the varied action of each section, a conflict reflecting this dialeotic. At times the aesthetic nature of the action appears far removed from this basic social dynamic, but the most esoteric of topics is represented by a situation i n which a solitary person finds himself, or herself, at odds with the collective opinion of the others. In Section 1, f o r example, no group enters the action, but the female voice expresses the desire to find accommodation with others while the male consistently advocates a doctrinaire individualism, which amounts to a scepticism of any view held by popular consent. The alteroation between these two effectively introduces the conflict that is pursued throughout the book. In another case, Section 3, the character, Brule", is alone, but i t i s clear 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 conflict. There are several occasions 30 on which the individual, out of harmony with the group, desires to 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 -duality 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 indefinitely 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 action of the book is caused by the appearance on the l i t e r a r y scene of "Les Fruits 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 conflict which, throughout the tropism, seeks i t s resolu-tion and i s f i n a l l y s t i l l e d or suppressed only to 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 intolerable conflict i n the mind of a woman listener. The effect of the statement i s described by the woman as nun coup de feu.'1 Oomme lorsqu'au milieu 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 description i s very similar to others occurring i n other 5 1 I b i d . , p. 119. 31 sections. In Section 1 the gesture of one man and the reaction of another are responsible for the woman's feeling "genee." The proclama-tion that B r i l l ' s a r t i c l e i s "de tout premier ordre. Parfait" (Section 4) releases the forces of order upon the rebel masses. Each section dis-plays at least one such stimulus and in some there are several examples. Following the i n i t i a l shock comes the conflict which, i n Section 6, is between Mettetal's statement and evidence to the contrary that the woman has seen with her own eyes. Certainty that Mettetal has l i e d alternates with doubts. Her resolution to reveal the l i e i s swiftly followed by her desire to conform to 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 action. Evidently, the struggle between the forces of individualism and those of conformism is very b i t t e r : "II faut absolument que cesse ce scandals, cette lutte qui l a dechire."^2 However internal the struggle appears to be, the pattern revealed i s that of the constant confrontation of individual and group, for the individual has internalized the controls exerted by the society. The woman, because of her social conditioning, doubteher own eyes, i s prepared to conform, and is afraid. Her fears are borne out for when, unable to restrain herself any longer, she f i n a l l y accuses Mettetal of lying, the group turns upon her and expels her. On this occasion the conflict i s resolved by the expulsion of the individual organism that could not adapt to 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 familiar sequence of stimulus, adaptation of conflict, resolution. The following table analyzes the episodes of Section 4 using the same format as that employed in the previous table, with the addition of another column, Column 0, whose 53 purpose we shall discuss later. T A B L E 2 ANALYSIS OF THE PATTERN OF ACTION OF THE EPISODES IN SECTION 4 Col 0 Col 1 Col 2 Column 3 Column 4 Column 5 Column 6 Grp Epi sode Nos. Nature of Participants Stimulus Action Conflict A 1 1 a) C r i t i c & •honnetes gens' b) Rabble Words-de tout premier ordre. Parfait Imposition of Authority Suppression of Rabble Authority vs populism B 2 1 a) Dr. Legris b) Time Action-L'article de Brule Comparison of "Les Fruits d'Or" with classics Old vs New 3 1 a )Elle&Lucien b) People Words: un vrai miracle Encouraging Lucien to speak Belief 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 beau l i v r e Shock at Luclen's remarks Her beliefs vs Luclen's statement. 5 1 a) E l l e b) People Words: un tres beau l i v r e Submission Belief i n Lucien vs attraction of popular taste. 6 1 a) Ella-Lucien b) People Action-souffle tiede Rejoins Lucien and c r i t i c s Esoteric vs popular taste. C 7 1 a) Maroel b) E l l e Action-di s l i k e of "E l l e " Affirmation of creativeness of "Les Fruits d'Or" De3ire for membership i n e l i t e of critics vs dislike of popular taste. S Many (1) a) C r i t i o s -Marcel b) E l l e s Word3-n l e geste" "Elles" seize upon this cer-tainty Insecurity vs statement of certain view. 3^see below, p. 35, footnote 54. Table 2 (Continued) 33 Col 0 Col 1 Col 2 Column 3 Column 4 Column 5 Column 6 G-rp Epi soda Nos. Nature of Stimulus Action . Conflict Participants C 9 1 a) E l l e b) Marcel Words-"le geste" Shock at and rejection of Marcel's view Fiction vs reality 10 1 a) Mareel b) £lle Words-la fausse verite* des romans Refutation it 11 Many (1) a) E l l e s -People b) E l l e s -Aspiring to e l i t e Words-la fausse verite des romans Brief flurry of scepticism amongst "elles" Desire for proof vs readiness to submit to authority. 12 1 a) Henri b) Marcel Words-le geste Refuting Marcel Justice vs Fraud 13 1 a) Henri 1 b) Henri 2 n Inability to say what he wants Intention vs Act 14 Many (2) a) Henri b) C r i t i c s Words-"geste banal" Repression of Henri Authority vs Dissent D 15 Many (2) a) I l s -C r i t i c s b) Jean L. Action-emana-tions invisibles Jean L. i s Challenged Authority vs Dissent 16 Many (1) a) Jean L. b) C r i t i c s -judges Words-J.L.n'aime pas du tout "Les Fruits d'Or*'. Jean L. at bay Group intoler-ance vs indivi-dual opinions 17 Many (2) a) C r i t i c s b) Jean L. Words-je 1*aimerai Submission of Jean L. » E 18 Many (1) a) C r i t i c b) Previously acclaimed authors Wbrds-le mailleur l i v r e F a l l of pre-viously acolalmed authors Fear of group vs desire for admiration. 19 1 a) Nous-le menu peuple b) The leaders Actions-changing order Keeping the status quo Fear of events vs sense of helplessness. F 20 1 a) E l l e b) C r i t i c s Words-"le meilleur l i v r e " Refusal to accept the judgment Authority vs reason 21 Many (1) a) Ils-group b) Leaders Words-"Le l i v r e en main" Plea for enlightenment Sense of inadequacy vs belief i n ideal cer-tainty. Table 2 (Continued) 34 Col 0 Col 1 Col 2 Column 3 Column 4 Column 5 Column 6 Grp Epi sode Nos. Nature of Stimulus Action Conflict Participants F 22 Many (1) a) Group b) Leaders Action-Possibi-l i t y of enlightenment Dream of group as com-manding knowledge Sense of inadequacy vs envy. 23 Many (1) a) Leaders b) Group Aotion-Poten-t i a l l y unified action of group Nothing happens What might have happened vs what occurred' G 24 2 (1) a) Group b) Les 2 pairs Words-Le l i v r e en main The great c r i t i c s speak The promise vs the outcome. 25 Many (1) a) Group Words-Pronounce-ment of C r i t i c s D i s i l l u s i o n -ment Hope vs real i t y . 26 1 a) Moi b) Leaders Words-Pronounce-ment of C r i t i c s Exhilaration at words Own ignorance vs the wisdom of leaders. 27 1 a) 11 b) Leaders it Attack on role and privilege of c r i t i c s False appear-ance of work vs rea l i t y beneath. 28 1 a) I l b) E l l e Action-Need for another Finding kin-dred 3pirit Own weakness vs her apparent strength. 29 2 a) I l b) E l l e n Struggle to preserve his belief i n her Appearance 1 vs Appearance 2 E 30 1 a) I l b) 2 Pairs Words-Ha ha! Stigmatizing of i n d i v i -dual Conformism vs Individuality. By comparing this table with that presented above (pp. 27-28), we are struck by the overall similarity of pattern. There i s , however, a notable difference. Column 2 indicates that i n the majority of cases there i s only one participant i n each episode. In several cases, after "Many" we have written the numbers 1 or 2 i n parentheses. If we see the group as plural, then there are often numerous participants i n the 35 action. If, however, the group, either of people or of c r i t i c s , i s seen as a collective, then i t i s to be regarded as one participant. The significance of this change in column 2 i s that the conflict which we have noted between the group and the individual has, at the level of the episode, become internalized. The nature of the struggle has not changed, but now we see the individual at war with himself, divided by pressures of conformity and integrity. The structure of the work that emerges from this analysis i s that of several levels of tropism operating within one another. There are, generally speaking, three levels: the book as a whole, the section, and the e p i s o d e . T h e tropism has two basic rhythms: that of circularity and that of alternation or conflict. Thus, at whatever level , the tropism might be visualized as a circular form, and the internal conflict 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 for a l l , a l l l i t e r a r y debate, the eternal movement of the tropism is threatened. Group solidarity i s tota l ; time must have a stop. At this moment Jean-Pierre i s refused entry into the group. The plot provides no cause, and the most l i k e l y reason for this event i s that the movement of the narrative has imposed i t s e l f upon the logical progression of the plot. If no further advance i s possible, then there must be retreat. The movement of the tropism, which, we have seen, operates at a l l levels of the structure, i s a law the long Section 4, however, another level i s added. The episodic tropisms f a l l readily into groups associated by common stimulus, action, and conflict. 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 capital letters i n Column 0 indicate the eight groups into 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 internal movement through the movement of the sentences.—Nathalie Sarraute.55 The same vision that determines the structure of a work also creates i t s style. Indeed, i n the case of Sarraute, i t is d i f f i c u l t to distinguish between the two, for a typical 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 differentiate between structure and style but, following the example of the authoress, shall rather look at some of the features of the writing which Sarraute has used to express her view of the world, and which give her work i t s unique quality. In her cr i t i c i s m of other writers, Sarraute often takes as her point of departure the style. This i s true of her ar t i c l e on Yalirj^ as well as of that entitled "Flaubert l e Precurseur."5^ In this 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 rea l i t y , that the sentences by their very perfection imprison their content. Even time is 'boucle a t r i p l e tour'. Such a style would quite evidently be unsuitable for the tropism. What we shall expect to find 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 University Press, 1965), pp. 812-13, has d i f f i c u l t y i n distinguishing between structure and style. He f i n a l l y proposes his own solution along the lines 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%athalie Sarraute, "Flaubert l e Precurseur," Preuves, fevrier, 1965. 37 maximum amount of freedom to the ineffable psychological movements. Les Fruits 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 related as i t occurred, and that at no point were we able to with-draw from the arena and review the action i n a broader perspective of time and space. A minimum of distanciation i n the point of view means _ that the narrator has to use the present. The point i s made by Gerda Zeltner: La perte de l a distanciation epique est s i totals, qu'il tl© narrateur] ne peut employer d'autre formula^verbale que cells qui supprime l'ecart temporel entre l'evenement et sa narration: 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 oblivion, i s a key feature of Sarraute's style. She is enabled, by i t s use, to explore the twi3ts and turns of the characters seeking to accommodate themselves to a constantly changing environment. The text of Les Fruits d'Or i s a continuous dialogue between character and character, or within the character himself. It i s built of words which are spoken by somebody, and to somebody. Usually i t i s clear who is speaking, and to whom, even i f the dialogue i s internalized. On some occasions, however, i t is not so apparent. At the beginning of Section 4 the f i r s t episode, which sets the scene for the whole section, i s narrated by some unknown character. Yet i t is not the conventional narration addressed to the reader, for i t i s a highly partisan attack ^ 59Gerda Zeltner, La Grande Aventure du Roman Francais au SCe  Siecle (Paris: Eds. Gonthier, 1967), p. 165. 38 upon n l e s fortes tetes, vous tous la-bas." "Nous sommes delivres," on the next page, t e l l s us that the speaker is i n the camp of "les honnetes gens." It i s , then, an example of internal dialogue between a righteous self, participating i n the action, and a projected enemy. It may be more d i f f i c u l t to decide to whom the words are addressed. Brule, alone i n his study, appears to be speaking to him-self, but his audience i s , of course, the public that w i l l read and admire his resounding phrases. The solitary character of Section 14 addresses himself to that select few who s t i l l admire, or w i l l admire, "Les Fruits d»Or." Because i t i s dialogue, the style imitates speech. Only rarely do we find a passage of self-conscious l i t e r a r y prose. Such a passage is found on occasions when an attempt is being made to create an impression on an audience, real or imagined. Thus Brule again provides an example, as does the man responsible for the image of the palace, and also Orthil. Generally, however, we are listening to people struggling with the expression of thought. It i s this that accounts for the staccato and apparently unsequential texture of much of the book. Sentences may be short or long, but the words are usually clustered i n small groups, which are divided by Sarraute*s own style of punctuation. The main intervals she uses are the full-stop, the comma, and the three dots. Brigid Brophy has spoken of the breathless quality of Sarraute*s work.^0 This i s a misinterpretation, I f e e l , for ^ B r i g i d Brophy, "Halfway to a Happening," New Statesman, August 6, 1965, P. 187. what is conveyed i s the jerky nature of thought, which this style 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 conclusion—the type of prose that Sarraute finds i n Flaubert—thoughts or feelings flash into the mind related not only by logic, but by similarity of sound or visual expression. We see minds working l a t e r a l l y as well as vertically. A device that w i l l i l l u s t r a t e this feature i s Sarraute*s use of repetition. We can choose almost any passage i n the book to 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 table we l i s t thirteen repetitions that we have found i n the text. T A B L 2 3 REPETITIONS; pp. 106-107 1. a. i l ne l'avait pas r©marquee b. elle se.tient s i effaces c. toujours un peu a distance 2. a. rien de louche. . . n'affleure 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 . trouver sana effort b. etre amende tout droit c. un mysterieux et sur instinct d. pigeons voyageurs 8. a . oiseatrc b. pigeons voyageurs 9. a . S l l e ne s'est pas laissee hypnotiser b. S l l e a tenu bon 10. a* Voyez, vous n'etes pas seul b. On se comprend 1 c. Nous ne sommes pas seuls d. d'autres que nous. . • chaque jour plus nombreux 11. a. Pourquoi vous agiter b. Pourquoi vous tourmenter c. A quoi bon. . . se presssr 12. a. rester indifferent b. laiss e r glisser c. laisser passer d. Q.u'importe e. 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 characters never seem to be satisfied with the simple expression of a thought but have to repeat i t i n another way. We shall note two different aspects of this s t y l i s t i c device. F i r s t l y , repetition denotes hesitancy or doubt. The thought or feeling to be conveyed i s not clear and has to be savoured, as though the character were trying to conjure i t with the perfect verbal symbol. A l l our examples betray the characteristic of language seeking i t s objeot. It i s here that Sartre's comment on Sarraute's style i s most applicable. u Le meilleur de Nathalie Sarraute, c'est son style trebuchant, tatonnant, s i honnete, s i plein de repentir, qui approche de l'objet avec des precautions pieuses, s'en ecarte soudain par une sorte de pudeur ou par timidite devant l a complexity des choses et qui, 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. 0 1 The sentences turn back on themselves as though constantly seeking reassurance while they tortuously pursue an object not clearly 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 this sense of insecurity. Each adds l i t t l e to the meaning of i t s predecessor, but, for some reason, the narrator has to touch and retouch the sensation u n t i l satisfied he can move to new ground. A second aspect of repetition i s that of "gradation." The repeated words are not always precise similes, and the language i s , i n fact, following a sequence of thought that makes i t s e l f , by imperceptible steps, ever more precise. Our example 7 demonstrates this gradual evolution of thought from the i n i t i a l "trouver sans effort" to the image "pigeons voyageurs" which sums up the whole concept. The gradation can also follow a logical sequence through time as thought develops. Number 10 w i l l serve as an i l l u s t r a t i o n : with each step the thought i s advanced by slight but significant changes; "vous" becomes "on," then "nous," and f i n a l l y "d'autres—eux." Alternatively, there i s the move-ment of evolution which penetrates within the person, attempting to isolate and express the fundamental experience. Examples 2, 6 and 7 i l l u s t r a t e this type of gradation. Jean-Paul Sartre, "Preface," Portrait d'un Inconnu, p. 14. 42 Here, however, we have uncovered a fundamental paradox, for repetition can stem both from a distrust of language and from a desire for precision. It can reflect a fear of communicating with others and a search for that very communication. The paradox can be better under-stood when we realize that there are two levels of language that are usually sharply distinguished. Sarraute, elsewhere, has called these 62 two levels "sous conversation1* and "conversation." What distinguishes them i s the function of the words at each level for, i n the case of the former, the word is seeking to express an object, which is a sensation or experience, while i n the latt e r i t s aim is to convey a message to another person. The problem with which the style i s struggling i s that of trying to translate raw sensation into communication, a problem which i s faced equally by characters and by the authoress herself. At the level of "sous conversation," the sensation i s evoked, principally, by means of the images or, rather, by a series of images, for the total experience i s too complex for 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 to a fundamental feeling. . . . autour de ce nom, comme les brins de p a i l l e emmeles autour du pieu qui les rassemble et les soutient, les impressions, les 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 satisfaction et, surtout, de I'etonnement: . . ."3 62ijine Q B s a y bearing the t i t l e "Conversation et Sous-conversation" appears in L'Ere du Soupcon. In i t Sarraute explains the terms. Sarraute, Les Fruits d'Or, p. 120. 43 In this example the sensations have been reported in abstract language, "pitie*," "dedain," etc. Generally, however, the sensations pertaining to a particular experience are conveyed by means of images. Again, almost any page w i l l provide i t s example. We choose a short passage on pp. 7-8: "Face contre terre. . • Admirable. Regardez. . . ." The experience to be expressed i s that of scepticism before the adulation of a popular i d o l . The passage contains five images: A. Religious reverence. . . . . Face contre terre; extases; choeurs. B. Community or solidarity. . . au meme moment; choeurs; synehronisme. C. Flock of sheep belements. D. Disease and medicine . . . . comma l e medecin. . . l a legere eruption. E. Taste Gourmand; savourant. The effect of this imagery is to re-create for the reader the immediate experience, which cannot be satisfactorily conveyed by any abstract description such as that I have used above. In this respect, two features of Sarraute's style should be noted. F i r s t l y , the images are, almost invariably, easily accessible to any reader.