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Language and Literary Form in French Caribbean Writing$
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Celia Britton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781380369

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781380369.001.0001

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date: 21 October 2017

Breaking the Rules

Breaking the Rules

Irrelevance/Irreverence in Maryse Condé's Traversée de la mangrove

Chapter:
(p.77) 5 Breaking the Rules
Source:
Language and Literary Form in French Caribbean Writing
Author(s):

Celia Britton

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781781380369.003.0006

Condé's ironic realism, her deflation of stereotypes, operates not only in the themes of her novels but also on the stylistic level of paragraphs and sentences. By breaking the rules of conventional literary style, her ‘skidding’ and ‘looping’ sentences undermine the stereotypical hierarchies of importance that structure our understanding of social reality. This chapter analyses her style in terms of Barthes’ structuralist theory of literary meaning as an integrated, coherent hierarchy of levels, and his later concept of the codes that structure the realist text and thus reinforce the ideology that underpins it. For Barthes, only anti-realist literature can overturn the codes and subvert the ideology; but Condé's writing achieves the same result in a novel that remains entirely realist and thus impacts on our experience of the real world.

Keywords:   Maryse Condé, Roland Barthes, realism, stylistics, stereotypes

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