Wednesday, November 28, 2012


A trend I've noticed within most of the experimental texts we've read this semester is their tendency to end in an indefinite way. At times, the story may seem incomplete; at other times, circular. Perhaps we are unsettled due to the uncertain conclusion. To look at the last few lines of some texts that this applies to:

Women in Love
"You can't have two kinds of love. Why should you!"
"It seems as if I can't," he said. "Yet I wanted it."
"You can't have it, because it's false, impossible," she said.
"I don't believe that," he answered.
--> In this case, Birkin feels unsettled.

Voyage in the Dark:
"And about starting all over again, all over again...."
-->Here we have uncertainty of a potential circularity (rather than a new beginning).

The Golden Notebook
"The two women kissed and separated."
--> OK, but we have no idea where this leaves Anna. Not really.

Never Let Me Go
"I just waited a bit, then turned back to the car, to drive off to wherever it was I was supposed to be."
--> Vague, so vague. We don't actually see Kathy become a donor-- could she find her way out? Or is she accepting her pending doom?

This does not work quite as well for The Waves, Loving, Molloy, or Crash (please correct me if you disagree). But I think it's obvious in at half of these texts that we are left with uncertainty. I know I wasn't fully satisfied with these endings, though I accepted them because I had to. Perhaps this relates to Brad's discussion about the narrators that we can't fully trust. Maybe it's narrator unreliability that causes us confusion or doubt about the end of the novels. I believe this is a characteristic of experimental texts: questioning, contradictions, doubts, uncertain narrators and endings of novels.


  1. I agree with your last statement, the trend of uncertain storytelling is definitely an experimental characteristic of these texts. Molloy's whole story is told in this way. And The Waves and Crash are both stories of groups of connected people told by the author in fragmented memories and descriptions of time and place. So, yes I think that the reader is able to interpret these novels in different ways. Experimental fiction allows readers to be part of the story themselves, I feel like each of the novels we've read this semester have brought me into them--or engaged me in ways "traditional" texts often can't.

  2. The Waves ends rather inconclusively/vaguely, with that italics line about waves. We decided that waves symbolized a cycle, a repetition. So there really isn't an ending, only a continuance.


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