^ There are few esoteric or erudite references; only the pompous c r i t i o s such as Marcel (pp. 5 8 - 6 8 ) with his l i t e r a r y and a r t i s t i c allusions tend to obscurity. The most common sources of imagery are military terms, expressions related to law and order, animals, and religion. Other frequent images are related to buildings and to royalty, and a great ^Fleming, i n his a r t i c l e , "The Imagery of Tropism i n the Novels of Nathalie Sarraute," remarks on the accessibility 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 readily. 44 deal of vocabulary is drawn from the contrast of hardness and softness. The ready accessibility of the imagery means that the reader i s able to draw as close as possible to the sensation to be conveyed. This brings us to the second aspect of the imagery, for Sarraute does not use her images for the purpose of s t y l i s t i c embellishment or for com-parison, but as the "objective correlative" of the sensation;0** they serve to translate experience directly. Tison Braun describes i t as preconscious thought: "C'est l a pensee meme en train d'eelore, l a matiere 'mentale' avant son elaboration—et sa deformation—par 1'intelligence." 0 0 These two aspects of the imagery are closely related to the narrative point of view for, since the reader participates with the characters i n the action, which i s largely interior, he cannot be distanced from the scene by the use of rhetorical 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 also be extended into passages of sustained metaphor l i k e that of the palace (PP. 95-106). In some cases a series of images continues for several episodes, clustering about some central catalyst. The images arising o 5"Objective correlative" i s a term coined by T. S. E l i o t . It appeared f i r s t i n an article entitled "Hamlet and his Problems" appearing i n The Sacred Wood (7th ed.; London: Methuen and Co. Ltd., I960), p. 100. The f i r s t edition 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 in the form of art i s by finding an !objective correlative'; in other words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion; such that when the external facts which must terminate i n sensory experience, are given the emotion is immediately evoked." Tison Braun, Recherche de 1'Authenticite, p. 22. 45 from the words "Cast tres beau," i n Section 9, i s one example. In 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 multi-plication Sarraute is able to evoke the complexity and dynamic of experience. At the level of."conversation" imagery i s rarely used. When i t does occur i t is at moments of excitement. Thus, i n Section 2, the character i s carried away by his passionate partisanship. Another excitable outburst is seen i n Section 10 where another character indulges i n a violent attack upon the inconstancies of human taste. By and large, however, imagery i s reserved for "sous conversation," for that level of being that i s concealed from others. The image betrays too much of a person, too much of his reality. "Conversation" i s , above a l l , a mask behind which the person can shelter, l i k e Brule who retires behind his words: "Derriere l'ecran protecteur des gestes, des mots. . . derriere l e mince rideau de fumee, tout ce qui en l u i , a l'arrivee de l'intrus avait f u i , . . . s'organise, rentre dans 67 l'ordre." With spoken dialogue, the word acquires a social s i g n i f i -cance for i t can unite or separate people.0** The word may be a weapon, 6 ?Sarraute, Le3 Fruits d'Or, p. 41. °%arraute notes, i n L'Ere du Soupcon, the use of the word as weapon. On page 103 we fin d : ". . . elles [les paroles] peuvent etre. . . l'arme quotidienne, insidieuse et tres efficaoe, d'innombrabies petits crimes." The c r i t i c , J-L. Jaccard adds to this 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 les etres, les uns aux autres." (J-L. Jaccard, Nathalie Sarraute [Zurich: Juris Druck Verlag, 1967], p. 23.) 46 69 as Sarraute states; i t s use is most certainly a risk, and the characters are keenly aware of th i s . The example of the woman (Section 6) who wants to c a l l Mettetal to task i s mo3t apposite. Before saying anything she carefully moderates her words and seleots her tone: . . . e l l e va rogner leurs angles, moucheter leurs pointes, bien les emmailloter: des grosses boules un peu molles qui vont l e bousculer gentiment, l e chatouiller, juste pour r i r e , bon gros r i r e , bonne grosse voix, elle fronce les sourcils et plisse les levres d*un a i r de feinte indignation.70 The great prudence of the woman t e s t i f i e s to the power of the word. The word has largely replaced the gesture and i t is the word, principally, that releases or triggers the action of Lea Fruits d'Or. In the arena of the "salle commune," the word creates and the word k i l l s . The words of Brfile started the vogue of "les Fruits d'Or"; the words of "le paysan" reversed the trend. The words of "les deux pairs'* provoke the long image of the palace and destroy the ambitions of the group to find the promised land. Finally, the solitary character hopes to revive the fortunes of Brehier by the use of the words **Et Les Fruits d^Or?** The te r r i f y i n g existential power of the word has an important consequence, which we can observe i n the quotation above. The fact that the word is an action, which inevitably produces i t s reaction, lead3 to the impoverishment of language at the level of speech. Aware of the danger of speaking, people try to say something utterly inoffensive and innocuous. Sartre has described the role of the "lieu commun** i n his preface to Portrait d'un Inconnu: 60 U 7See below, p. 53, for the use of the word "risque** by Barthes. 70 , ySarraute, Les Fruits d*0r, p. 122. 47 C'est l e regne du l i e u commun. Car oe beau mot a plusieurs sens: i l designs sans doute les pensees les 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 les autres.' The image i s replaced by the cliche, and language, instead of communi-cating sensation, serves to reify i t . 7 2 Thus, Brule's judgment of "Les Fruits d'Or" employs a l l the commonplaces of l i t e r a r y criticism, even to the point of citing popularly-accepted classical models. Sous cette chaude lumiere, en l u i l a seve monte, les mots hardiment s'el event. . . "Admirable** Plus haut. . . "Une pure oeuvre d'art. . ." Plus haut. . . "Rien dans nos lettres de comparable. . ." Plus haut, encore plus haut. . • "Ce qu'on a ecrit de plus beau. • ." toujours plus haut, les cimes immenses se deploient. . . "ce qu'on a ecrit 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 ris i n g sap and mountain views and the utter banality of the l i t e r a r y comments. The language of criticism i s studded with cliches, which usually pass unnoticed for the very good reason that they are cliches. They are the "mots de passe" or "talismans" by which the group maintains i t s identity, a process 71sartre, "Preface," Portrait d'un Inconnu, pp. 8-9. 72 ' It i s interesting that Sarraute should, on the one hand, see "conversation" as an uninterrupted continuation of the interior movement (L'Sre du Soupcon, p. 104), on the other, stress the characteristic " l i e u commun" of"-communication. One explanation of this i s that, to the extraordinarily sensitive Sarraute character, the slightest gesture or the most innocent word is capable of the wildest amplification. Another explanation is contained i n a quotation from her interview with P. Schneider (New York Times Book Review): "It is 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 for Sarraute i s the equivalent of i l l u s i o n or trompe-l'oeil; i t is the everyday, "la gangue" that covers, conceals, and re 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 "lieu commun" of "conversation," but within the "lieu 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 Fruits 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. There is a continual stream of such l i t e r a r y cliche: "un vrai joyau," "un miracle," "tres beau l i v r e , " "le 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 les 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 pairs," according to their detractor, developed their own language, which differs from the ordinary vocabulary insofar as i t i s comprehensible to only a few. It is not cliche 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 limiting communication to the elect. It i s language divorced entirely 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 illustrations for his claims, and in Section 11 there is total confusion over the terms "Technique". . . "Procede". . . "Forme." In a work set i n the salons of, presumably, Paris, i t is natural that cliche should be found largely i n conjunction with c r i t i c a l termino-logy. But the conversation i s studded, too, with the sort of commonplace found in everyday speech. This type of cliche 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 is not underlined by continual 49 repetition in the text but i s recognized by familiarity with the spoken language. The clichS found at the level of everyday conversation i s an expression which has lost i t s meaning or i t s metaphorical sense. As examples, one can cite expressions such as "je vou3 assure," "je l»avoue," "a tout prix," "impayable," "mourir de r i r e . " Frequently, people are called "idiots," "brutes," or even "cretins," words which have lost a l l semblance of their original sense. Brule advises his vi s i t o r "de suivre son bonhomme de chemin." We twice find the expression "enfoncer des portes ouvertes" used to mean "stating the obvious." "Fairs marcher" i s a common cliche, 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 cliche 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 in conformity, and thus serve the purpose of enabling the individual to speak without provoking a reaction. They reflect 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 clearly imprinted upon the style. The use of the present tense and of the dialogue form i s appropriate to the point of view. In the repetition we noticed both hesitancy and gradation, which correspond to the paradoxical relations between i n d i v i -dual and group, while the levels of "conversation" and "sous-conversation" are those of plot and narrative, respectively, with the wealth of imagery of the la t t e r becoming re i f i e d into the cliche of speech. The style presents a pattern of constant struggle between the deep and 50 individual experience of a sensation and the effort to express that sensation i n a language that is constantly petrified by social conformity. n . . . je l e sens t r l s bien, mais je ne sais pas l'exprimer. . . je n'ai a ma disposition que de pauvres mots completement uses a force d'avoir servi a tous et a tout. . ."74 The character i s struggling with the same problem as his creator. It i s a persistent theme of Sarraute's reflections on writing, that the re a l i t y that she has experienced beneath the mask of customary appearance requires a new style and a new form. La realite pour l e romancier, c'est l'inconnu, 1'invisible. Ce qu'il est, l u i semble-t-il, l e premier a s a i s i r . Ce qui ne se laisse pas exprimer par les 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 5Nathalie Sarraute, "Nouveau Soman et Realite," Revue de  l'Institut de Sociologie de l U n i v e r s i t e de Bruxelles' (no', special 1963), p. 432. * II ASPECTS OF THE FICTION In turning now to discussions of plot, character, space, and time, we are moving from narrative into f i c t i o n , from "discours" into "histoire." The plot, or story, i s "what" i s related,'''0 while the character i s developed as an individual personality. Space i s created by means of descriptive passages and time, by i t s chronological verisimilitude, adds to the aura of realism. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the golden age of the novel, the fi 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, either through subtleties of psychology or through detailed visual description, to take on the il l u s i o n of reality, to be l i f e - l i k e . If we think of the work of Balzac or of Dickens, no detail i s spared i n recreating the physical space in which the action 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 to think of the lethargic pace of the good by comparison with the frenetic activity of e v i l i n a Dickens novel to see the way i n which time served to intensify the story. At the beginning of the Heart of Midlothian, Walter Scott delays the arrival of the coach while bringing out the details of background necessary for an understanding of the action, action that w i l l only begin when the coach, discerned already far i n 7°see above, pp. 4-5. 51 the distance, f i n a l l y , after slowly navigating the tortuous road, reaches those waiting i n the foreground of the scene. A l l this Sarraute has consciously attempted to eradicate from her work. The plot and the character are the main targets of continual attack. 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 fate i s understood to be sealed with that of the plot. This, however, does not mean that those four aspects of the novel are not present i n Sarraute's work. They a l l have roles to play, but they are minor compared with their past significance. The f i c t i o n a l element has been subordinated to the narrative. Rousset identifies the emphasis on the creative role of the form as a principal difference between modern and earlier writing. In the context of a discussion of the ideas of Henry James, he says: "Cast l'oeuvre, c'est l a structure de l'oeuvre qui est inventrice; 'une forme est feconde en i d l e s ' . n ^ Earlier, the form was seen as a way of expressing a pre-existing idea. Sarraute has ventured further than most writers towards the opposite pole where the f i c t i o n i s 7 subordinated to the narrative, where the meaning arises from the form. Plot In discussing the narrative structure of Les Fruits d'Or, we have already touched upon the plot, for i t i s the plot which triggers ^Rousset, Forme et Signification, p. x i i . 7 oThese comments are only true i n the broadest sense. In the nineteenth century some writers, most notably Flaubert, were already seeking form purified 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 this. 53 the tropisms with their 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 certain "unites'* ("fonctions cardinales" or "noyaux") linked together horizontally into a sequence. Such a sequence might be: entering a restaurant, being shown to a table, 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 risk which we should no doubt interpret in the sense of existential acts, for they effectively determine future events though their results cannot be foreseen. Ces fonctions peuvent etre a premiere vue fort insignifiantes; ce qui les constitue, ce n'est pas l e spectacle (1'importance, le volume, l a rarete ou l a force de l'action enoncee), c*est, s i l'on peut dire, l e risque: les fonctions cardinales sont les moments de risque du recit.80 Between the "noyaux" l i e other "unites" called "catalyses" which, at the level of the plot, serve mainly to f i l l i n space and take on significance at the higher levels of "actions" or "narration." This analysis i s particularly useful to us i n our study of Sarraute'3 work for i t helps us to identify clearly the role that she has assigned to the plot. We know, from her own c r i t i c a l writings, that Sarraute is very consciously attempting to divert the reader*s attention away from the plot to what she sees as the important functions and relationships of literature. Plot i n the past has only served to distract "^Barthes, "Analyse structurale des r e c i t s . " the reader. Ce sont oes gros mobiles, oes vastas mouvements tres apparents et eux seals que voient d'ordinaire les conteurs et les leoteurs, entrafnes dans l a mouvement de 1'action et talonnes par 1»intrigue, des romans behavioristes. l i s n'ont ni l e temps ni l e moyen—ne disposant d'aucun instrument ..d'investigation assez delicat—de voir avec exactitude les mouvements plus f u g i t i f s et plus fins que ces grands mouvements pourraient dissimuler. 0* The plot, then, became so prominent and so mechanical that i t con-cealed, rather than revealed, the reality that Sarraute is seeking. In Les Fruits d'Or, there i s a plot, but i t has been relegated to the background behind the subtle movements of the human psyche. Stripped of i t s distracting colours, i t nevertheless plays the mechanical role of creating the sequential links upon which the narra-tive hangs. The plot i s conveyed to the reader, not i n a series of events, for there are few actions i n the book, but i n dialogue. The grossness that Sarraute finds i n overt action has given place to the greater sensitivities of the word,**2 and i t i s through what people say to each other that we learn of the current fortunes of "Lea Fruits d'Or." Barthes's •"noyaux'* are found i n the responses that the characters make to one another, and, i f we look again at Section 6, we see how limited a role the dialogue and the plot have. In this section the 81 ASarraute, L'Sre du Soupcon, p. 101. S a r r a u t e has this to say of the contrast between deed and word: ^Les actes, en effet, se deploient en terrain decouvert et dans l a lumiere crue du grand jour. Les plus infimes d'entre eux, compare's a oes delieats et miniscules mouvements interieurs paraissent grossiers et violents:. . • Mais a defaut d'actes, nous avons a notre disposition les paroles. Les paroles possedent les qualites necessaires pour capter, proteger et porter au dehors pes mouvements souterrains a l a fois inpatients et c r a i n t i f s . " (L'Sre du Soupcon, pp. 100-102) dialogue covers twelves lines of text and i s presumably continuous, but between statement and response Sarraute has inserted six pages of narrative which plumb the psychological depths of the individual with-out furthering the.story. With few exceptions this i s the pattern that is found throughout the book.*^ Even in Section 1, i n which a great deal of information has to be conveyed to the reader without resorting to a single narrator, the dialogue scarcely exceeds the narration. In terms of Barthes*s analysis, what this implies i s that his lowest level of significance, that of f i c t i o n , has been reduced to no more than the merest outline. There i s , however, a plot and i t i s br i e f l y described i n the following table. T A B L E U OUTLINE OF THE PLOT Section 1 A conversation is i n progress between two persons concerning a previous discussion with a third. The ostensible subject i s Courbet but the source of disagreement l i e s i n the different attitude displayed to changes i n taste. "Les Fruits d'Or" i s mentioned to heal the r i f t , but i t s introduction causes greater misunderstanding. Section 2 The third person v i s i t s the eminent c r i t i c , Brule, to ask his opinion of "Les Fruits d'Or," since he cannot make up his own .mind. Brule.is convinced that i t i s admirable. Section 3 Brule composes an a r t i c l e i n praise of "Les Fruits d'Or." 3^pwo exceptions w i l l be mentioned later. 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 battle 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 result of which is the establishment of Brehier's popularity. Sections Success now being assured f o r the book, real i t y and 5 and 6 truth can be safely ignored. Section 7 "Los Fruits d'Or" becomes the standard by which a l l i s to be measured, time as well as r e a l i t y and truth. Section 8 The intervention of the outsider, "le paysan," i s the signal for doubts to spread.  Section 9 Parrot, a c r i t i c , i s unable to substantiate his enthusiastic praise of l i e s Fruits d'Or." Section 10 Formalist c r i t e r i a give way to subjective judgment. 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 their views. Section 13 The group denies claims to spontaneity i n art, for 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 isolated admirer at the end can rely only upon his personal response to Brehier, though he cannot avoid the attempt to re-introduce the t i t l e "Les Fruits d'Or" into 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. This outline shows the cyclical pattern of rise and f a l l that we have already mentioned in discussing the narrative structure. The fourteen sections divide equally, with seven belonging to the climax and seven to the anti-climax. It i s the seventh section that the popularity ' of Brehier reaches i t s peak. "Une limite a ete atteinte. La, en tout cas, dans cette directlpn-la, l e chemin est barre.**^ Preceding and Sarraute, Les Fruits d'Or, p. 130. 