Dialogism and monologism : a study of modernity and postcolonialism in Jean Marie Gustave Clézio's Oeuvre.
Kwa, Brennan Yiew Khoon.
Date of Issue2013
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
This study of Jean Marie Gustave Le Clézio will investigate the monological aspects of modernity and colonialism as depicted in his literary novels. This investigation shall be divided into two chapters with the first examining the issue of modernity in The Interrogation and The Flood and the second exploring the theme of colonialism in Desert and Wandering Star. The first chapter shall examine the negative effects of modernity as portrayed in the novels, before moving on to explain why these effects can be construed as monological consequences. Le Clézio, by reproducing modernity’s monological effects in his novels, creates the conditions to critique and oppose it. The form which his resistance takes is that of dialogical discourse which subverts the monological hegemony of modernity and allows readers to recognize its negative influence so as to dialogically resist and oppose modernity’s monologism. The second chapter will explore the monological aspect of colonialism as it subjugates and colonizes lands and people under the justification of progress and civilization. Le Clézio demonstrates, however, that colonialism brings with it ruin and desolation instead of the promised peace and civilization. By writing about the individual human lives and figures caught up in the monological grip of colonialism, he diminishes the feeling of otherness which readers feel toward cultures and peoples foreign to us. It is in this manner of diminishing otherness and celebrating dialogue that he counteracts the monological effects of colonialism. This two-pronged study of monologism and dialogism in his novels will attempt to uncover the ways which Le Clézio uses dialogical discourse to resist the monological influences of modernity and colonialism.