L’Effet de Distanciation dans Le Père Goriot de Balzac

Asso Ahmed Salih


For decades, the most remarkable aspect of Balzac's novels which attracted the critics’ attention has been the reality effect in his stories. The narrator of Balzac’s novels does his best to persuade the reader of the likelihood of his story. In Balzac’s Père Goriot (Father Goriot), the narrator struggles not only to maintain his credibility in front of the reader but also to make him/her his trusted partner in the narration process. He uses unique narrative techniques that produce the estrangement effect; to keep the reader out of the story’s fictive cycle and to force him/her to take a critical stance to the characters and events. The narrator of the novel had succeeded to generate this effect approximately a century before the German playwright Bertolt Brecht formulated it as a theatrical and literary theory during the years 1930-1940. The estrangement effect in Le Père Goriot is produced through various techniques and methods such as narration in the third person, conducting direct dialogue with the reader using the second person pronoun (YOU), direct or indirect intervention, multiplication of narrative voices, and supporting explanatory speech and personal judgments and comments. Through the estrangement effect, Balzac narrator does not allow the reader to match himself/herself with the characters of the story, or to accept the events as an indisputable reality.



estrangement, narrative, reader, intervention, character

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