57 following this moment are two episodes, the one involving Gay, the other Jean-Pierre. Both wish to become true disciples of Brehier and both abase themselves appropriately before the very miracle of his genius. Guy i s admitted into the group, while Jean-Pierre, one page later, i s rebuffed. The balance i s perfect. The peak has been passed, and further movement w i l l be i n the opposite direction. 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. F i r s t l y , of course, there i s an obvious a f f i n i t y between the f i r s t and the last sections, the declining vogue of Courbet corresponding to the new star that is r i s i n g at the end. The correspondence i s underlined by the "minuter!ert and the "horlogerie," mechanical devices which are mysteriously responsible for the turn of events. The group, which i s uniformly Imminent and immanent throughout the work, changes i t s role at mid-point, for, 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 half i t becomes the arbiter of taste. The autocratic hierarchy of the f i r s t half becomes, later, the revolutionary council. 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 prevails where, before, the people were moulded by their leaders. Brule, who expounds the e l i t i s t aesthetic of the formalists, i s replaced by the philosopher of Section 10, who denies the possibi-l i t y of any absolute judgment. Similarly, Valery, the epitome of reason, gives place to Rimbaud,the inexplicable genius. Parallel situations and incidents can be multiplied. The woman i n Section 4, who seeks proof of Brehier's genius "le l i v r e en main," sees herself as a martyr i n the cause of truth, i n much the same way as does the man i n Section 12 upholding Brehier against a hostile group. He thinks of himself as a revolutionary of missionary. He refers i n his eulogy of Brehier's merits to Watteau, a name that is scoffed at by the group. Earlie 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 Orthil (pp. 114-118), especially his 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 startling by the similarity of their content. While Orthil i s warmly acclaimed for his brilliance, the character i n Section 12 moves to protect himself as though he fears he w i l l be stoned by the group. The plot, then, describes a regular cycle whose peak is reached in 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. But the process behind the c y c l i c a l movement remains constant. Whether Brehier's vogue i s rising or f a l l i n g , the 59 fundamental pattern of the plot is the same, for i t concerns the relationship of individual to group. Todorov has been above a l l concerned with the reduction of the "re c i t " to i t s basic elements, both by attempting to establish a limited 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 total structure. ". . • on suppose que l e recit represente l a projection syntagmatique d'un reseau de rapports paradigmatiques *"^5 Following rtle modele homologique" offered by Todorov, we shall select a number of incidents from "Les Fruits d'Or*" arrange them i n the following table, 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 Sec- Persons Inci- Description of tion Involved dent Incident 1 3; anon. 1 C offers a reproduction to A and B; (A,B,C.) B ignores i t ; C i s offended. 2 A asks C's opinion of "Les Fruits d'Or"; C replies without conviction; A feels . estranged. 2 2; C and 3 C praises Courbet; Brfile flinches; C feels Brule out of his class. 4 C asks Brule's help i n judging "Les Fruits d'Or"; Brule" responds by giving.his opinion; C concurs with Brule. 5 2; " E l l e " 5 " E l l e " claims Brehier i s not r e a l i s t i c ; and prthil Orthil crushes her; " E l l e " i s an object of derision. ^Todorov, Categories du reSit, p. 130. 60 Table 5 (Continued) Sec-tion Persons Involved Inci-dent Description of Incident 8 2; "Ilx" and."le Paysan" 6 7 "U" wants "le Paysan" to Justify his argu-ment; "le Paysan" does so; alliance formed. "11" deprecates Varenger; "le Paysan" disagrees; conflict. 12 2; " I l 2 " and group 8 "11w praises Brehier; group denigrates Brehier; "11" i s "stoned." 1J* 3; BrehierV and group 9 10 "11" feels sympathy with Brehier; uncertain response; dissatisfaction—incompleted movement. "U" broaches subject of "Les Fruits d'Or" i n group; scoffing response; "11" alone. A l l the ten incidents, which we have used as il l u s t r a t i o n , present themselves i n triadic form. The f i r s t term of each is a proposal or offer; this i s either accepted or rejected i n the second term. Finally, we are presented with the outcome, which is either alienation or integration. 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 to be a case i n point; but, i n fact, this section conforms to our model, and the - explanation i s given i n Section 4, when we are told how "les deux pairs" managed to achieve such eminence. Having out themselves off long ago from contact with others, they interact only with an idealized 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.^° Incident 9 i u our table, however, does seem to be an exception. " I I , " certain that he i s right i n his judgment, aspires to an individual, unmediated contact with "Les Fruits d'Or" and their author which cannot be reciprocated. He i s unable to maintain his uncompromising stance for long since he gets no support: his environ-ment i s silent. Like earlier, similar individualists, except perhaps Jean Laborit, he returns to the group, as we see at the end of the book (Incident 10). If we turn our attention again to the overall pattern of the plot, we can now see better the reason for the parallelism of incident and situation, and also for the opposition. The ascending curve i s started by the c r i t i c Brftle, who states that "Les Fruits d'Or" i s admirable. Any "action" thereafter i s either a reaffirmation of this i n i t i a l blast, or a "reaction" to i t . Brail's words establish the pattern un t i l the intrusion of "le paysan," the outsider, speaking with the voice of the common nan. His equally absolute statement: "Je crois que ca ne vaut absolument rien. . .," made i n the context of the same lit e r a r y society, w i l l produce the same pattern of reactions but with the opposite effect. Nothing remains after the cycle has been com-pleted, except perhaps a lone voice i n the wilderness of new activity. Bespite the fact that the plot plays a consistently subordinate role i n the test, we have devoted several pages to i t since Sarraute*s use of i t i s of interest. The plot i s important i n that i t provides a Sarraute, Les Fruits d'Or, p. 98, 62 bare skeleton upon which to hang the narrative but i t i s not allowed to intrude upon the real substance of the work contained i n the move-ments. It i s , of course, no accident that plot and narrative struc-tures show close resemblances. The action-reaction-outcome sequence of the plot i s , indeed, the emergence on the surface of the stimulus-response-harmony that was the fundamental structure of the narrative. If the plot and narrative are always related to the same paradigm structure, which has i t s source in the vision of the writer, i t i s unusual for the plot to become, so evidently, a function of the narrative. Character The discussion of plot structure leads directly to another aspect of the f i c t i o n , that of character, for i t i s the character who effects the incidents of the plot. Structural c r i t i c s , indeed, use the word "agent," instead of "character" i n order to direct attention to the fact that i t i s the acts, rather than the psychological depth of the individual, that are significant. 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,0*8 a feature of modern literature which i n i t s limitation of the importance of character i s reverting to medieval forms. Most of the history of the novel, however, has been dominated by the character. Nathalie sarraute reacts to the well-rounded character of f i c -tion with the same ferocity that she displayed i n her attack on the ^Barthes, "Analyse structurale desrecits," p. 16. 8 8Todorov, "Categories du r e c i t , " p. 132. 63 well-built plot. The arguments are similar. The individual character presents a distracting surface to the reader as well as a dull repetition of ready-made people reminiscent of the displays i n a waxworks. "Musee Grevin" i s , for 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 salive, sur l e plus faible indice i l [ l e lecteur ou l e romancierj fabrique des personnages. Comme au jeu des "statues," tous ceux qu'il touche se petrifient. l i s vont grossir dans sa memoire l a vaste collection de figurines de cire que tout au long de ses journees i l complete a l a hate et que, depuis qu'il a l'age de l i r e , n'ont cesse d'enrichir d'innom-brables romans.^9 What Sarraute i s seeking, l i k e Virginia Woolf before her, i s "les endroits ;ohsenrs de l a psychologie." Well drawn characters, some of which do appear in 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, precisely, the forms necessary for the penetration and expression of the interior movements, subjacent to a l l human inter-action. Proust noted, as from afar, the bubbles that burst to the surface of society and people, arising 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 fore-ground of the action; on the other, he has been demolished. The paradox i s resolved, however, as soon as we realize 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 . ^Sarraute, L'Bre du Soupcon, p. 70. on s ' Only once i n Les Fruits d'Or does this shifting, unstable world of human interaction appear attractive (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 overall tone of sickness. u Psychology has been disassociated from the fictional person and has become identified with the way i n which the world i s seen and expressed. Barthes makes the same distinction using the terms "personne psycho-logique" and "personne linguistique": . . . l a "psychologie" ne peut en effet—paradoxalement— s'acccmoder d'un pur aystame de l a personne, car en ramenant tout l e recit a 1'instance seul du discours, ou s i l'on prefers a l'acte de locution, c'est l e contenu meme de la personne qui est menace: l a personne psyohologique (d'ordre referential) n'a aucun rapport avec l a personne linguistique, qui n'est jamais definie par des dispositions, des intentions, des t r a i t s , mais seulem ant par sa place (codee) dans l e discours.91 Not surprisingly, then, the f i r s t feature of characterization to note i n Les Traits d'Or i s the absence of readily identifiable characters. Host people are anonymous; others are named only after they have spoken, such as Brule, Marcel and Henri. A few, however, are clearly identified, as i n the case of Jean Laborit, 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 is 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 individualize the characters by deacription or by distinctive habits of speech. Everybody displays the same psychological features, or, i f there are differences, they are insignificant ones of degree or detail rather than of kind. In Sarraute's view, stated i n L'Ere du Soupcon, and confirmed by her novels, people are psychologically identical. In the depths she has ^Barthes, "Analyse structurale des recite," p. 21. 65 ^ 92 found "una matiere anonyme, identique chez tous."' Some characters, however, are clearly drawn. "Brule," "les deux pairs" and "Orthil" are a l l figures 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 "le petit Dulud" i n Section 1, and Guy from Section 7. What i s common to a l l these characters is that they are caricatures, faceless masks, objects of admiration. Indeed, an image closely associated with Brule i s that of the machine. These few instances serve to prove Sarraute's rule that the well-constructed character i s unrelated to r e a l i t y . In Section 12 Brehier's character i s spread out for our scrutiny and analysis. He i s garrulous and has bad taste, we learn, but the accumulation of evidence f a i l s utterly to bring him to l i f e , for his detractors are, l i k e almost everyone else i n the book, belligerently partisan. Brehier's t r a i t s are artifacts of evidence which reveal nothing within the context of such a court. Sarraute*s view of the identity of human psychology clearly owes a great deal to Dostoevsky. In his work she has observed the startling twists and turns of the characters as they confront others, at one moment fawning i n humility, at the next rebuffing with pride; and she finds behind this confusing movement the attempt of human creatures to make contact with others: ". . . l i s se modelent sur 1'image d'eux-memes, 9 % n his socio-psychological study of Sarraute's work, Nathalie  Sarraute, J-L. Jaccard sees the characters as members of the reviled bourgeoisie: " l i s sont tous semblables, cette carapace qu'ils ont revetue est pareille a toutes les autres carapaces; rien ne nous permet de distinguer un individu de 1'autre." (p. 30) memory i s specifically mentioned by Sarraute (L'Bre du Soup- con, p. 70) for i t has the tendency to f i x or petrify images which obstruct future perception. 66 que les autres leur renvoient."°4 Not only, however, does Dostoevsky offer her an example of human identity, he also shows that outward actions are simply the symptom of the real 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 faibles tremblements, des ebauches d'appals timides et des reculs, des ombres legeres qui glissent, et dont l e jeu incessant constitue l a trams invisible de tous les rapports humains et l a substance meme de notre vie.95 The continuity between interior movement and outward action, and the identity of mankind are the fundamental principles of Sarraute's psychology, as we shall see i n studying the structure of relationships between people, the motiviation for action. In the psychological structure we find repeated the pattern that we saw i n the plot and the narrative, the structure of the tropism. The person i s always "en situation," always forced to adapt to an environ-ment that changes and which he changes. Both determined and determining, though rarely consciously, the individual being forms one of the terms of a continual dialectic with his society. Ideally, there exists repose, but i n the present there i s only movement. Conceptually, the movement begins with a stimulus, an act, which Sarraute, L'Bre du Soupcon, pp. 34-35. It 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 in his book Deceit, Desire.and the Novel; Self  and Other i n Literary Structure (trans, by Yvonne Freccero, Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 1965}. Sarraute's characters continually find them-selves in mediated relationships, and their most prominent aspiration i s that of direct contact. It i s not, perhaps, surprising to find that both Sarraute and Girard are students of Dostoevsky. 'Sarraute, L'Bre du Soupcon, p. 29 67 upsets the ideal harmony. We have already noted the nature of this stimulus and given examples. What i s important i s that i t creates, between individual and environment, a tension or dissension which demands resolution. The f i r s t pronouncements of Les Fruits d'Or creates this tension, as though winding up a spring. " . . . Oh ecoute, tu es terrible, tu pourrais falre un effort. . • j'etais horriblement genee. . The word "gener" occurs several times i n the book, and i s supplemented by i t s synonyms, "inquieter," "froisser," "deranger." Situations denoting anxiety, sometimes of an extreme nature, are frequent. There i s the woman who feels she has just had an electric / 97 shock: "Un choc l a f a i t sursauter, une douleur l a dechire."" Judgments have the power of blows to create intolerable feelings of tension. "C'est f a i t expires" i s an example in Section 6; "ceux qui aamirent les f r u i t s d'or sont des sots" 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 interaction between people i n the ceaselessly evolving present means that there i s a constant tension. We shall c a l l this f i r s t step of the psychological structure "anguish." The response to anguish i s , naturally enough, to attempt to escape i t , so that, to use Sartre's expression, we can c a l l this second 98 step " f l i g h t . " 7 The contradiction created between the individual and 9^Sarraute, Les Fruits d'Or, p. 7. 97ibid.. p. 64. 9°Sartre, "Preface," Portrait d'un Inconnu, p. 11. We shall consider the third step, "harmony," simultaneously with " f l i g h t , " for, i f the i n d i -vidual seeks to avert anguish, he seeks also to.return to a condition i n which he imagines himself at peace with his environment. 68 his society must be terminated, for l i f e i s evidently not possible i n such conditions. It i s impossible to sustain for any length of time an individual opinion without the support of at least one other person. Total isolation i s unbearable, except perhaps for the man i n Section 1 who rejects groups on principle. Examples to the contrary, however, are ubiquitous. In Section 1 the woman seeks to heal the r i f t between herself and the third person, while he i n his turn (Section 2), has to choose between two separate societies, the el i t e , with Brule, or the commoners, with his interlocutors from Section 1. Section 4 contributes the example of the woman who misjudges her master, Lueien, finds herself isolated, and has rapidly to reverse her opinion; the man who would l i k e to contradict her is obliged by the prevailing mood of society to agree. At the end of Section 4 we find 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 least, one other person for him to feel reassured. Que quelqu'un antande son appel, qu'un seul d'autre eux veuille bien venir se ranger a, ses cotes. . . Qu*un seul autre regard que l e sien perooive ce qu'il volt. . . II n'en demande pas plus. Pour qu'il puisss se sentir absolument sur, invincible, pour que puisse triompher l a verite, i l l u i faut juste cela: un seul temoin. 99 The very same need appears again at the end of the book, i n Section 14, when the solitary admirer of Brehier, even against his w i l l , i s driven to share his conviction with others i n the hope of finding sympathizers. However, the conflict i s not always resolved by the submission of individual to environment. On a number of occasions the individual 9%arraute, Les Fruits d'Or, pp. 105-06. 69 refuses to submit and, seeing himself as a martyr, revolutionary, or pariah, i s will i n g to take the consequences of his action. He or she * i s figuratively eliminated i n images of expulsion or even of stoning (Sections 5 and 12). 1 0 0 The character in Section 14 has come to terms with his banishment but i s nevertheless planning to win the group over to his opinion. Brehier's career summarizes the interaction between individual and environment, for while his book pleased the group there was no tension; once "Les Fruits d'Or" becomes unacceptable, however, i t creates a situation only to be resolved by the execration of the book and the figurative death of i t s author.^"^ It should be noted that the group cannot always be identified with the environment for i t s nature changes and, at times, i t acts 102 l i k e an individual, even to the point of taking on the role of narrator. The environment of the f i r s t half of the book i s controlled by the c r i t i c s . The group, l i k e the individual, has to adapt i t s e l f to the ourrent pronouncements of i t s leaders of taste, though i t does offer, i n i t i a l l y at least, an alternative, 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 feelings of "Nous, l e menu peuple. . .,* and we learn that the group, too, seeks harmony i n i t s vision of a promised land. 1 (^3 prom 1 0 0 T h e most violent movements in Les Fruits d'Or are probably those made by the eyes, but the interpersonal conflict, experienced within the character and expressed i n banal language, takes on the emotional pro-portion of physical action, even action of a violent nature. In the cases here the emotional context i s equivalent to that of actual physical expulsion and stoning. 1 0 1 S e e above, footnote 100. 1 0 2See, for examples, pp. 82-83 and 86-90, of Les Fruits d'Or. ^•®%arrautet Les Fruits d'Or, p. 87 and p. 94» 70 Section 7 onwards the group's role changes. Jean-Pierre i s expelled, not because he did not submit, but because the group made a collective decision about this particular individual. Thereafter the group is no longer guided by the c r i t i c s . It i s i t s own master and becomes, i n effect, the environment to which individuals have to conform. The "Promised Land" i n which the masses are the arbiters of taste has been found, and the masses attack the c r i t i c s , such as Parrot, and make the decisions as to who i s to be considered great. Submission of the individual to his society i s , of course, an abnegation of l i f e i t s e l f . The individual becomes an object, something to be moulded. Jean Laborit sees himself as empty and s t e r i l e : "un receptacle vide que remplira entierement ce qu'ils vont y deposer." Similarly, the character of Section 12, momentarily opting for harmony, becomes viscous matter that w i l l take any shape whatsoever: "Dans ce moule que vois m'avez donnl, que je sais, comma vous, manier, l a substance invisible se coule, s'adapts parfaitement." 