Date of Award

1994

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Arts

Abstract

This thesis offers an original interpretation of Ford Madox Ford's novel, The Good Soldier, which focuses on the dialogic and intertextual qualities of Ford's writing. A representative body of previous critical analyses of the novel are reviewed to demonstrate that earlier interpretations, which have assessed the novel according to limited theories of epistemology or language, are inadequate to examine the social criteria for meaning that the novel invites. One of the tasks of this research is to show that the probable origins of Ford's dialogistic narrative modality lie in the writing of Fyodor Dostoevsky. Biographical materials are used to show that Ford was intrigued by Dostoevsky's writing, and was open to other indirect modes of influence by Dostoevsky through his contact with Russian people and their culture. To supplement this, a brief comparative summary of the similarities of plot, narrative structure, and language between The Good Soldier and Dostoevsky's story, The Meek One, will be offered as evidence of Dostoevsky's influence on Ford. The thesis then argues that Dostoevsky's influence manifests itself in the polyphonic form of the novel. The relationship between polyphonic structure and dialogism is used to suggest that the novel's narrative frame opens Ford's writing to the multifarious individual and social voices of his cultural context Furthermore, the thesis contends that multiple voices enter the narrator's discourse as forms of reference and quotation. To assist with this task, Durey's (1993) framework of intertextuality is applied to, and tested against, the novel. The dialogic nature of reference and quotation is utilised to illustrate how the narrator interacts with his speech environment, and the evaluative nature of this interaction is used to show Dowell's understanding of his world. This interaction evinces the narrator's reaction to many of the ineluctable features of the dominant ideology which surround him in the form of intertexts, and will show the means by which Dowell attempts to subvert some aspects of this ideology within his narrative. Conclusions are drawn on the manner in which the narrator makes meaning from his contact with reified, verbal and paralinguistic aspects of his culture. Ford's specific use of intertextual citations within is narrative modality are also examined.

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