Secrets, epiphanies and ellipses: The uses of silence in William Trevor’s selected stories

Marta Goszczyńska

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/LC.2020.038

Abstrakt


This essay discusses three different uses of silence in William Trevor’s short fiction. First of all, it focuses on how silence is deployed on the thematic level of his stories, particularly the ones that depict the estranging effects of secrecy on personal relationships. Second, the essay draws attention to the writer’s exploration of a decidedly more positive aspect of silence in many of his scenes of epiphany. In such scenes, silence is no longer associated with mendacious secrecy; quite the opposite, it becomes a precondition for glimpsing into the truth, allowing Trevor’s characters to experience moments of heightened awareness and insight. Third, the essay looks at how silence also manifests itself on the formal level of the stories, in the ellipses, understatements and gaps that riddle Trevor’s narratives. These three uses of silence − as a motif relating to the larger theme of secrecy and concealment, as an integral component of the scenes of epiphanic insight, and as a shorthand for Trevor’s elliptical narrative technique − are illustrated with examples from stories collected in After Rain (1996) and Cheating at Canasta (2007).

 

Niniejszy artykuł poświęcony jest wykorzystaniu ciszy w opowiadaniach irlandzkiego pisarza Williama Trevora. W części pierwszej analizuje przykłady obsesyjnego wręcz skupienia autora na motywie tajemnicy i przemilczenia. W części drugiej zwraca uwagę na obecność ciszy w licznych u Trevora scenach epifanii. W scenach tych cisza nie kojarzy się już z akłamaniem i skrywanymi sekretami, ale ukazana jest pozytywnie, jako warunek umożliwiający postaciom wgląd w prawdę o sobie lub innych. Część trzecia skupia się z kolei na tych aspektach techniki narracyjnej pisarza, które mają swoje źródło w ciszy: elipsach, niedopowiedzeniach, lukach narracyjnych. Te trzy użycia ciszy − jako motywu związanego z tematem przemilczenia, jako stanowi pozwalającemu bohaterom na doświadczenie epifanii, wreszcie jako formalnemu elementowi narracji − zostaną zilustrowane przykładami z opowiadań opublikowanych w dwóch tomach: After Rain (1996) i Cheating at Canasta (2007).


Słowa kluczowe


William Trevor; short story; silence; secrecy; ellipsis; epiphany

Pełny tekst:

PDF (English)

Bibliografia


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