1-0^ Absorption into the environment i s a process of re i f i c a t i o n i n which the individual loses the a b i l i t y to act. But i t i s not the only possible means of escape from anxiety. Brule, "les deux pairs," and Orthil i l l u s t r a t e another direction for " f l i g h t . " The individual can avert anguish by becoming inaccessible to others. He can put up a smoke-screen of words l i k e Brfile, play the role of virtuoso l i k e Orthil, or baffle the audience with jargon l i k e "les deux pairs," a l l devices which allow the person to see without being seen, to attack without fear 1 0 ^ I b i d . , p. 195. 71 of being attacked. The process i s best described i n the analysis of rtles deux pairs." . . . i l s se sont barricades en eux-m&nes, ont bouche toutes les issues, l a plus fine fissure, 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 in fact moulds. The individual i s once again r e i f i e d , this time into a role which he has chosen, but which i s defined by others, by the society. He cannot con-tradict society, as Lucien finds when called upon to pronounce judgment upon "Les Fruits d»Or." Nor can he l e t s l i p his mask for a moment and reveal his humanity, as Parrot did. The c r i t i c , the author, even the King are roles i n which the individual can find protection just so long as he recognizes that i t i s the society, the environment, which defines those roles. This individual i s no freer than he who seeks anonymity within the group. In summary, we can create a tr i a d i c structure of characterization using the three terms that we selected earlier: ANGUISH — FLIGHT — HARMONY/ This i s , of course, not an isolated sequence but one l i n k i n an endless chain of such sequences. Sach and every individual i s submerged i n a continual cycle of movements from harmony-to-anguish-to-harmony. His attempts to escape by submission to the environment, or by elaborate self-protection are no more than brief 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 Fruits d fOr i s the lack of situation for the action. Only once i n the book i s a setting described. At the end of Section 1, the woman is upset because the third party of the conversation gave a non-committal answer to her question about •'Les Fruits d'Or." She goes baok to see him to get a more satisfactory response. From outside i n the street she sees the lig h t i n his apart-ment, and we follow her up the stairs to his door and inside: "Dans l a s a i l s commune des femmes echevelees aux longues mecb.es reches se frappent l a poitrine, . . ," 1® 0 This appears to be the i n i t i a l impetus that releases the Brehier vogue. "Les Fruits d'Or" is led from the dark into "la salle commune," which, we gather from the image, i s the setting for extraordinary events.1®''' In the f i r s t two sections (pp. 6 and 25) there are brief indications, i n the descriptions of furniture and pictures on the walls, that the action takes place i n a study. Apart from this, there is no description of place. On the other hand, however, the reader i s very much aware of space. Without being specifically indicated, the space in which the events occur exerts a constant pressure upon them. Even without the scene in Section 1, the reader i s conscious that he i s i n a room and, probably, in quite a small room, which creates a sense of isolation from the outside world as well as a feeling 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 to the reader the.idea of insanity which w i l l pervade the scenes he is to witness i n just such rooms as t h i s . 73 fact that vicious assaults are launched from one armchair to another, nobody gets up and leaves, for this i s the salon society of the l i t e r a r y coterie whose weapons are words and whose wounds bleed only internally. Open animosity would, of course, lead to immediate expul-sion from the desirable e l i t e . Such a description is speculative since i t is 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, illusory world, with the result that our concept of space i s a function of the relationship between characters. Space, l i k e action, belongs to "les endroits obscurs de l a psyehologie," which we have associated with the narrative. Man is no longer determined by physical circumstances against which he struggles i n overt action, but by his interaction with an environment which he only apprehends i n his inmost depths. Visible space i s replaced by the psychological space of interpersonal relations. The fundamental structure of this space is that of a tightly enclosed form. We sense, behind the episodic conflicts from which there i s no escape, the closed room. This same feeling of being shut i n i s found again i n the concept of the group as a completely unified body: "une seule masse," "un seul bloc." In Section 2 Brule's study is seen as a l i t t l e haven of c i v i l i z a t i o n entirely encircled by barbarity. The c i r c l e is the paradigm of the enclosed form and i t recurs frequently i n descriptions of space in the text. The palace image (Section 4), which i s employed specifically to create the sense of inclusion and exclusion, presents society as a series of concentric circles about the central person of the monaroh. The fortress (Section 9) IK is described as "1'enceinte f o r t i f i e e , " deliberately exploiting the idea of circul a r i t y . On several occasions the group i t s e l f i s clearly referred to as a c i r c l e . In Section 1 the group i s seen as an exclusive club, both closed and circular. "On est, n'est-ce pas, entre gens du mame monde. 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 at bay by lighted matches. ". . . ces allumettes que l'homme cerne en pleine nuit par une meute de loups frotte en toute biite. . .w10^ The woman who challenged Mettetal i s figuratively stoned and e x p e l l e d 1 1 0 by the group described as the "cercle des fideles." Relationships between people are also perceived i n terms of circularit y , of proximity to some dimly-perceived centre. Marcel, annoyed that a woman he dislikes has somehow insinuated herself into a position protected by general opinion from his attack, decides that he cannot remove her: Mais comment se retenir de l a pousser, de l a bousculer un peu, allons, i l y a place pour les autres i c i , n'est-ce pas?. • • pour moi aussi, voyez. . • allons, poussez-vous done, je m'installe, je m'etire. • .-1-11 The image i s of a small enclosed space to which everyone seeks entry, a central object of desire. More explicit i s the anguish experienced by the man i n Section 12 who feels his alienation from the group i n terms of displacement from l o 8Sarraute, Les Fruits d'Or, p. 12. 1 Q Q I b i d . , p. 181. •^^See above, p. 69, footnote 100. ^ ^ a r r a u t e , Les Fruits d'Or, p. 59. 75 a central point. Moi l e centre, moi l'axe autour duquel tout se groupait, tournait, moi dont l e regard pouvait, se je l e voulais, se perdre dans les lointains, atteindre tous les 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 implicit i n Les Fruits d'Or. The only'space that pertains to the f i c t i o n i s that of n l a salle commune" of Section 1, and i t may well be that this i s , indeed, the setting of lat e r sections and episodes. But space i s psycho-lo 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 relative position i n i t , by which i 3 meant one's proximity to the centre of the c i r c l e . Time The distinction that has been made between narrative and f i c t i o n has been used by Ricardou to analyze the function of time in the novel. 1 1 There i s a time pertaining to the f i c t i o n and another to the narrative, and the two are unlikely to be co-extensive. The narrative may refer to fio t l o n a l past or future; there may be different episodic durations and each may be interrupted without affecting the continuity of the other. The difference between narrative and f i c t i o n a l time i n Les Fruits  d'Or Is both illuminating and significant, for i t shows yet again the predominance of narrative over f i c t i o n , of interior movement over overt action. We can i l l u s t r a t e this by making use of the diagrammatic approach suggested by Ricardou. In a l l of the following diagrams the 1 1 2 I b i d . , p. 193. ^^Ricardou, Problemes du Nouveau Roman, pp. 161-70. 76 two parallel axes represent narrative and f i c t i o n a l time, and i n this f i r s t figure we see that they are almost co-extensive. 1 year (approx.) " Narrative /I / ' Fiction Conversation preceding Section 1 Fig. 1—Comparison of Narrative and Fictional Duration We learn (p. 175) that the duration of events i s about one year. This total period i s divided, i n the book, into fourteen sections which, in terms of time, are very short. Clearly, there is a break in both narrative and f i c t i o n between one section and the next, but there i s never any indication of i t s duration. The episodes, on the other hand, seem to be associated i n continuous time, though some of the interior monologues (Sections 12 and 14) could well be seen as extracts from diaries at different dates* The f i c t i o n of Les Fruits 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 earlier novelists, but what i s more important i s that, within that duration, there i s l i t t l e reference to periods beyond the most immediate past and future. The admirer of Lucien (pp. 50-54) recalls her past, even her childhood, but i t i s a brief 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 relative amounts of time devoted to the relation of an action and i t s analysis, for here we see the narrative extended far beyond the duration of the event. Section 6 onoe again provides the example, but i t is a paradigm for the whole work. NARRATIVE -— — — pi yy >/ — — 1. Mettetal's words 1 //JZ' 2* Words of "me" yy'/Z' 3* W o r d s o f Sroup ) xj^x^FICTION I. Inner reactions of " E l l e " I I . Inner reactions of " E l l e , " Mettetal, and group Fig. 2—Narrative and Fictional Time i n Section 6 Even this diagram inadequately conveys the lengths of time of narrative i and f i o t i o n , for 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 is the general pattern that we find, 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 stories i n the traditional manner. An anonymous speaker t e l l s of Orthil*s panegyric of Brehier i n Section 5» and i n Section 11 Jacques's wife recounts, with much attention to style, the grand tale of Jacques's imitation of Brehier. Both episodes reveal the desire of their 78 narrators to capture the attention and passive admiration of their l i s t e n e r s — a n a r t i s t i c goal which Sarraute deplores. The narrator needs only four pages to relate the events of the entire evening on which Orthil displayed his talents as a c r i t i c . This pattern of time i n Section 5 and in the f i r s t part of Section 11 resembles that employed most frequently by writers; dialogue, which i s co-extensive, i s supplemented usually by action and by the association of present events with those i n the past. With the elimination of the major aspects of plotting, and with her analysis i n depth of each incident, Sarraute has reversed the usual relationship of narrative to f i c t i o n . When we attempt to show diagrammatically the total pattern of time i n Les Fruits d'Or, we find that the parallel axes of narrative and f i c t i o n , i n order to reveal, even approximately, the extension of the former, have to be ourved. (See Fig. U, P» 79.) The diagram illustrates that Sarraute has indeed reversed normal p r i o r i t i e s . The time of action, which usually dominates the foreground of a novel, has been reduced to a minimum and has been replaced by the psychological preoccupations of the narrative. The faintest visible movement i s the result of an almost indescribably long process by which the organism becomes aware of, and finds how to respond to, i t s environment. JJorxativQ a. Time of Orthil's performance I. Time of narration of events Fig. 3—-Narrative and Fictional Time i n Section 5 Fig. 4—Total Pattern of Narrative and Fictional Time i n Les Fruits 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 Fruits d'Or i s the pattern of movement that we have discerned i n the tropism, the ceaseless process of the organism's effort to establish 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 told a year previously. "Pour rien au monde, n'est-oe pas, i l y a seulement un an, on n'aurait pas pu raconter cela. . .w1^ we learn that the vogue of "Les Fruits d'Or" lasts s l i g h t l y longer than one year, a period that we can l i n k to the cycle of seasons. But apart from this one reference, time, l i k e space, l i e s beneath the surface of the text, constantly urging the action forward but never intruding overtly upon the scene. ^Sarraute, Les Fruits d'Or, p. 175. 80 We, as readers, participate i n the action as i t occurs. We are plunged into 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 relationship of necessity that i t establishes between stimulus and response. Necessity i s well-illustrated by the image of " l a minuterie. n Aliens l e sort en est jete. . • La porta cochere s*ouvre, voila l a minuterie, les deux marches, l a porte vitree, l'esealier, quatre a quatre, mais pourquoi quatre a. quatre? quelle idee. . . qui a jamais?. . . C'est deux a deux qu'il faut dire, deux a deux, tres bien, ne penser a rien, 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. . * Eais 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 action which seeks completion. The woman going upstairs i s increasingly unwilling to carry out her intention but i s i n the grasp of something more powerful than herself, "Le sort" i s a useful cliche to describe this force. There is the sense of a mechanism at work to which the individual has to submit. The "horlogerie" of the f i n a l episode of the book evokes the same sense of ineluctability, though i n the l a t t e r case the individual i s conscious of the process, i f not i n control of i t . The individual (including the group-as-individual) would l i k e to halt the movement of time, to establish a static relationship 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 qu'il s'assoit a sa table, i l sait que les heures vont commencer.a se detendre lentement, docilement, a s'epandre l o i n devant l u i dans l e silence, dans l a solitude de l a nuit, soulevant, gonflant en l u i l e sentiment de sa l i b e r t e . d e sa puissance, de sa duree— un avant-gout d'eternite. 1* 0 But Brule provides the best example i n the book of re i f i c a t i o n . Isolated from others, he has ceased to l i v e . The alternative to isolation i s total harmony, the aspiration of the group i n Section 4 which, l i k e the wandering tribe, 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 is the cessation of time. ' Juste un petit signe, Je n'en demande pas plus, un simple clignement, un cillement. . . Et ce sera l a securiteV La pais. Je serai sauvee. Nous serons sauves. Pour toujours. Salut eternel. Dans l a lumiere reelle. 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. The vogue of Courbet gives way to that of Brehier. For a moment i t seemed that "Les Fruits d'Or" was the ideal, that i t would once and for a l l put an end to movement, that time would be measured i n relation to "Les Fruits d'Or": "II y a ceux d'avant Les Fruits d'Or et i l y a ceux d'apres." 1 1 8 Immediately after this point of stasis the tide begins to turn. Indeed, the image of the tide i s used at this point: "C'est un tremblement de terre, Les Fruits d'Or. Il 6 l b i d . , p. 42. 117ibid., p. 24. l l 8 l b i d . , p. 129. 82 C'est un raz de marie. In Section 13 the image of the tide 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 learn that even the great are subject to the tide 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 flux et reflux regulier des marges." 1 2 0 A character in Section 10 asks how i t is that taste undergoes this constant process of change. The sanguine reply i s that people follow the fashions. 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 Fruits d'Or is dictated by the movement of the tropism. The incidents of the plot do provide a probable sequence of events through time, but the logic of those events is determined by the pattern of stimulus and response. The individual i s trapped i n an endless sequence from which he can escape only br i e f l y , f o r separation from his society creates intolerable tension, while total harmony cannot l a s t . A rhythm of opposition i s thus created which, for the work as a whole, is the vogue of "Les Fruits d'Or," but which also appears in the movement of the individual episodes. If the Brehier fashion represents a year, then the episodes are the days and hours within that year. Time i s not identifiable with chronology, however, for 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 Fruits  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 his point of view rather than of the object r e i f i e d by f i c t i o n . i n THEMATIC STHJCTUHS Introduction: l a Mise en Abtma The study, to this point, has dealt mainly with the formal aspects of Les Fruits d'Or principally because of the prominent role given to 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 his book 121 Types of Thematic Structure, suggests a methodology appropriate to Sarraute's novel. By analyzing and then integrating three themes, we shall attempt to uncover the meaning of the work. Before this, however, we should observe that the meaning of Les Fruits d'Or i s not simple for i t is related to a complex aspect of the structure which we have not yet considered, "la mise en ablme.** We have seen that, as part of the tropistic structure, the novel, "Les Fruits d'Or," i s the stimulus which sets i n motion the Brehier vogue. Indirectly, of oourse, i t i s responsible for the lesser tropisms of the sections and episodes. But i t has another structural role, for i n Lea Fruits d'Or the presence of the book within creates a continual ambivalence of meaning. Ricardou sees the "mise en abime" as a revolt: "la mise en ablme est avant tout l a revolte structurelle d.*un fragment du recit 1 2 1 B a l k , 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 It is a means of alerting the reader to the i l l u s i o n of the story, causing him to reflect 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 closely the images presented to him, to compare them for similarities and differences, to plunge deeper into the text. The confrontation of the two books, Sarraute's and Brehier's, i s different from the usual "mise en abime" i n that i t i s not episodic. It lasts throughout the book, so that the reader i s at once involved i n the fate of Brehier and i n judging Sarraute. 1 2^ After finishing the book, or upon second reading, he i s bound to make comparisons and to discover continually his own duality: at one and the same time, he i s reading about criticism and being c r i t i c a l of his reading. A second difference tends to the same end, for the "mise en abtme" generally draws the reader further into the book by raising a question about the story, while i n Les Fruits d'Or the process i s reversed. It 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 his own opinions that are challenged. This central structure of Les Fruits d'Or creates a t r i p l e level 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 level there i s a single image. When we read the book we are aware of the object, albeit transparent, whioh i s "Les Fruits d'Or." At this level there i s no reflection, and the focus i s , i n fact, 1 2 2Ricardou, Problernes du Nouveau Roman, p. 181. 1 2 ? B r i g i d Brophy ("Halfway to a Happening") recognizes this constant ambiguity, of meaning but, somewhat cynically, suggests that Sarraute is merely trying to spike the guns of her c r i t i c s . 