MASTERING THE UNMASTERED PAST TO MOVE THE PLOT FORWARD: DICKENS, MEMORY, AND NARRATOLOGY
Pingel, Tory Ann
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This thesis focuses on how the collected memories of Ebenezer Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol," David Copperfield in David Copperfield, and Esther Summerson in Bleak House affect the narratives of their lives. What makes this thesis significant is that it shows how a character creates one "self" when he/she has not remembered or reconciled past memories. When these characters are not living well with their memories, they become "lost selves" and create a "first story," or a narrative that is in danger of becoming stagnant or stalled. For example, Scrooge represses his childhood memories, and his discourse is short, rude, and disconnected from humankind. Scrooge's "first story" is that of a man who has no ability to connect with the people around him. It is self-centered, contains no personal relationships, and is destined to be left in the hands of the third-person narrator. This thesis argues that all of the characters take a personal journey wherein they reconcile their memories and live in the present with their memories in the past. Once the characters are able to successfully reconcile their memories, they are able to narrate their "second story." For example, when Scrooge realizes that he can leave happy and sad memories in his past while having real relationships in the present, he gains the ability to narrate his "second story" of his "best self." Scrooge's ability to recognize his memories allows him to collect the language necessary to reconnect with society, and he gains the discourse to take control of the narrative from the third-person narrator.
Discourse analysis - narrative
Narration - rhetoric