How can the contemporary novel be understood as challenging our sense of what is fact and what is fiction?

Introduction: “A great deal of confusion arises when one seeks to define the "reality" of literature. At one moment it is viewed as autonomous, the next heteronomous, in accordance with whatever frame of reference is being applied. Whatever the frame, the basic and misleading assumption is that fiction is an antonym of reality.” (Iser 1975) In the world of contemporary fiction, the line between reality and fiction has always been close too none existence, jiggered, uneven, blurry, and sometimes lost in the weaving plot the author created. Given the slippery subjectivity of reality, the notion of reality and fiction is proven to be even more difficult to determine. According to Andrews (1993), ‘given that external reality is a fiction, the writer's role is almost superfluous. He does not need to invent the fiction because it is already there’. Andrews’ argument of fiction’s nature explains the root of the confusion; the challenge presented for our notion of reality, fiction and the grey area between them. The essay will analyse the novel Atonement by Ian McEwan and The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. Both work of fiction present the challenge of contemplating over reality and fiction. There are several methods the author uses to blind the reader to achieve this ambiguity. This essay will discuss the various method used and to which extend the methods work. Both novels will be analysed individually, and presently compared. Argument 1- Atonement by Ian McEwan: According to Herman (2002), narrative comprehension even with regard to the most minimal stories is based on “enormously complex linguistic and cognitive operations”. Herman’s argument best explain the work of fiction: Atonement. Which, in a way it could be interpreted as the simple act of reparation for a wrong deed, however the real underlying meaning of the word atonement is the misguided obsession, discourteous manner of unleashing and creating ‘aesthetically perfect worlds’ (Mathews 2006). In Atonement, the

Briony’s acts of creating happy ending for the couples contradict the relationship between artistic imagination and truth to life. and the cohesiveness of meta-reality. and behaviour of the diagnosed (McEwan 2001: 354). and the miniscule details account of events told. It is impossible to determine . language. Through this. Another boundary of reality collapsed when it is revealed that the narrator is not the voice of ‘13 years old memory of Briony’. Briony has proven her undependable credibility as an author. thinking. Every event in the story seems too perfectly mould to fit Briony’s need. instead of delivering the truth to the reader. Another glitch to the story is the multiple perceptions of characters insight. This is proven when the narrator begins to question the events occurred in the book. However. conflation of fact and fiction. Briony stresses on disguising nothing and treating all ‘facts’ as a matter of historical record (McEwan 2001: 369). Evidently. Another factor that challenges readers’ judgement of reality and fiction is the conflation of reality and fiction by the author itself. This direct to the ‘reality’ created by Briony does not concede with the real ‘reality’ she should have presented to the reader. this might seem a little auspicious to the reader. Her priority is to use fiction to feel in control of the world she created. which are staged out to perform in Briony’s imagination. Finney argues that literature has entered deeply into the fabric of [their] lives (2004:78). the perspicuity of narration is thwarted by the unreality of Briony’s memory. judgment. instead just another piece of fiction narrated by the 77 years old Briony. The perspicuity rises when Briony is revealed to suffer from vascular dementia which affects memory. The elusiveness of Briony’s memory plays an important part in leading the reader into the confusion between reality and fiction.reader is blinded by the elusiveness of memory. The author fools the reader into believing her misguided reality by the manipulation of real historical events such as the retreat of Dunkirk. The reader depends solely on Briony’s memory: which is the central voice of narration to the novel. Briony at the age of 77 is still the young Briony possessed by the desire to have a world just so (McEwan 2001: 4). The existence of meta-reality in the novel also contributes to challenging readers’ judgement between fact and fiction. In another account.

In which none tells the complete story forcing the reader to render judgement and withdraw assumptions. On the contrary. The title. in the context of the feminist object-relations theory. He remains a cardboard cut-out. Argument 2. he is described as: “I've failed to convey Richard. The various reasons being: the method of Metanarration. is the insight of Richard. . generally the most objectively true are in fact is the voice of the least accurate version of the events occurred in the novel. In the novel. The forms of metanarration provoke doubts on the level of reliability and truthfulness of the accounts. and the big question why the novel is written at all. captivating her readers and gaining justification and revenge against her husband and sister in law. and what is truth and what is fiction (Klausnitzer 2008).how to regard parts of the novel as a historical account. raging with the implacable idea of assassins being blind is as unworldly as the idea of dissecting reality and fiction from the novel. a family biography. Shifting boundaries between subjective and objective representations of reality and its duplicitous mixture of fact and fiction. newspaper is used to mark the events as well as the attitude and the viewpoint with which the town views the series of events happened to the Chase family. Newspapers clippings.” However. which she’s kept locked for quite a long time. The readers have to negotiate between different perspective and genres (Howells 2005). The characters are two dimensional as the result of Iris’s point of view and insight. Iris’s portrayal and credibility as the main narrator. the Blind Assassin unfolds. Iris simultaneously hides and reveals her own story (Wilson 2003). The Blind Assassin is a novel about secret and lies (Howells 2005). Richard is the conqueror who seems to be trying to break Iris with his violence: she is his possession (Lahikainen 2007).The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood: As Iris unpacks her steamer trunk. For instance. The dominance Iris has in the novel is shown from the affect she have on the characters and storyline. the fictional story of Blind Assassin is the most reliable and accurate telling of history. In attributing the Blind Assassin to Laura. The portrayal and dominance of Iris Chase plays an equally important part of alluding fiction and reality from the readers. in any rounded sense. Iris wields her story like a weapon.

As argued by Iser (1975). Iris’s relationship with writing is not exactly ideal. Bouson (2011) argues that throughout the Blind Assassin. Regardless the arguments to the whys. both novels reflect the capability of the ambiguity: fact and fiction in literary works. Regardless. for the one is not mere opposite of the other-fiction is a means of telling something about reality. If fiction and reality are to be linked. Iris accounts that ‘the only way you can write the truth is to assure that what you set down will never be read. both works of fictions confirms the challenge of determining reality and fiction to the readers. the big question remains why Iris writes the novel slash memoir. Thus we no longer search for a frame of reference embracing both ends of a reality scale. it must be in terms not of opposition but of communication. Even if the examples are limited. She described writing as making her bleed to death. . Conclusion: In conclusion. Cynically. This question affects the whole plane of reality and fiction as the question begged what motivate Iris. Tandon (2009) argues that Iris is aware that she is dying and letting the truth out. The brilliant way the authors weave the story proves the endless possibility the world of fiction promise. and in defiance of female self-negation. Not by any other person and not even by yourself at some later date’ (Atwood 2000: 291). Iris articulates her needs and desires.In the end. Iris spins the reality and fiction to the story and lead the readers to believing what she wants. or for the different attributes of reality and fiction. we are not looking to define ‘fiction’ and reality’.

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