86 upon the plot* The next level reveals two images* the object and i t s reflection; that i s , the two books of the same name. What we perceive is that the images are reversed, that the outer and inner books are different, the one c r i t i c a l of the other. At the third l e v e l , however, we notice the sim i l a r i t i e s of the two images, for despite their apparent differences they belong to the same world. We shall i l l u s t r a t e these three structural levels of meaning by means of three themes which are central to the work. We do not main-tain that each of these themes belongs uniquely to the level on which i t serves as an example. On the contrary, after having discussed the three themes individually, we shall attempt to show their fundamental integrity. Our definition of theme we have taken from E. H. Palk. Palk distinguishes between theme and topic. While a topic "marks out a salient feature of the materials," the word "theme" i s equivalent to ideas that emerge: . . • from the particular structure of such textual elements as actions, statements revealing states of mind or feelings, gestures or meaningful environmental settings. Such textual 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. 1 2^ The three themes we have chosen correspond to the three levels 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 plot, we shall use the theme of "Art," at the second, where the images are reversed, "Appearance and Reality,*' and at the third, "Indi-vidual and Society." This correspondence of formal structure and 1 2 4 p a l k , Types of Thematic Structure, p. 2. 87 thematic content can be presented in tabular form. T A B L E 6 THE TTTRRrK LEVELS 0? MEANING; IN LES FRUITS D'OR Formal Structure 1. Single image 2. Reversed images 3* Identical images Themes Thematic Content Art Appearance and Reality-Individual and Society Levels of Meaning Meaning as Plot Meaning as Contradiction Meaning as Integration Art:--The f i r s t l evel of meaning, corresponding to the single unreflected image, we have called the level of the plot. In our discussion of the plot we noted that i t described a cyclical movement, that of the rise and decline of the Brehier cult. It i s a movement that appears to have no rational foundation, even though we know that such vogues do occur. At the level of plot the book i s a satire. Using the theme of art, we see a satire of the l i t e r a r y circles which lionize the latest writers, supporting their fluctuating tastes with esoteric theories. The theme of art i s that of the validity of a r t i s t i c judgment. Tison Braun notes that "le problemeetait celui de l'authenticite du Jugement.r,125 theories of art appear i n the book, which corre-spond to the pattern of the cycle. Each theory has i t s own vocabulary and images and each has i t s idols and prophets. The theory that dominates the f i r s t half of the book i s that of 1 2-*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; II est bien c l a i r pourtant que l a realite* n'e3t pas leur principals affaire. Mais l a forme, toujours, celle que d'autres ont inventee et dont l a force magnetique les empeche de jamais pouvoir s'armchar. Tantot cette forme est celle, auz lignes harmonieuses et pures, ou les eerivains dits "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 leurs efforts. . . C'est l a si 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 essentielle est celle de faire "ressemblant."12° Formalism proposes the notion of the ideal form that, i n art, i s to be imposed upon the basic matter of l i f e . This ideal, i n Les Fruits d'Or, i s generally found i n classical models, by which is meant those authors who, by the passage of time, have created works considered worthy of emulation, authors such as Stendhal and Constant. Formalism is traditionalism, but i t i s also the judgment of literature by preconceived, aesthetic rules which under the guise of objectivity are imposed upon works of art. In his preface to Portrait d'un Inconnu Sartre has described this approach to literature as "la subjectivite de 1» object i f . " 1 27 Not only is this objectivity illusory, i t f a i l s also to respond to "reality" by concentrating upon the superficial. The art vocabulary of the f i r s t half of Les Fruits d'Or is evocative of this superficiality. A work of art is an "objet" or "une petite chose" or "un joyau." A completed form, i t i s not to be penetrated: "pas une fissure" says one character. Adjectives used to 1 2 oSarraute, Les Fruits d'Or. p. 128. 1 27sartre, "Preface," Portrait d'un Inconnu, p. 10. 89 describe art are "parfait" and "admirable" and "pur," while the qualities to be admired are the "grace," "ligne," or "galbe." Thus art is to 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 to describe the touch that seeks only to fl a t t e r the form. The imagery of formalism evokes the traditional as well as the idea of beauty as something superficial. It evokes, above a l l , the quality of the "manufactured,* the Imposition by man of conscious form upon the basic stuff of l i f e . 1 2 * * There are, i n Section 3» images of the garden, of the aristocracy and i t s manners, of tasteful fashion, a l l images suggesting not only the past but the cultivation of man. This Imagery is extended into the distinction drawn between the refined and the pure and i t s opposite, the vulgar and the sticky. In Section 4 this contrast of hard and soft recurs as we find 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 to the t i t l e "Les Fruits d'Or," i t i s the contrast between the hardness and the softness which is emphasized. The dominant image, however, i s that of the building or the town. Closely associated with the garden, those images evoke the domination of a chaotic nature by the orderliness and the rational 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 terre solide, dure, sur laquelle on puisse construire, creer une oeuvre. "On roman, pour moi, c'est comme 1 % t should be noted that much of the imagery used here to Illustrate the theme of art i s drawn from the two other themes. See below pp. 97-116. 90 Saint-PetIrsbourg batie sur des marais, comma Teniae gagnee, . _ au prix de quels efforts, sur les eaux troubles de l a lagune. ' This i s the clearest statement of the image of the universe ordered by man, but i t recurs i n various modifications throughout the text.^O Another group of images i s associated with the veneration that we have already found i n association with royalty or aristocracy. On a number of occasions we find religious images used i n connection with literature. For the formalists literature i s a " l i e u saint," and a work of art an "objet sacre" before which the masses should make obeisance: . . • unites anonymes de cette foule capable tout juste de de f i l e r en silence dans les lleux saints remplis des reliques que vous leur avez donnees a venerer, que vous leur avez offertes, imposees a leur piete, • . .131 Another group of images entirely is 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 idols, and for the formalists there are a number. Shakespeare i s no more than a distant figure of great stature who serves as an ultimate standard, but Baudelaire i s regarded with disapproval because of his descent into numerous sloughs of despond. Watteau, with his nostalgic classicism, and Fragonard, with his "ressemblance," are clear choices for the formalists amongst the painters, while the l i t e r a r y models are Stendhal and 1 2 % a r r a u t e , Les Fruits d'Or, p. 61. 1 3 0 T n e jjjagQ o t .j^e building w i l l be studied i n detail below. See pp. 116-126. 1 3 1Sarraute, Les Fruits d'Or, p. 52. 9 1 Constant. 1^ But the paradigm for the formalists is Vallry. His name i s mentioned only ones, significantly i n the episode in which the image of the building i s developed: Plus reelle que l a vie. Organise. Ordonne. Savamment construit. D'admirables proportions. . • Un style souple, puissant qui soutlent, comme ces colonnes, f i l l e s des nombres d'or, chanties par Valery, les grands, les vrais sentiments* . . ^ 3 3 Vallry's presence f i l l s this part of Les Fruits d'Or, and we can see his importance by referring 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 . N L 3 4 Nathalie Sarraute, l i k e Kipling's insatiably curious elephant child, asks embarrassing questions about Valery and gets the habitual responses* She then sets herself the task, "seule en face de l'oeuvre," of examining the great man's work, attempting to ignore the c r i t i c a l eulogies that have been poured upon i t . Some of this c r i t i c a l acclaim is worth noting for i t re-echoes words and passages that we find i n Les Fruits d'Or* . . . un poetique qui nous ouvrira un s i royal domains. Nulla f a i l l e ! Nulle lacunaI Le voila l e vrai classicisms! Quelle lecon de rigueur et de severite envers soi-meme! . . . l e Cantique des Colonnes, poeme des lignes^ des formes pures. . • Idifice qui chante, harmonieux a l a fois pour les o r eilles et les yeux* * . . 1 3 5 132STENDHAL and Constant appear frequently i n Sarraute's works i n this context. We find one or both of them mentioned i n "Flaubert l e pre-curseur," and i n L'Bre du Soupcon (pp. 8 4 , 9 4 , 1 4 9 )• In."Nouveau Homan et Realite" we read: "Ohaque jour vous voyez certains critiques et leurs lecteurs 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 voir, des lors, l e monde comme l i s l e voyaient et d'ecrire des oeuvres analogues aux leurs." *3%arraute, Les Fruits d'Or, p. 62. 1 3 % r . Sarraute, "Paul Vallry et 1'enfant de 1'elephant," Les Temps Modernes. (janvier, 1947), PP. 610-37. 1 3 5 I B I D . , pp. 6 1 2 - 1 4 . 92 La Jeune Parque is a "lieu sacra'," and only i n "Narcisse parle" does Sarraute find that indescribable element which signifies, for her, inspired art. The words she uses are l i k e those that characters i n Les Fruits d'Or use for similar experiences: ". . . ce quelque chose d'ineffable, ce rayonnement, cette vibration a peine perceptible. ft13° It i s not impossible to see i n Brule a caricature of valery, the s e l f -styled "Penseur," working i n solitude through the night. The "cerebral" Brule, rejecting the spontaneous, is described i n terms of a machine, and for Valery art i s mechanistic. Sarraute quotes from Varieto: " . . . (ecrire devant Stre, l e plus solidement et l e plus exactemant qu'on puisse, de construire cette machine de langage. . • ) . . .ft137 A f i n a l indication 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, at least for Sarraute's ar t i c l e , i s that, universally admired at the time, his work has since disappeared from sight. Varenger's poetry i s surely a pastiche of valery, and we even find mention of "sources soellees" which, unrelated to the text, i s a thinly disguised "fontaines soellees" from l a Jeune Parque. Formalism dominates the theme of art u n t i l Section 8 and the appearance of "le paysan." It stands for order, refinement, tradition, and reason and resists the viscous and disorderly. Brule i s the f i r s t great prophet of the school. He assiduously avoids contact with others and admires the esoteric, the refined, the "pur objet d'art." He i s ^ i b i d . , p. 616. J-37ibld., p. 616. 93 followed, i n Section 4, by a series of c r i t i c s who, sharing his admiration of "Les Fruits d'Or" offer conflicting interpretations of i t : Dr. Legris, 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 their theory are able to subdue any argument u n t i l a l l doubt is removed with the mystifying words of "les deux pairs." The greatness of "Les Fruits d'Or" i s so certain that Orthil can dismiss "reality" with the vocabulary typical of the formalist schools: Regarder. Ne pas se nourrir. Joie des yeux. Pas de " r e a l i t e . * C'est l a poiitesse parfaite. Aucune familiarite, 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 this lack of contact with " r e a l i t y . " In Section 7 we see a limitless number of interpretations of the book being offered, a l l of them justifiable by appeal to the objective theory, but none of which can be sustained against attack, f i r s t by "le 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 objecti-vity of the formalists i s revealed as vacuous, and we find a new theory appearing according to which art is 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 sujectlvite de l ' o b j e c t i f " to "1'objectivitl du subjectif." The vocabulary of subjectivism is diametrically opposed to that of 13%arraute, Les Fruits d'Or, p. 11?. 139 I t is tempting, and to some extent appropriate, to see i n the two theories i n Les Fruits d'Or, the contrast of classicism and romanticism with their respective emphases on society and individual, human order and nature. 94 formalism. .Whereas the formalist view centred upon the eye, the basic perception of the l a t t e r half of Les Fruits d'Or i s "la sensation," by which i s meant a direct experience: "contact," "vibration," "tintement," "resonnance," "modulation," "ondulation" are some of the nouns which recur. Adjectives or adjectival phrases to qualify these nouns are " f r a i s , " "neuf," "direct," "spontane," "leger," "a peine perceptible," while typical verbs could be "vivre" or "vibrer." In the subjectivist school the a r t i s t becomes "le genie" whose work i s "inexplicable." Images of the subjectivists are few, but those there are oppose the rational 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. The principal images are those of flowers (Sections 13 and 14) and of the child's hand (Section 1 4 ) T h e y are images evoking not only nature, but also growth. The subjective theme appears sporadically i n the f i r s t half of Les Fruits d'Or. The character i n Section 2, speaking to Br u l l , responds to "Les Fruits d'Or" with a l l the vibration appropriate to a subjectivist. Like other characters i n Section 4, he i s reminded that personal judg-ments are not necessary. "Faites done comme moi. Ne vous en occupez pas," says Brfile. Other people, responding personally to 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 to our l i s t e l e c t r i c i t y . On two occasions i t i s a terrible 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, 51). 95 shocked by the reality of the gesture cited by Marcel (pp. 64-67). It i s , however, "le paysan" who, entering the l i t e r a r y set from outside, introduces the subjectivist counter-attack upon formalism. On ne doit se f i e r qu'a s o l . II appuis son poing sur sa poitrine. . . A soi, vous m'entendez. A sa propre sensation, fit moi, moi, i l se frappe l a poitrine, moi, je vous l e dis, r i e z tant que vous voulez, vos "Fruits d'Or," c'est un beau navet. 1^! The emphasis of "le paysan" i s upon individual judgment, while the other character appeals to the collective authority of the eminent c r i t i c s . Parrot, i n Section 9, has to 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, into the credo of the subjectivist theory. The philosopher of Section 10 corresponds to Brftll i n Sections 2 and 3; both are, the spokesmen of their schools. Faced by the character who indignantly attacks the whole "edifice" of li t e r a r y judgment, the philosopher asks, i n contrast to Brule, why he should look for certainty. Pourquoi? Les gouts ohangent. II y a a certains moments certains besoins. St apres on veut autre chose. Comment voulez-vous empScher les gens de suivre l a mode, i c i comme In Section 11, i n an argument which defies logic, genius i s established as the main criterion of great literature, and, i n Section 12, i t i s It i s at this point that subjectivism divides. As a theory i t would seem to.deny the possibility of a society achieving consensus, en tout? Brehier's lack of genius which condemns him. ^ S a r r a u t e , Les Fruits d'Or, p. 135. 1 ^ 2 I b i d . , p. 170. 96 but the closed society, that seemed to have been dispersed by the arguments of individualism, suddenly reappears to pronounce i t s judg-ment as to who i s , and who i s not, a genius. The character who cannot hide his admiration for Br&hier is stoned by the others. Subjectivism has been objectivized. l i s se redressent tous ensemble, durois, serres les uns contre les autres, formant une seule masse: "Cui, mais 9a, dites done. . . Je protege mon visage, je courbe l e dos. . . Ca c ' l t a i t Rimbaud.*43 As Valery was the paradigm for the formalists, so Rimbaud provides the model for the subjeotivists. Conforming to no preconceived rules, exhibiting allegedly appalling taste, he writes inexplicably great poetry. Art, according to the subjeotivists who have objectivized their 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 les memes au fond, quand on y regarde de pres, tous des hommes en f i n de compte, bien pareils, malgre ce d e t a i l — l e u r oeuvre. . . nous ne song eons pas a y toucher, nous l a leur laissons bien volentiers. . . e'est l a un accident, une excroissance curieuse, e'est l a une maladie, e'est l a , nous l'accordons, un petit miracle. . . on ne peut pas l'expliquer. . . ^4 "L'objectivitl du subjectif" f i n a l l y , i n Section 13, reaches the point of denying subjective experience. To prevent a situation i n which no two people can reach agreement, the school of subjectivism i s driven to impose i t s models according to which each author can be categorized. Each writer is allotted his appropriate portion of genius, and li t e r a r y judgment becomes a process of arid historicism. But beneath the school 1 4 3 i b i d . , p. 205. ^ ^ I b i d . , pp. 202-203. It i s startling how closely this passage resembles the image of the club on p. 12. 97 of subjectivism the recurrent theme of individual response to art persists. In Section 14 i t appears again to proclaim i t s personal faith i n "Les Fruits d*Or,ff opposing the vocabulary of pure subjectivism to that of objective theory, and i t s images of natural growth and potential to those of supernatural buildings, of resurrection and renaissance to death and forgetfulness. \ What we see at this f i r s t level of Les Fruits d»Or i s a pattern of rise and f a l l corresponding to the cycle described by the plot. Using the theme of art 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 built themselves to a peak of unreality on the basis of an illu s o r y objectivity only to collapse i n a welter of subjective dissension, and a theory which denied to art any va l i d i t y beyond popular consensus. It is a satire upon lit e r a r y cliques and upon the pretensions of a l l theories of art, for they must a l l inevitably lose contact with the immediate sensation sparked by the word of the writer i n the breast or bowels of the reader. Appearance and R e a l i t y : — I t i s this illusory aspect upon which we wish to concentrate our attention at the second level of meaning we have defined. At this level we perceive not a single image, that of "Les Fruits 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 is reversed. The outer book, that of Sarraute, becomes a critique of the inner, and we, as readers, are aware of the superficiality of the Judgments passed by Brehier ,s readers. The relationship of the two books is equivalent, then, to the contradiction of appearance and re a l i t y . 98 In our preceding chapters we have frequently referred to Sarraute's opinions on "traditional" novels and their reliance upon i l l u s i o n i n order to create a resemblance to re a l i t y . It i s not sur-prising, then, to find that this i s a major theme of Les Fruits d'Or, a book with literature or, at least, 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 les oiseaux," Sarraute begins by outlining the subject matter that she l a t e r used i n Les Fruits 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 les nouveaux lecteurs de ces romans mais leurs plus grands admirateurs eux-mamas, quand par malchance l i s cammettent 1'imprudence de les rouvrir, eprouvent a leur contact l a meme sensation penible que devaient eprouver les oiseaux qui tentaient de picorer les fameux raisins de Zeuxis. Ce qu'ils voient n'est plus qu'un trompe-l'oeil .*46 Zeuxis was a Greek painter of the late f i f t h century B.C. whose claim to fame was his 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 Fruits d'Or c a l l our attention to this aspect of i l l u s i o n . On both occasions the image i s of people who, expecting ^SThis does not imply that this i s the only significance of the t i t l e Les Fruits d'Or, but merely that "trompe-l'oeil" i s a major theme. The essay "Ce que voient les oiseaux" was published at least seven years before Les Fruits d'Or. ^°Sarraute, L'Bre du Soupcon, pp. 131-132. ^ " Z e u x i s , " La Grande Bnoyclopidie, 1886-1902, 1314. The follow-ing quotation about,Zeuxis appears: "II s'attacha a perfectionner l a technique, chercha a rendre les jeux de.lumiere et d*ombre, poussa parfois l e souci de 1«exactitude jusqu'au tramps l ' o e i l . " 99 soft f r u i t , break their teeth on metal. Et puis, i l a trouve "Les Fruits d'Or." C o s t l e o&tl trcmpe-1'oeil qui l'a slduit. II m'a d i t : "Je voulais que l e lecteur creve de faim devant ca." Comme la brave dame* . . "II faut que ceux qui veulent eroquer les pommes juteuses, les affames, se cassent les dents l a -dessus.wA*»° The opposition of appearance and reality i s , then, of f i r s t importance i n Les Fruits d'Or. Again this theme i s defined by i t s own vocabulary and images and we shall start our study of the theme by looking at them. Central to the theme of appearance and real i t y i s , of course, the question of perception. In Les Fruits d'Or the vocabulary of per-ception i s sharply and clearly divided. There i s f i r s t the realm of perception dominated by the eye and the largest word group in the book i s associated with sight. We find continuous reference to sight with the words " o e i l , " "regard," "voir," "regarder," "observer," "montrer," and others. But there i s another common group associated with inner perception^ here we find such words as "sensation," "instinct," "eprouver," "sentir," and "percevoir." The two modes of perception correspond to two contrasting worlds which we shall c a l l the hard and the soft. On the one level , then, we shall find words related to 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 principally " s a i s i r " but also "s'accrocher," "s'agripper," "attraper," "tenir." Adjectives, as might be expected, suggest s o l i d i t y : "solide," "dur," "sec," "lourd," or, i n more abstract contexts, ^-^Sarraute, Les Fruits d'Or, p. 116. 