UBC Theses and Dissertations
The imaginary universe of Jacques Benoit Sherman, Alan James
This thesis is a study of three of the.literary works of Jacques Benoit: Jos Carbone, Les Princes and Gisèle et le serpent. It will be an attempt to combine different spatial elements of the texts, literal and symbolic, in order to define and explore the imaginary universe of our author. In our first text, Jos Carbone, we look to establish the role of the unconscious. The background predominance of night and dark elements, unseen invaders, habitations, in short, the forest in general appears as a metaphor for the unconscious mind of the hero Jos Carbone. In our analysis, we attempt to explore this imaginary universe with intent to establish the theme of the territorial quest as it might apply to the central couple Jos and Myrtie. In our analysis of Benoit's novel, Les Princes, we endeavour to explore the allegorical world with an emphasis on the nonverbal communication of both the topography and the inhabitants of la Ville. We observe the confrontation of men and dogs in an effort to examine the role of what is considered civil or animal, pet or prey. The impotency and frustration of Coquin society coupled with corrupt Grâligean authority evoke the ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau on social inequality. We shall, therefore, attempt to apply some of his beliefs to imaginary elements of the novel. Finally, we shall examine the unvoiced refutation of the Grâligean's verbal law and the possible future outcome of la Ville's violent upheaval. Gisèle et le serpent will be studied in terms of a creative quest to write on the part of the hero and narrator, Gregoire Rabouin. We will take into account the displacement, transformation and constant motion of the text as well as the combination of fantastic and conventional elements. The role of the protagonist Gisèle is to be examined in terms of her capacity as role model, motivation to write and magical force behind the liberation of the hero's creative drive. We shall show the conflict created by the doctor's frustration with his rational profession and examine the unblocking of his creativity as portrayed by his relinquishing of control. Furthermore, an analysis of the parodies of his occupation, the deformation of language and patients as well as the fairy-tale format of the novel will confirm his desire to renounce medicine in favour of literary creation. Finally, we see the completion of Rabouin's narrative voyage in the discovery of his ability to write. In conclusion we shall state general observations about the imaginary universe as it applies to the comparison of our three texts. Specifically, this will entail the unconscious world, the violent and disruptive element and Benoit's tendency to stray from the rules of standard literary genres.
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