Things left unsaid: an examination of memory, representation and death in a work of fiction

Schmidt, S 2010, Things left unsaid: an examination of memory, representation and death in a work of fiction, Masters by Research, Media and Communication, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Schmidt.pdf Thesis application/pdf 636.00KB
Schmidt_Project.pdf Second Street application/pdf 731.23KB
Title Things left unsaid: an examination of memory, representation and death in a work of fiction
Author(s) Schmidt, S
Year 2010
Abstract The exegesis asks: what effect does memory (or ‘the concept of memory’) and repetition technique have on the representation of women and their death in Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides. Throughout the exegesis I use Gereard Genette’s theory of narratology, specifically Mood and Repetition Order, explore the literary basis of narrative representations of women and death as suggested by Debra Shostak, Marina Warner, and Elisabeth Bronfen, and discuss the paradoxical nature of memory and its associated problems within narrative as theorised by Steven Rose, D L Schacter, and Ann Rigney.
I suggest that mood, repetition order, and memory represent the Lisbon sisters as mythological beings who (particularly Cecelia) are cast as saviours and virgin martyrs, placing the sisters out of the ‘normal’ realm of female adolescence. Furthermore they are objectified by the male narrators, seen as the ideal female adolescent, who are at once mystical and unknowable yet desirable. The narrative achieves this representation because the female’s point of view is primarily absent from the text.
The novel, Second Street, is a fictional account of the 1892 Borden axe murders. Using three narrators, Lizzie (the accused), Benjamin (a fictional character obsessed with Lizzie), and 92 Second Street (the house were the murders took place), the narrative uses the ‘concept of memory’ and elements of repetition technique to explore the reasons for the murder and the ways in which Lizzie and Benjamin create mythologised realities for themselves.

Degree Masters by Research
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Media and Communication
Keyword(s) The Concept of Memory
Jeffrey Eugenides
The Virgin Suicides
Gerard Genette
Repetition Order
Point of View
Representations of Women
Women and Death
Narrative Representations
Elisabeth Bronfen
Ann Rigney
Steven Rose
D L Schacter
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Created: Mon, 04 Aug 2014, 14:39:16 EST by Maria Lombardo
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