2.21. Action analysis: conclusion

 

So far we have been studying narrated actions quite apart from their specific presentation in a narrative.  Our next chapter will be devoted to those presentational mechanisms: by studying the action as it effectively appears in a narrative, it is the story  we are studying.  By definition, all narrated actions are mediated by discourse, and everything we have said so far must be considered as provisional, an abstraction which cannot be studied apart from its textual concretizations.  At the analytical level we have undertaken up to now, only those strcutures which allow us to understand the narrated universe in itself, as if it were not transmitted through signs and semiotic structures.  In a broad generalization, we can say that the structures of the narrated world (including the action) and the discursive structures of story and narrative are kept clearly apart in classical texts, while experimental or avant-garde texts tend to blur the difference between the narrative and the narrated world.  The narrative technique of writers like Nabokov or Beckett often establishes a circulation between the levels of the narrative text which is paradoxical or contradictory when seen from the standpoint of standard narrative practices.  We shall study this problematization of the ontology of the narrated world in a section devoted to reflexivity in narrative.