Drempellewens : die uitbeelding van bewussyn in vyf debuutromans (tesis) en Hanna in die park (roman)
Thesis (MA (Afrikaans and Dutch))—University of Stellenbosch, 2007.
Two separate texts are submitted towards the degree MA in Kreatiewe Afrikaanse Skryfkunde. Firstly, a thesis with the title ‘Drempellewens: die uitbeelding van bewussyn in vyf debuutromans’, and secondly a novel called Hanna in die park. The novel and the thesis are thematically related. The focus of the thesis is the portrayal of the consciousness of protagonists who, because of their age and situation, may be considered ‘threshold characters’. The question that is posed is the following: what kind of narrator and what narratological strategies can best express the unfixed nature of the protagonist in a so-called ‘coming of age’-novel? To examine this issue, theoretical tools are taken from mainly two sources: the work of anthropologists Arnold van Gennep and Victor W. Turner about the liminal phase in rites of passage, and Dorrit Cohn’s theories about the depiction of consciousness, as set out in her book, Transparent Minds (1983). Five debut novels are discussed using these concepts. They are Die Ryk van die Rawe (Jaco Fouché), Annerkant die Longdrop (Anoeschka von Meck), trips (Manie de Waal), Less than Zero (Bret Easton Ellis) and You Shall Know Our Velocity! (Dave Eggers). The liminal characteristics of the protagonists and their situations are discussed. Using Cohn’s three modes of narration, namely psychonarration, narrated monologue and quoted monologue, a discussion follows of what effect the kind of narrator and narratological modes has on the convincing and striking portrayal of a liminal character’s consciousness. The conclusion is reached that a narrator who is also in some kind of liminal position, or who experiences a threshold-consciousness, is most effective in the portrayal of the nature of liminality. The novel is about a young woman, Hanna Moolman, who is having trouble with the requirements of becoming adult. She works as a waitress in Stellenbosch and leads a somewhat lonely, frustrated life. Her relationship with especially her mother and her younger sister is strained. When her sister, a beautician in training, becomes pregnant, old sibling rivalries and family secrets are brought to the fore. During the crisis of her sister’s pregnancy, there are also various other influences on Hanna’s state of mind; among others, her part-time job as a researcher for an old lady who is writing about the domestic history of the Afrikaner woman, an impudent graffiti artist who seems to be watching Hanna, and a client at the restaurant where she works who leaves her mysterious notes.