100 '•sur,n "vrai," "absolu"; people w i l l be "pur," "integre," "franc,*» and "honnote." On the side of softness the words evoke i n s t a b i l i t y : "substance," "masse," "mouvement" for the nouns; amongst verbs we shall find "glisser," "remuer," "couler," and more abstractly " v a c i l l e r , " "hesiter," "balancer." The appropriate adjectives for this world are "mou," "moite," "gluant," "tlede," "douteux." There i s a further group of words which denote a slightly different sort of movement, words that we have already mentioned i n connection with the theme of art. These are "vibrer," "palpiter," "vivre," "modulation," "ondula-tion," "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 pejorative vocabulary of re i f i c a t i o n ivith such words as " p e t r i f i e r , " and "couvrir," "pacotille," and "camelote." This outline of the vocabulary of Appearance and Reality is far from exhaustive* It i s intended to show the dualism of Sarraute'3 view of the world* On the one hand, there i s the solid world perceived by the eye and subject to the grasp of the hand; this i s the superficial world to which we are accustomed i n everyday l i f e , and the reproduction of which, Sarraute would claim, is the aim of the "traditional" novelist. On the other hand, there i s the subterranean world, "les endroits obscurs de l a psychologie," which i s i n a constant state of movement, and which she i s attempting to uncover. 1^ The hard and the soft corre-spond to appearance and reality, respectively, since i t i s this surface A^°The opening paragraphs of two articles by Sarraute, "Nouveau Roman et Bealite" and "Les Deux Realites" (Esprit, j u i l l e t , 1964), clearly show the distinction we. are making here between the two r e a l i t i e s . which masks the true level of action of the world as Sarraute sees i t . At times the ripples on the surface betray what l i e s i n the depths, but usually i t i s a screen whose purpose is to conceal. Andre Comtesse has pointed to the dialectic 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 finds that she i s involved i n what he cal l s existential psychoanalysis: En definitive, cette "psychanalyse existentielle, t t s i l'on peut nommer ainsi l a methode de Nathalie Sarraute, ne devoile pas une essence de l'homme comme l a libido 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 libid o et l a volonte de puissance ne sont que des moments, un projection de soi-meme sans cesse manquee. This same dialectic i s at work i n Les Fruits 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 to the apartment to ask again her question about "Les Fruits d'Or" has the sensation of standing on the brink of a chasm. She is conscious of two levels of being; overtly she wishes to ask her question, concealing i t behind the subterfuge of looking f o r her gloves, but subliminally she i3 experiencing vertigo and even madness. She clutches at the question to save herself, using the vocabulary of hardness with which we are familiar: "Mais je dois s a i s l r , retenir du brasier, je dois sauver. . . 1 5 n A n d P Q comtesse, "L'Imagination chez Nathalie Sarraute: l a Dialect ique du Fluide et du Solide," Etudes des Lett res, "VI (juillet-septembre, 1963), pp. 192-205. 151 Ibid., p. 204. It should be noted that other c r i t i c s do i n fact find a psychological essence. Sarraute herself indicates that fundamental to her characters i s this "terrible desire for contact." For Gerda Zeltner i t i s the need for reassurance. 102 c*est i a . . . laissez-moi. . . voila, je vais l e toucher, l'arracher. . .*»x52 This same consciousness of the dichotomy of existence appears again i n Section 2. Here the character distinguishes between " l a patrie retrouvee," where he finds " l a seeurite," and "les contrees barbares." The distinction i s underlined by the image of the "fLLs dlbauche qu'impregnent encore les moiteurs" set i n contrast to his mother, who i s pure and with "un regard confiant." Section 4 provides us with a number of examples* The woman, for 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 in an image of two worlds, the one hard, the other soft. Later a group of women, "el l e s , " described i n terms of a flood of water, seek confirmation of a hypothesis i n the sol i d examples of antique, classical sculpture. Similarly, the group, wanting proof of what has been said of "Les Fruits 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 solid 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 parcelle, mais dure, solide. . . . " A f i n a l example should serve to confirm the pattern. In Section 10 a character assails the changeability of taste i n art. Accused of wanting absolute truth, he suddenly feels as though he has stepped into the very quagmire that he was hoping to reclaim: "Inquietants clapotis. . . On s'enfonce. . . C'est vers ces terres spongieuses qu'il s'start eland, c'est elles qu'il avait voulu defricher, ^ ^ a r r a u t e , Les Fruits d'Or. p. 23* 103 l a hache, l a torche a l a main. . The consistency of this dichotomy between the hard and the soft does not i n i t 3 e l f justify regarding i t as equivalent to a contrast between appearance and reality, but this connection can be established by reference to other incidents and images. We have already cited the two references i n the text to the t i t l e . The images of soft f r u i t and hard gold clearly indicate the contrast between the appearance of the object and i t s actuality. Throughout the book we encounter this 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 hesitait encore et qui volt surgir a point nomme l e petit bouton, l a legere eruption, . . ,nl54 T l l i s image t e s t i f i e s to an internal and external level of existence, only one of which i s accessible to the eye. The surface i s an impenetrable mask which conceals the face behind, but i t can, at times, with the appearance of almost invisible symptoms, indioate what l i e s beneath. An image similar to this occurs in Section 6. The woman who has caught Mettetal lying (and a l i e i 3 a type of f ,trompe-l ,oeil B) evokes her sensations by using the image of a respectably-dressed gentleman committing indecent acts behind the,bushes of a public park. On this occasion the superficial characteristics tota l l y conceal the reality that l i e s beneath. In Section 4. a woman who claims to know the true nature of a man, realizes that he is playing a role: 153ibid., p. 171. 154ibid., p. 8. 104 C'est presque une joie pour e l l e , une sorte de jouissance douceatre de l e connaitre s i bien, de voir comma protege par sa carapace, son visage sur lequel rien d'autre ne peut etre decele que l a plus placide impartialite, l a plus parfaite indifference, i l les e"pie, . . . x55 The central image of this dual existence of the individual i s the mould. The individual sees himself as an ill-defined, f l u i d exis-tence which seeks some solid form into which to pour himself. The image appears three times with slight variations. Jean Laborit (p. 78) i s prepared to adopt any shape that w i l l suit the group; the character in 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 sais, comme vous, manier l a substance invisible se coule, s'adapts parfaitement. . . elle prend forme, je l a vois. . . w A56 i n image we see the total integration of hardness and softness and of appearance and re a l i t y as the man prepares to take on the appearance that society wishes to give him. In the third example i t is the group i t s e l f , as individual, which i s seeking the reassuring, s o l i d form offered by the mould. Society, l i k e the individual, displays this same duality of appearance and real i t y , though i t is society i t s e l f whioh i s the appearance, the superficial form that i s imposed upon groups of people with l i v i n g and v i t a l relations betoeen them. Thus, i n the f i r s t section, we find the image of the club with a l l i t s superficial symbols of membership in 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 in 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 salt d'ou," and are guilty of "tous les deregle-ments, foisonnements, grouillements, magmas informes, . . . " By contrast the new order i s seen i n images suggesting a l l that i s struc-tured and s o l i d : "Voici les grands corps de l'Etat. Le gouvernement. Les membres des assemblies, Les cinq academies. Les grandes acoles. Les f a c u l t l s . . , « ^ ^ The images of the palace and the fortress, which we shall discuss later i n detail,58 QISQ present a view of society i n which the external appearance no longer corresponds with the reality beneath. By Section 13, where we find the image of the morgue, the l i f e has departed the corpse of society; here art and art i s t s are categorized according to the authors whom they are believed to have copied. "Generation spontanee," which would t e s t i f y to a real i t y that can be contacted, is dismissed. "Tout est d i t , " and i t remains only to lay out i n order the bodies of yesteryear. Sarraute seems to be suggesting that the institution of society, whether aristocratic l i k e the palace or egalitarian l i k e the morgue, must necessarily petrify the reality of human relationships. The f i r s t reference to the palace appears i n Section 1: "Vous me faites tous penser a cette piece de Pirandello ou les infirmiers jouaient l e role de courtisans." 1^ 0 This image projects a sense of illusoriness upon the subsequent developments of the palace society; people are not, i n reality, what they seem. The converse i s true at the end, for i n the dismemberment of Brehier, and ^ I b i d . , p. 49. below, pp. 116-26. 159 •"Sarraute, Lea Fruits 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 art, so we can very bri e f l y indicate i t s incorporation of the concept of Appearance and Reality. The formalist school clearly 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 style which "tamise, raffine, epure, resserre entre ses con-tours fermes" and rejects "ce qui est mou, flou, baveux, gluant." The same is true of Marcel who sees art as the "drying up" of the f l u i d i t y of the "processus obscurs." "Jole des yeux. Pas de'realitS 1," proclaims Orthil to his delighted listeners. If the formalist school i s con-sciously i n search of i l l u s i o n rather than reality, the subjectivists are no less guilty. In the development of an objective theory they deliberately suppress "generation spontanee" and any claim to an individual contact with reality, f o r art i t s e l f i s a process of the reproduction of timeworn themes which bear no relation to l i f e . The f i n a l image of art presents the contrast of the crocus and the building: "Qu*importent les batiments et les constructions aux dimensions du monde s i elles ne contiennent pas l e crocus encore ferme, l a main d»enfant. . . Est-ce l a ou non?" 1 0 0 This statement in the form of a hesitant question contrasts the imposing appearance, with i t s suggestion of massive sol i d i t y , to the miniscule or unrealized potential of l i f e , the r e a l i t y which forms the basis of art. In this treatment of the theme of Appearance and Reality and 107 i t s different manifestations i n Les Fruits d'Or, we have attempted to show that Sarraute has consistently opposed an a r t i f i c i a l and petrified appearance, to a rea l i t y whose principal characteristic i s movement or l i f e . In doing this we might seem to have digressed considerably from our original 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 Fruits d'Or"; yet Brehier*s book, and the judgments made about i t by i t s readers, i s the subject of reflection of Sarraute'S book and of ourselves as i t s readers. We are challenged to compare the f i c t i o n a l experience with our own, to question the validity, not only of a r t i s t i c judgments, but also of the psycho-logi c a l and social circumstances i n which these judgments are made. l o A Individual and Society:—-This brings us to the third level of meaning which we have identified, the level at which the similarities 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 is 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 this l e v e l , appears as the representation of the human condition, and i t i s for this 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 l 6 L j i S O n Braun goes so far as to maintain that Brlhier's book is "traditional n according to Sarraute's terminology. We have really no reason to believe this, and indeed such an assumption makes Les Fruits d'Or d i f f i c u l t to understand. Sarraute has deliberately made no comment about "Les Fruits d'Or" because, while a "traditional" novel would be appropriate i n the f i r s t half of her book, she i s scarcely l i k e l y to present such evi-dent devotion to a "traditional" novel as that seen i n the last section. The inner book must necessarily-.remain an enigma. Tison Braun's claim i s the more strange, sinoe she sees the last long soliloquy as being the utterance of authenticity. 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 is almost a rit 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 alternating and balanced dialogue and "sous-conversation," the nature of their relationship," to this third person. The man recoils from the society which he pictures as a herd (p. 7), en insane asylum (p. 10), a club whose members are remarkable for their identical tastes and apparel (p. 12), and a sect involved i n dubious religious practices (p. 13). He rejects a l l contact with such a society, while the woman seeks i t , seeing the third person f i r s t l y as a genuine believer wishing to share his faith ("Je vous apporte l e pain benit.") and then as a lost soul seeking help from tham. She is also afraid, however, that he w i l l abandon them, leaving them out-side the society of which he is a part. Her " p i t i l " i s , thus, partly fear, and i t is fear which dominates her effort to re-establish contact when she returns to the apartment. Her vision i s of a society i n which true understanding exists, a vision contained i n an image of paradise (pp. 23-24). It is a vision which is dashed and the image of paradise i s transformed into a composite metaphor of condescending wealth, of alien lands, and counterfeit coinage. This analysis of Section 1 provides the basic elements of the theme of Individual and Society, for the individual i s always found to be seeking definition of himself i n terms of the group. Society i s seen, usually, as closed or as a solid object. It 109 Is described by words such as "cercle," "bloc,'* and "masse." Its principal task appears to be that of protecting itself against attack from within and without, so we find a number of words associated with militarism: "defendre," "proteger," "vaincre," together with military titles and an assortment of weapons. The vocabulary associated with the c i v i l order is 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: "juger," "ordonner," "imposer," "exiger." "MeW" and "ensemble'1 are words that recur continuously throughout the work and point again to society's continual drive for solidarity. He who fails to conform is 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 in the vocabulary associated with the individual are "rassurer" and "contact." The individual is often anxious: "gene," "inquiet," "mai a l'aise," and he is always uncertain: "vaciller, 1' "douter," "hesiter," "balancer," "se debattre." His relationships are dominated by a vocabulary of contradictory movement: "abandonner," "approcher," "ecarter," "se tendre," "arriver," "s'eloigner," "offrir," "repousser," etc., and by conflicting emotions: "pitie"," "dedain," "ccnfianee," "peur," "respect," "mepris," "amitie," "haine." And there is a vocabulary suggestive of a continuous state of searching: "errer," "tatonner," "se perdre," "fouiller," "chercher." We have already noted many of the main images related to the society 1 0^ and have also discussed l o 2 S e e above, pp. 104-106. 110 the psychological aspects of the individual i n our section related to character. A°3 Our purpose here is not to repeat that work but to indicate the fundamental l i n k between the individual and his society. It i s a link which the individual cannot reject, and which the society i s constantly seeking to strengthen. In our discussion of Section 1 we saw how two characters bad, perforce, to take a stance vis-a-vis society. One adopted the position of resistance, the other sought integration. In Section 2 the charac-ter does not even contemplate resistance; his dilemma i s which of two societies 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 is torn between God and the devil. His f i n a l decision leads him to advocate the extermination of those i n the society he has rejected, but he can only do this when safely ensconced within the reassuring framework of i t s r i v a l . The woman who admires Lucien finds herself faced with the same dilemma, but her choice is made for her by Lucien, and we observe the slow process by which she adapts herself to her new society u n t i l f i n a l l y she i s totally absorbed. At f i r s t the change i s seen as a sacrifice, the paradigmatic social act, but then the forbidding landscape of her new country begins to look more accommodating, less l i k e a graveyard: Et voila 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 souffle tiede, un familiere, intime, rassurante bouffee. . . quelque chose qu'elle reconnect. . . A64 l o % e e above, pp. 62-71. l o^3arraute, Les Fruits d'Or, p. 57. I l l The pattern of the dilemma which the individual seeks to resolve by-adapting and being absorbed into a new society appears throughout the book. We see i t i n the group's search for the promised land and, at the end of Section 4, i n the case of the man caught between the society of the palace and the bizarre woman. The woman of Section 6, at one point, seems willing to accept Mattetal's society—"La justice n'a pas Ste" bafouee, l'ordre n'a jamais cease de regner"—but f i n a l l y her convictions force her to speak out. She s t i l l believes that her words w i l l usher i n the true society. Section 8 offers the example of the character attempting to accommodate his views to those of w l e paysan" as he tr i e s to replace his old, discredited values by a new set. In Section 12 the man who was once at the centre of the c i r c l e , which is society, finds to his horror that he is now a pariah because of his l i k i n g for "Les Fruits d'Or," and he desperately attempts to reimmerse himself i n the group, describing his vain sub-mission by means of the image of the mould. The overwhelming need of the individual to find definition i n terms of a society is prompted by the individual's sense of floundering i n a bog or of being lost in a trackless waste whenever he finds himself alone. Such Images crop up throughout the book. In Section 1 i t is the third person who is imagined as lost in the night. He himself, i n Section 2, i s afraid of returning to the chaos of "la barbarie." The disappointed group of Section 4 sets out once more across "tbundras glaeees." In Section 10 the character, when faced with the ill-defined philosophy of subjectivism, feels himself sinking into the bog. For a person so lost the support of just one other i s 112 seen as reassuring, for 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 his own satis-faction at least, the falseness of the formalist school is incapable of resisting i t alone, but looks for support from another: "Pour qu'il puisse se sentir absolument sur, invincible, pour que puisse tricmpher l a verite", i l l u i faut juste cela: un seul temoin." 