Like a topology of narrative, Gerard Genette theory of narratology is regarded by most specialists in the field of literature as a reading tool that articulates an important milestone in the nurturing of the literary theory. By using narrative voice as a tool through which all the other categories are joined, Genette engages the context of production as an important element. Christian wolf is one of the withstanding novelists from the former East Germany. Cassandra, a very intense, difficult and prolific book was first published in 1983. The book was authored from inside a repressive regime, and its figurative function tends to cover its simple existence as a visionary whose visions are doomed to disgrace or simply a fiction. In a nut shell Cassandra stands as feminine author who struggles to pass her voice and more so her guilt at her betrayals and part in Troy’s crime stands for Christina outstanding implications in Germany’s delusions and errors.
Application of Gerard Genette theory can be applied in Cassandra’s novels by exhaustively discussing the internal mechanisms of the story and the form taken by the narrative. This can be done by discussing four entities that are: time, level, the narrative and mood.
Narrative mood: the mode of execution of ideas used by wolf explicitly creates a very unpredictable environment for the reader. The story line employs distancing and other aspects to create a very uncertain mood that governs the flow of the plot. For example when Andron becomes Polyxena’s lover, Achilles demands Polyxena in exchange for the body of Hector, Andron does not resist, and in fact he offers Achilles without any remorse.
Christina wolf in his work incorporates distancing in the flow of events in executing the mood of the narrative. Distancing helps the reader to determine the extent of precision in the content being conveyed. Wolf uses both narrative of events and also narrative of words to explain what the character is doing, thinking or saying. Cassandra is narrated as an internal monologue in a flow- of -consciousness style. Cassandra knows very well that she will be soon be killed by Clytemnestra, Agamemnon's wife. As she prepares for her demise Cassandra reflects back her life as she unhelplessly awaits death behind the bars after having fallen as a victim of prison at the fall of Troy to the Greeks. Christina’s searing identification using her protagonist is made distinct in the first passage of the novel where the reader feels the merging of Cassandra’s voice and the author. The novel was written from inside a repressive regime. Throughout the novel Cassandra is seen to examine, introspect and even critiquing her personality. There is an exclusive use of narratized speech to show how words and actions have been integrated into the story line simultaneously as the story line matures up.
Apart from the narrative function, which manifests into any narrative, this succinct fictional story brings out a couple of important functions: the ideological function, the testimonial function and the communication function. The purpose of distancing and taking part of the narrator is to manifest and intensify diegesis in the story, the norm being that all narratives should be taken as fictional acts of language , rather than actual imitations of reality.
Narrative instance: The narrative instance is known to be the bridge between the narrative voices; the time of narration and the narrative perspective .Just like narrative mood, by looking at narrative instance one can gain a better view of the relationship between the story line of a given narrative and the narrator. The story line is presented in a zero focalization aspect as Cassandra has the ability to know more than the other characters about their thoughts and gestures. Like when she suspects that Helen is not in Troy that was true because Paris had already brought but Cassandra didn’t know thou she felt it. Basically according to Genette theory this story is presented in an extra diegetic level.
Narrative time: narrative time brings us up to speed with narrators’ final position in relation to the events being told. In reference to narration time, the story line begins when Cassandra describes her youth when she was the favorite daughter of Priam and ends when Cassandra meets Aeneas for the last time and asks her to leave Troy but she refuses. In the beginning the story is presented in a subsequent narration because Cassandra begins the story by reflecting her youthful days however, part of the narrative is presented in an analepsis anachrony and as a prior narration, for example, Cassandra has the ability to see things that will happen in the future. The frequency of events according to this theory, the characters especially Cassandra is able to recount more than once what happened once.
In a nut shell Gerard Genette theory in narratology has served as an important milestone to understand literature. Its application in Christina Wolf novel, Cassandra has helped learners to effectively and satisfactorily appreciate the role of narrotology in nurturing literacy theory.
Lucie Guillemette, Cynthia Lévesque. "Narratology." Signos (2012): 15-16.
Wolf, Christa. Cassandra: A Novel and Four Essays. Charlotte, North Carolina: Baker & Taylor publishers, 2009.