Tyd as struktuurelement in Na'va van Etienne Leroux
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The experiencing of time in the novel is as subjective a matter as it is in everyday reality. Time can be seen as a structural element: the way in which characters handle their reality. Time also links a character with other characters and with the space. As narrative the novel also depends on the realization of the narrator's words in the time of narration. The novel works with events which are past and completed and that has a functional value: the reliving of such events leads to the discovery of new relations between a character and his reality and opens up new existential possibilities for him. In the reliving of past and completed events, memory plays a big role: it is the means through which a character can realize the past in the present, or better, to live the past as present. The experiencing of the past as present in the novel is made possible by the use of the historical present. In Na'va, for example, the funeral party in honour of Georgie is relived by the "paltry writer" in an attempt to determine why Georgie has committed suicide. For this purpose, he uses the historical present. In Na'va the facts are told from an after-the-event perspective. The "paltry writer" experiences each of these accomplished moments so intensely that they happen here and now: the characters are actors on a stage in his "house at the sea" (which he regards as his theatre) and they act the events here and now. Therefore, I prefer to speak about a "presentist" perspective in Na'va . The "paltry writer" experiences the already past funeral party in an achronological order of subjective importance. The characters in Na'va are representatives of the archetypes from the Collective Unconscious and as such are timeless. Leroux uses different motifs such as the motifs of the king, the farmer and the hunter which stress the cyclical idea. One can discover a character's philosophy of life from his experience of time. From the emphasis which the "paltry writer" places on the moment of experience and the cyclical idea, one can infer that he has an existentialistic orientated perspective. In Na'va one has to do with a psychic space with the implication that there are no objective indications of time. The process of individuation through which the "paltry writer" goes is universal and timeless and is not at all related to physical space. He sees his "house at the sea" as his theatre and that draws attention to the here and the now. Furthermore, the use of dialogue and of the question-and answer method creates the illusion of real presence and involvement in the reader's mind. Leroux uses myths, symbols and the historical present to make the events timeless. And that also suggests the universality of the events. The reader becomes an active and creative "co-structurant" of Na'va because there are no objective in= dications of time and because he himself is expected to place the events in a certain mythical and psychological context.
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