1 0^ In Section 8 "le paysan" and the other character come close to forming the nuclear society. It i s depicted i n the image of the horse and rider, the couple i n complete harmony: "Colles l'un a 1'autre, ne faisant qu'un seul corps comme l e cheval de course et son jockey, l i s s'elevent, i l s planent. . t n A 0 ° The image changes abruptly when there i s disagreement and i3 mocked by a series of new images evocative of different types of society. There i s the "roi de cirque couronnS de carton" and also the "faux prophete." The ideal couple i s transformed into a pair of vulgar drunks: "Rires obtus de brutes, bavardages d'ivrognes. . • Grossss tapes sur l'epaule, penohes l'un vers 1'autre, titubant, enlaces. . . Ho, ho. . ." A°7 The couple appears again at the end of the book. The solitary character sees himself, the reader, i n perfect union with the author, Brehier. But this in i t s e l f i s not sufficient, and he is forced to seek his reassurance i n society. Again just one other person w i l l l 0 5 l b i d . , p. 106. 166 P» U9. l o 7 l b i d . , pp. 154-55. These two images from Section 8 are preceded by another of two men fighting. It would seem to be related to the battle between David and Goliath, the champions of two distinct societies. 113 suffice: Et seuls, s i seuls, c'est a ne pas croire. J'ai 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 sauve. l o° . The individual, then, from the i n s t a b i l i t y and insecurity 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 . If we reverse our gaze and look at the relationship from the point of view of the group, two patterns emerge. There is f i r s t l y the response of the society to changes arising within i t , a process of internal reorganiza-tion, and secondly there is the pattern of reaction to dissent. In the f i r s t pattern we find the example of the writer who finds himself displaced i n the popularity of the society by Brehier. He feel3 as though his throne has been usurped: "Comment, au cours de quelle nuit, tandi3 qu'il dormait paisiblement, s'est operSe l a prise du pouvoir? Quand l e traltre e s t - i l passe" du cStl de 1 'usurpateur?"10*^ A second example i s Parrot who, having allowed himself to be trapped by the group into a discussion on an even footing, f a l l s from his position of power l i k e a dethroned king. The character of Section 12 also regrets his change of status from a central position i n the society to pariah. These examples indicate that, while the structure of the group may remain static, there is a constant process of change and l 6 8 I b i d . , p. 216. l 6 9 l b i d . , p. 80. 114 readjustment as author succeeds author, and eminent c r i t i c loses favour and is replaced by another. The other pattern we observe is that of the treatment of the dissenting individual by the society. On the one hand, he may submit and be reabsorbed, as happens i n the case of Henri in Section 4. His slight demurral to the unqualified priase of Brenier brings a l l the power of the state to bear upon him: "Les forces de l'ordre alertees, intervlennent aussitSt. . . Une main se pose sur l u i . . .'Ah non, Henri, . . . l w l70 Jean Laborit i s another example of a person who buckles before the authority of the inquisition. Guy, in Section 7, confesses his previous doubts and is admitted into the group as a result of his abject repentance. In Section 12 the group is eager to readmit to 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 to be taken against those who threaten the solidarity 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 to substantiate their claim "le l i v r e en main." She is dismissed as "cette f o l l e , cette tete brules." The woman of Section 6 i s not only regarded as mad but i s figuratively stoned and excluded: "On l'entoure. Leurs regards l a lapident. E l l e est repoussee, expulsee. Le cercle des fideles se referme. Le calme un instant trouble, revient." 1'^ i n Section 7 i t i s 115 Jean-Pierre who suffers expulsion and lat e r the character of Section 12. It i s , indeed, the ultimate fate of Brehier who i s tossed into 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 interests of harmony, but the individual, too, acts out of the very same motivation. His relationship to his society i s disturbed by some circumstance, some-thing which strikes him as false, l i k e the gesture of drawing a re-production of Courbet from a pocket or a l i e by Mettetal. He reacts with the intention of re-establishing the previous state of harmony that existed before the disruption. The women of Section 1 and of Section 6 hold visions of an ideal society restored by their timely intervention i n a world that no longer rings true. But they, inadvertently, become catalysts in a process that ends with their own symbolic death or banishment. It 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 of his own world. This is the force of the end of Les Fruits d'Or when the solitary character, conscious of the process by which vogue succeeds vogue and action produces i t s reaction, i s nevertheless driven into attempting to direct the course of the movement. This, too, is the significance of the image of the machine which, without our assistance, moving in step with time, drives incessantly forward. At the end of Section 1 i t i s the "minuterie" that leads the woman upwards to the "salle commune'' as though against her w i l l . It i s the machine that causes the downfall of Parrot and the machine again, this time a clock, 116 which produces the inevitable reaction to the question "Et les Fruits d'Or?" The question has long echoes, for, however much we feel the effects of Les Fruits d'Or, i t i s , after a l l , just another book l i k e "Les Fruits d'Or" and subject to the same changes of taste through time. Thematic Coherence At the beginning of this chapter we noted that the themes we were to use as illustrations were by no means restricted to a single level of meaning. Each.could be used at either of,the other levels. 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 Art 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 for analyzing the interrelationship of themes. In Lea Fruits d'Or, which exhibits so l i t t l e plot, the coherence of the work depends largely upon the thematic structure. Falk perceives that themes run parallel but converge at points which he c a l l s "component motifs." These may be incidents or episodes which display similarities and which may be indicated by the presence of a leitmotif, a linking word or phrase or image. In applying this analysis to Les Fruits d'Or, we shall not attempt to analyze the entire work but shall take as leitmotif "le ba"timent" both i n i t s occurrences as a word and as an image. In the table below we shall examine the episodes i n which a above, pp. 97-107. 117 building appears and determine i t a significance i n terms of our three themes. We have stretched "le b&timent" to include other closely linked images: "le palais," "la v i l l a , " "la maison," "la forteresse." We also note references to other themes in order to indicate the close integration of the text. T A B L E 7 "LE BATIMENT"AS LEITMOTIF Example 1 Page 2 Reference 3 Context 4 Art 5 Appearance and Reality 6 Individual and Society 1 47 n . . . l e soldat Immobile derile dans l a rue de la v i l l e ocoupee.* A notable c r i t i c proclaims his opinion of "Les ^ruits d'Or" Art i s the impo-sition of order on chaos. Images: Religion, Mystery, Esoteri-cism. So l i d i t y of army vs f l u i d i t y of resistors. Repression of people by i n s t i -tutions of society. Images: Military, class, religion. 2 61 "St-Pet ersbourg ba/tie sur des marais, n etc• "Nobles-v i l l es, places harmon-ieuses-spacieuses demeures-tTn nouveau monument s'elevent en parfaite har-monle." Marcel's exposi-tion of art. Establishing the new vogue with an objective theory. Art i s the imposi-tion of solid form on f l u i d matter. Images: Hard & soft, building & town. An idealized v i s i o n - " i l ferme les yeux." Sense of acting a part. Secret purpose of upsetting woman. Sense of harmony fe l t by Marcel. - "la i l s'est toujours promene." 3 69 "des salles de musee, des temples antiques,... l'Acropole." The women look for incontro-vertible evidence. Belief i n the absolute stan-dards set i n the past. Appreciation of art l i k e shop-ping i n the sales. Need of unstable to find stability. Image: water. 4 71 "un bloc de~ ciment grossier ne peut s'inte-grer, sans l e deparer, a un edifice en belle pier re de t a i l l e . " Henri believes that Marcel i s fooling them and that he can prove the fraud. Each detail to be as perfect as the whole. The fallacy of Marcel's argu-ment. Image: hallu-cination. Marcel seen as outsider; Henri in fact the outsider. Image: Justice Table 7 (Continued) Example l Page 2 Reference 3 Context 4 Art 5 Appearance and Reality 6 Individual and Society 5 87 "pays...qui se diploic dans l e lointain avec ses maisons, ses rues," etc. The group senses the possibility of discovering the truth. A r t i s t i c truth exists l i k e an orderly town. A vision only-'qu'on leur fasse voir." Image: mould. Prospect of perfect harmony. Sense of present inadequacy. Images: children, pupils. 6 100 "des portes bien gardees, des hautes gr i l l e s de la demeure royale ou ces princes de 1»esprit vivaient en-fermes...les vastes cours de palais roy-aux..." The vogue reaches i t s highest point of organization. The c r i t i c as sovereign. Art as an esoteric mystery. The f r a i l t y of the palace and the fraudulence of the mystery. Images: hallu-cination, magic, religious transe. Division of society. Exclusion of people. Need for defence. Images: royalty, defence, religion. 7 162 " I l a^ete attir 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. A r t i s t i c truth cannot be demonstrated objectively. Revelation of fallacy of formalist theory. Only an impress-ive surface. Images: bubbles, electro-plating, magic. Individual at odds with society. Need for defence. Image: wolves. 8 169 " i l secoue l ' l d i f i c e en-t i e r . " Attack on a r t i s t i c judg-ment and vogues. Art i s t i c judg-ments no more than changes i n fashion. Objeotive c r i t i -cism a fraud-"la.frime." Image: hallu-cination. Attack by i n d i v i -dual on society; total dissension. Images: insect, terrorist. Table 7 (Continued) Example 1 Pag© 2 Reference 3 Context 4 Art 5 Appearance and Reality 6 Individual and Society 9 201 "le palais est vide, l e roi detrone est en fuite..." Re-established group destroys last vestiges of old society. Replacement of formalist pre-tension by total scepti-cism. The f raudulence of the palace f i n a l l y revealed. Empty, or con-taining only the vulgar. New harmony seen i n identity of a l l people. 10 218 & 219 wJe suis a l l e v i s i t e r ces grands bati-ments. Qufimportant les batiments . . . s i alias ne contiennent pas l e crocus. ..." Resistance of the individual to the new vogue. F i d e l i -ty to Brehier. Contrast of superficiality of building with innate l i f e of crocus. Crocus - Reality Building -Appearance. Individual alone and at odds with society. Image: noise and turmoil * 121 It w i l l be readily seen from our table that the selection of other leitmotifs would be equally f r u i t f u l . The images and themes appear so intimately linked that we could begin our analysis from any point. In our examples we have stretched "le batiment n to include images of the palace, the fortress, the house and the town. We could very easily have considered royalty, religion and the garden as motifs that are equivalent to the building. Inclusion of the military could have led us to look at 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 this extraordinary interrelationship of imagery and theme. Even the vocabulary used is 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 this relentless concentration of vision, reminiscent of Racinian tragedy. We can read our table horizontally and vertically, the vertical 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 parallel themes at any one selected point i n the text. In the vertical columns 4 to 6 we find again the development of the three themes which we analyzed i n the preceding section of this chapter. Of the other columns, Column 2 ("Reference") situates the leitmotif of the building i n i t s immediate textual context, and we can see, by reading down the column, the variations i n meaning. At f i r s t the building i s regarded positively; "la v i l l e occuple" i s associated with order and "honnetes 122 gens,'* and i n the second example we find "nobles v i l l e s , " "Venise gagnee. . . sur les eaux troubles," a vocabulary underlining the virtues of the building. Until the long image of the palace, the building i s always admirable, a classical model, an harmonious form not to be destroyed by banal details, and a vision of a distant land. The example of the palace associates the building with centrality, authority and exclusion, this l a t t e r being developed in Example 7 where the building is a fortress. The building can be toppled (Ex. 8) and i s empty (Ex. 9). Finally i t i s pluralized to act as a symbol not only of Brehier*s book but of a l l books that enjoy or suffer the same fate. Thus the building can mean "Les Fruits d'Or," or books (including Les Fruits d'Or), or the vogues associated with new books, or literature i n general. Always i t brings us back to art suggesting each time an added dimension. The gradation of the motifs can be found i n Column 3. Here "le batiment" i s situated i n the broader context of the plot, and we can observe i t s rise and decline from the occupied town, through the splendid city, to the palace, whence i t declines to the fortress and f i n a l l y to the empty shell that i s ransacked and totally devoid of l i f e . I f we now read the table horizontally we can see how our three themes intertwine within the context of each component motif, and how each derives additional significance by i t s correlation with the others. Example 1 i s the moment at which the new author is introduced into the l i t e r a r y society. It opens with blunt and unsubstantiated proclamations of excellence. The speaker, a c r i t i c , i s assumed to know. The theme of art i s expanded by the use of the imagery of 123 hardness and softness ("soldat immobile,'' "l'ordre regno" vs. "puan-teurs et sueurs," etc.) and the point of view of the narrator is clearly favourable to the former. It is the theme of the Individual and Society that i s most prominent with the images of military 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 Art, Perception and Society. In our second example the "nobles v i l l e s " and palaces, etc. are Marcel's projected view of art. Once again the solid form of the building i s imposed upon the f l u i d substance of l i f e . But a broader dimension i s added. Marcel closes his eyes to see his idealized city of art and does so very deliberately. He i s clearly acting, and we know from the beginning of the episode that he wants to upset the previous speaker. There i s in Marcel's whole attitude something which does not ring true, a feeling which is reflected back on to the motif of the building. Another important suggestion i n this episode i s that of the sense of integration between the individual and his society. Marcel i s not necessarily deliberately lying; i t i s possible that he believes i n this vision of the city, and i t i s clear that he regards i t as the appropriate setting for himself: l a , i l s'est toujours prcmenl." Clearly he belongs to the e l i t e as shown in the images of royalty. The building i s the ideal classical model i n Example 3. On the one hand, i t offers security because of i t s familiarity, the reassurance that the women of this episode lack, for they are the 124 water which breaks the dam; on the other hand, the resort to Greek harmony i s associated with the opening of the sales at a department store. Again, by association, the image of the building 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 hallucinating the group. He claims to have seen the fallacy of the argument, but he also sees Marcel as a criminal, some-body to be condemned or expelled from society. In effect, of course, i t i s he himself who i s not i n touch with his society, who i s i n conflict with i t just as the "bloc de ciment grossier" conflicts with "un edifice en belle pierre de t a i l l e . " Harmony i s the vision 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 eyes—"qu^n leur fasse voir"—suggests the blindness of the vision, 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 finding something s o l i d . The image that summarizes i t s situation i s that of the mould (p. 88). Thus the vision of the orderly city i s cast into doubt. The promised land, which i s perceived as a realm of incontrovertible a r t i s t i c judgment, does not really exist, we suspect. The group that aspires to i t is likened to the pupils submissive to their teacher, or to the child deceived by i t s parents. What i s evidently experienced i n the present i s lack 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 art has reached i t s highest peak of organization, bat the point of view clearly 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 hallucinations: 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 leurs tours. Observez-les attentivement. . .173 Images of magic and religious transe add to the impression that the society of the palace i s more apparent than real, depending for i t s survival upon the blindness of the people. No longer does the building present an image of harmony; i t now is seen to exclude, to be deliberately desigaed to keep people from the truth. The images of royalty and religion, added to 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 illusory foundations have been revealed and the images of defence ("barricades," "gardes," "enfermes at t r i p l e tour") add to the sense of i n s t a b i l i t y . In Example 7 the building has become a fortress. It i s simply there for the protection of those inside. Parrot wrongly assumes a state of harmony i n the world outside the fortress and i s trapped and f a l l s from power l i k e a king dethroned. The building/fortress i s a superficial covering which has been shown to bear no connection with re a l i t y . Like "Les Fruits d'Or" i t has lost i t s magic, the bubble has burst. There is nothing beneath the electro-plated exterior that ^^Sarraute, Les Fruits d'Or. p. 95. 126 so appeals to the eye. By the time we reach Example 8 "Les Fruits d*0r" has been discredited. The building image has acquired the extra dimension of the vogue and i t is thi3 that is now under attack. Again we find the image of hallucination and the l i t e r a r y fads are described as "la frime." At this point the individual is clearly at odds with his society, to such an extent that he wishes to destroy i t . (The other describes him as "le terroriste.") The whole process of judging art i s under attack and is countered by subjectivism. Our last view of the palace i s at the moment that i t is being ransacked (Ex. 9). It i s revealed to be empty, to contain nothing of value but only the cheap and the vulgar, which, i n terms of this new form of society, i s r e a l i t y . The pretensions of the palace, of the formalists, and of Brehier are displayed i n a l l their falsehood, and the new harmony i s proposed "dans l a mesquine r e a l i t e " (p. 204) where nobody is revered and nothing is sacred. In the f i n a l Example i t i s the emptiness of the building that i s compared with the v i t a l i t y and promise evoked by the image of the crocu3. It i s clear from what the motif has acquired i n the previous examples that the building is the appearance compared with the r e a l i t y of the flower. It is the size and grandeur of the building that is stressed, but also the fact of i t s emptiness. It is related through the immediate context to the turmoil and noise of society, which i s contrasted to the isolation of the solitary individual seeking words to express his sense of contact with the aesthetic re 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 is a difference between the theme of art and the two other themes. We used art to i l l u s t r a t e the level of meaning of the plot, the simple mirror image, 1^ tut i t s movement conforms closely to that of the plot with i t s overall c y c l i c a l pattern. Actions arise from the controversy about art, so that however far we plunge into other thematic material we are always brought back to comments about "Les bruits d'Or" and about aesthetics. The context of the themes of Appearance and Reality and of Individual and Society are, however, different. In the former case, we have consistently found i n each of our exemplary motifs the fraudulent or the sham. The two levels of existence, the hard and the soft, are always present in the image of the building, but there i s a frequent association within the motif, with images of hallucination or magic, or with ttl'oeil.n The suggestion i s constantly there that rea l i t y is 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 individual as well as of the society for the re-establishment of that ideal condition, their ultimate integration. Our study of the themes has brought us back to the tropism, for their content recalls the movement of the tropism described i n our previous chapters. We find a distinction between the three themes, ^^See above, pp. 85-86. 128 for while Art illustrates principally the level of the f i c t i o n , the other two reflect the rhythms of the narrative, the rhythms of conflict and the cyclical movement from harmony through disharmony and back again to harmony. It is to the tropism that we turn our attention i n , our concluding chapter. V CONCLUSION The focus of this 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 conflict and the desire for harmony. It is a process which takes place, for the most part, within the individual, the external and visible signs being merely the results of long internal movements. The overall pattern of the tropism is circular i n the sense that the sequence of the seasons, or the daily response of plants to the movement of light or, indeed, the cycle of l i f e and death are circular. For Sarraute the tropism i s the description 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 is no escape and, l i k e i t or not, he must define himself i n terms of his society. The tropism is a l i t e r a r y device by means of which Sarraute presents her vision of the world. It i s this l i t e r a r y usage that we have attempted to analyze i n this study and which we shall review i n the f i r s t half of this chapter. The point of view adopted by Sarraute enables her and her reader to participate as immediately as possible i n the multiple and complex movements that arise between the individual and his society. 129 130 Actions and events are not mediated by a narrator or implied author, and the reader experiences the slings and arrows of fortune as they are recorded by the various characters. He is enabled to pierce the surface of action 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 role for the narrative elements of the work. Action i s displaced by extensive reflection and complex responses to events, which f a l l into the circular pattern that we have described above. From an assumed condition of harmony a stimulus releases a conflict whose desired outcome is the re-establishment of harmony. It i s a structure which can be seen at the level of the work as a whole, i n the fourteen sections, and i n the episodes within those sections. Tropisms exist within tropisms; one releases another to create an i n f i n i t e series, and they can be juxtaposed and mutually conflicting. In the style we can trace how Sarraute i s able to achieve her effects. In 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 eternally incomprehensible. More precisely she i s able to express the conflict between the two views by means of the distinction that she draws between "sous-conversation,11 with i t s wealth of imagery, and "conversation," with i t s cliches. 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 move-ments of the tropisms. The f i c t i o n of Les Fruits d'Or i s notable for i t s limited role. The expansion of the narrative has restricted the plot to a mere skeleton, a few statements and gestures which form a sequence and from which stem the dramatic conflicts of the inner world. The role of the plot i s largely mechanical but i t , too, conforms episodically to the pattern of the tropism with i t s regular triadic structure of Action-Keaction-Outcome. Character, l i k e plot, has lost i t s prominence. There are few well-built 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 individual to his environment, an orientation which, with a few minor variations, i s common to a l l men and women. The individual aspires to harmony with his environment and any disruption of that harmony provokes a struggle for i t s recovery. Space and time, usually considered as aspects of the f i c t i o n , show, i n Les Fruits d'Or, the predominant influence of the narrative. Space i s not described but i s apprehended by the reader through the words and feelings of the characters. The isolation from society, the sense of claustrophobia, and the circular structure of space is a condition, not significant at the level of action and f i c t i o n , but only i n the psychological relationships between people. Similarly, time is not chronology, related to the sequence of the plot, but the ineluctible law of movement which l i e s beneath the tropism. The time 132 of action i s limited and interrupted, but the time of the interior world that Sarraute i s exploring i s potentially l i m i t l e s s . The "mise en ablme'" creates a t r i p l e level of meaning i n Les Fruits d'Or. At the f i r s t level the meaning is s a t i r i c a l and can best be illustrated in the theme of Art which conforms closely to the movement of the plot. Two other meanings, however, arise from the opposition and, then, the identification of the two books bearing the same t i t l e . Throughout the book there are tendencies to both conflict and integration. The conflict i s best seen in the theme of Appearance and Reality while integration is the ultimate goal of both individual and society. While running parallel to one another, the three themes frequently touch, lending to each other, upon contact, a greater dimension. The interaction of the themes creates a coherent thematic structure which, once again, reflects the movement of the tropism. The rise and decline of the vogue, whence emerge the various a r t i s t i c pronouncements, provoke conflicts within the society, conflicts which turn fundamentally upon what i s true and what false, what i s real and what apparent. But the persistent and repetitious conflicts appear within theme of the Individual and the Society, where they alternate with the opposite desire for integration. Sarraute's vision of the world as tropism implies that any topic (e.g., the plot) w i l l be worked out within a l i t e r a r y context i n which the distinction between appearance and rea l i t y i s subject to the laws governing the mutual needs of individual and society, of organism and environment. 133 Thus far i n this chapter we have done no more than summarize what we have demonstrated at greater length i n the body of the thesis. 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 significance i n the l i g h t of that predominant structure. But our attention has been concentrated on the internal 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 0 175 attempted "interpretation." l J In turning now to interpretation, we can see two areas for comment; f i r s t l y , we shall discuss the tropism i n terms of i t s a b i l i t y to represent reality and secondly we shall consider i t s contribution to literature. There can be no doubt i n the mind of any reader that the interior movements, which Sarraute has called tropisms, form part of his experience of l i f e , and, especially, part of his relationship with others. Constantly, we respond with keen sensitivity to remarks, and the speaker may well be unaware of the effect that his, perhaps offhand, comment has made. We can nurse for a long time internal wounds or carefully guarded hopes, but when we f i n a l l y reveal them to the person responsible, he views what he has produced with incredulity. Sarraute i s right in assuming an inner realm of experience which is invisible, rich, and can be brought to light 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 is inescapable. Man i s total l y determined by his environment. Even consciousness does not lead to liberation as we see at the end of Les Fruits d'Or, for the character i s aware of his and mankind's situation 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 Fruits d'Or, t e s t i f i e s to this sense of an inevitable and mechanical law that guides our destiny. For Sarraute the i n d i v i -dual i s a prisoner of his society, and any society w i l l seek the submission of the individual. Jaccard bases his study of Sarraute 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 restricting her vision to i t alone.1'''? Though Proust described the aristocratic circles and those who aspired to them, we do not therefore assume that his vision of society is restricted to that relatively minute class. Sarraute i s describing human relations and her view displays an extensive pessimism for not only i s man trapped, but the interior movements, which he 176j accard, Nathalie Sarraute. ^ ^ I t i s almost impossible to give any totally satisfactory definition of "bourgeoisie." We find, however, i n Sarraute's works more than one class represented. Clearly, i n Martereau, the family of the narrator and Martereau himself belong to different classes. While Alain Guimez and family i n Le Planetarium would certainly be part of the bourgeoisie, i t i s doubtful i f Germaine Lemaire can be placed i n the same social group for 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, for she turns out to be no different from the other characters. Sarraute i s not describing one class but "une matiere anonyme, identique chez tous." 135 experiences continuously, are largely responses of fear and suspicion. Her people appear unable to react positively to one another, of i f , 171 as occasionally happens, they do, they are soon sorely disillusioned. The purpose of our comments i s not to plead for optimistic literature but to indicate the type of world that Sarraute appears to be portraying. It is a world that Northrop Frye would describe as "demonic.'* Some,of the features of that world are noted i n this quotation from Anatomy of Criticism: Opposed to apocalyptic symbolism is the presentation of the world that desire total l y rejects; the world of the night-mare 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 desire, such as the city or the garden has been solidly 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 his examples from Les Fruits d*Or so appropriate are they to i t . But this i s not a l l , for he sees the ci r c l e as a significant symbol of the demonic world and the pharmakos as i t s archetypal character. Sarraute, however, does not even offer us the alternative of the apocalyptic, f o r the garden and the building and the city which Frye, l i k e a good formalist, sees as creations of man's divine s p i r i t , are for her mere sham, "de l a frime.** Within this hopeless environment or society there i s one l i t t l e may cite as examples of disillusioned hope the experience of the woman who returns at the end of Section 1 seeking a positive 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 prevail. The man of Section 12 hopes that his 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 e , Anatomy of Criticism, p. 147. 136 gleam, but i t i s so small that we must beware of building any theory about i t . It i s expressed in the images of the crocus and the child's hand and i n the language associated with vibration and the imper-ceptible rustle of l i f e . Like the flame i t i s sensitive and can easily be extinguished. Its principal attributes are i t s tenderness and i t s potentiality but i t seems incapable of development or growth. In Les Fruits d'Or there is no example of any authentic value or sensation beyond the level of these feeble suggestions. The crocus and the child's hand f l i c k e r weakly i n the vast and ominous mass of demonic and falsely 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 impor-i tance of Sarraute's t r o p i s t i c vision i s that i t s use is not restricted to Les Fruits d'Or. It i s the fundamental pattern of a l l her works as she herself reiterates whenever she discusses her own writing. 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 localized and immediate sensations that are the tropisms. Through the single narrator, however, she found a way of recording a continuous experience, as events and opinions of others transformed the narrator's world. In Martereau i t i s the attitudes expressed by the narrator's family which shatter the solid, reliable appearance of Martereau, provoking continual changes i n relationships. With Le Planetarium Sarraute begins to use the multiple narrator and we already find those group scenes in which action or word produces i t s inevitable response. In the latest 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 for a world of security based on universal aesthetic values. Sarraute's work, as a whole, can be seen as a continuous attempt to express with even a greater precision 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 obligation. She c i t e s , i n L'Ere du Soupcon, Kafka and Dostoevsky, who have had such an influence on her cenception of character. x Ivy Ccmpton Burnett appears to have helped her to 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. Virginia Woolf comes closest to being a direct predecessor with her desire to record the experience of the inward eye, her use of the multiple narrator, and her attacks upon the conventions of novel writ ing. But Sarraute differs 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 feel ing, 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 incipient madness i n Mrs. Dalloway, or a blemish upon the objective eternal beauty of the English country garden i n The Waves. 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 . It i s this that Sarraute has above a l l contributed to l i t e r a t u r e . 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, his alienation from his environment, but she has discovered his escape into "les fonds obscurs de l a psychologie." What Sarraute has revealed to us, and is constantly struggling to express, is that i n a world in which mankind i s prisoner of his environ-ment and society, i n which a l l overt, authentic action 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 false appearance of modern l i f e , and the tropism i s both Sarraute's perception of the inner reality, 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. Portrait d'un Inconnu. Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1956. L'Ere du soupcon. Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1956. Le Planetarium. Livres de Poche. Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1959. Les Fruits d'or. Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1963. Le Silence suivi de l e Mensonge. Paris: Editions Gallimard, 196?. Sntre l a vie et l a mort. Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1968: Vous les entendez. Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1972. b) Articles "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'Institut de Sociologie de l'Un i v e r s i t l de Bruxelles (Numero special, 36e annee, II, 1963), 431-441. "Les deux realites." Esprit ( j u i l l e t , 1964), 72-75. "Flaubert l e precurseur." Preuves (fevrier, 1965), 3-11. 139 140 I I . General works consulted Barthes, Roland. Sur Racine. Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1963. "Introduction a 1'analyse structurale des r e c i t s . " Communications, VIII (1966), 1-27. S/Z. Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1970. Boisdeffre de, Pierre. Une histoire vlvante de l a litterature  d'aujourd'hul. 7e ed.; Paris: L i b r a i r i e Academique Perrin, 1962. Booth, Wayne C. The Rhetoric of Fiction. Chicago: university of Chicago Press, 1961. Cocking, J. M. "The 'Nouveau Soman1 i n France." Essays i n  French Literature (November, 1965), 1-14. Ehrmann, J., ed. Structuralism. New York: Anchor Books, 1970. Falk, Eugene H. Types of Thematic Structure. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967. Friedman, Norman. "Point of View in Fiction: The Development of a Concept." PMLA, LXS (December* 1955), 1160-84. Frye, Northrop. Anatomy of Criticism. New York: Atheneum, 1966. Girard, Rene. Deceit, Desire and the Novel; Self and Other i n  Literary Structure. Translated by Y. FTeccero. Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 1965. Guiraud, Pierre. La Stylistique. Paris: Presses Universi-taires de France, 1963. Lane, M., ed. Structuralism: A Reader. London: Jonathan Cape, 1970. Marzac, Nicole. "Le theme du pays perdu dans l e reman contem-porain." Revue des Sciences Humalnes, CXEZ ( j u i l l e t -septembre, 1965), 431-440. Mauriac, Claude. L'Alliteration Contemporaine. Paris: Editions Albin Michel, 1969. Moore, Harry T. Twentieth Century French Literature, Vol. I I . Carbondale: Southern I l l i n o i s University Press, 1966. Nadeau, Maurice. Le nouveau reman depuis l a guerre. Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1963. 141 Ricardou, Jean. Problemes du nouveau roman. Paris: Editions du Seuil. Rock, Rima D. "Old and New i n the French New Novel. n Southern  Review, I (Baton Rouge, Louisiana, October, 1965), 791-802. Riffaterre, Michael. Essais de stylistique structurale. Paris: Flammarion, 1971. Rousset, Jean. Forme et Signification. Paris: L i b r a i r i e Jose Conti, 1962. 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, Virginia. Collected Essays. London: The Hogarth Press, 1968. Zeltner, Gerda. La grande aventure du reman francais au XXe siecle. Paris: Editions Gonthier, 1967. III. Works about Nathalie Sarraute Arendt, Hannah. "Nathalie Sarraute." Merkur, XVIII (August, 1964), 785-92. Aury, Dominique. "La communication." NRF, XI ( j u i l l e t , 1963), 94-100. Barjon, Louis. "Les f r u i t s d»or." Etudes, CCCXIX (1963), 79-85. Blot, Jean. "Nathalie Sarraute: une fine bule." NRF, XVI (aout, 1968), 111-118. Brombert, Tictor. "The Novel as Recorder of the Pulsations of Time. . ." Review of Les fr u i t s d*or, by Nathalie Sarraute. New York Times Book Review, February 9, 1964, p. 4. Brophy, Brigid. "Halfway to a Happening." Review of Les Fruits d^or, by Nathalie Sarraute. New Statesman, August 6, 1965, Cismaru, Alfred. "The Reader as Co-creator i n Nathalie Sarraute^ Novels." Renascence, XVI (Summer, 1964), 201-07, 218. Conn, Ruby. "Nathalie Sarraute's Sub-conversations." MLA, LXXVIII (May, 1963), 261-70. "Nathalie Sarraute and Tirginia Woolf." Un Nouveau  Roman. Edited by J . H. Matthews. Paris: M. J. Minard, 1964. 142 Comtesse, Andre. L•imagination, chez Nathalie Sarraute: l a dialeetique. du fluide et du solide." Etudes de Lettres, VI (juillet-septembre, 1963), 192-205. Cranski, Mimica, and Yvon Belaval. Nathalie Sarraute. Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1965. Finns, Lucette. "Nathalie Sarraute, ou les metamorphoses du verbe." Tel.Quel, XX (Hiver, 1965), 68-77. 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 University Press, 1969. Jaccard, Jean-Luc. Nathalie Sarraute. Zurioh: Juris Bruck Verlag, 196?. Magny de, Olivier. "Nathalie Sarraute ou l'astronomie interieure." 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. Paris: M. J. Minard, 1964. Micha, Rene. Nathalie Sarraute. Classiques du XXe siecle, LXXH. Paris: Editions Universitaires, 1966. Peyre, Henri. "Out-Prousting Proust." Review of The Age of  Suspicion, by Nathalie Sarraute. Saturday Review, March 16, 1963, P. 93. Picon, Gaetan. "Sur 'les Fruits d'or'." Mercure de France, CCCXLVIII ( j u i l l e t , 1963), 485-93. Pingaud, Bernard. "Le personnage dans l'oeuvre de Nathalie Sarraute." Preuves, CLIV (deoembre, 1963), 19-34. Roudiez, Leon S. "A Glance at 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, Pierre. " . . . and the Novelist as Transmuter: Nathalie Sarraute talks about Her Art." New York Times  Book Review, February 9, 1964, PP. 4-5, 3o7 Sontag, Susan. Against Interpretation. Laurel Edition. New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1969. 143 "St. Aubyn, F. C. Rilke, Sartre, and Sarraute: the Sole of the Third.' 1 Revue de Litterature Comparee, XLI (1967), 275-84. Temple, Ruth. Nathalie Sarraute. Columbia Essays on Modern Writers, XXX7III. New York: Columbia University Press, 1968. Times Literary Supplement. "A Pronoun too Few." January 1, I960, pp. 1-2. Tison Braun, Micheline. Nathalie Sarraute ou l a reoherehe de  1'authenticite*. Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1971. Watson-fWilliams, Helen. "Nathalie Sarraute's Golden Apples." Essays in French Literature, III (November, 1966), 78-93. Weightman, J. G. "Nathalie Sarraute." Encounter, XXII (June, 1964), 36-43. Wood, Margery. "Norman Mailer and Nathalie Sarraute: a Compari-son of Existential 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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