Finally finally finally. I finished my bachelor thesis, turned it in, took the books back to the library, emptied my dropbox file, took all my notes to paper recycle bin, removed the schedule from the door of my fridge – and poured myself a big glass of Australian white wine.
No more stress. No more studying. I am free to do whatever I want. I can read great novels, I can watch Netflix without feeling guilty, I can see my friends, talk to my boyfriend, plan my wedding, sleep late, stay up late, actually clean my apartment.. I can live the life like I want to!
Still I find myself thinking about the thesis. And the book I analyzed. I thought that after spending 6 months examining every sentence in it, I’d never want to read it again. But here I am, wanting to write about it. And i have sooo much to say, that I know I need to make a few different posts about it. Now I’ll just summarize some thoughts I have in my head, mainly about the thesis itself.
My thesis is 27 pages long, and I am very pleased with how it turned out to be. I have been wanting to blog about it for many many times, but I have had to stop myself. If I had shared details about my research before turning it in, without adding references to my blog to the thesis, I might have gotten accused of self-plagiarism. So it was better to stay quiet. Now I don’t have to worry about it, so I don’t have to hold back.
I study comparative literature, and my bachelor thesis is about focalization and narrative structures in a book called Hunting and gathering, by Anna Gavalda (orig. Ensemble, c’est tout, 2004). Gavalda has been my favourite author since 2006 when I first read Hunting and gathering. It is a magical book. I feel I could say it changed my life. It gave me hope. It helped me through some dark times in my life, only because it made me believe, that things will get better, no matter how bad they have been. If I could find even one person I could trust, I’d never have to be alone again.
That’s what the book is trying to say. Togetherness, that’s all. The story is about 4 people, who have suffered somehow in they life. They all have their personal traumas and sore spots. What they all have in common too, is that their biological families have let them down, unable to fill the expectations that comes with their role as parents or other family members. This theme is repeated in all works by Gavalda. So the lonely main characters have to build a new family from the people who actually care about them. And in these communion-like new families they create for themselves they can finally feel acceptance, and be their true selves, usually finding happiness and peace. The characters learn, that they aren’t anything alone, but they are able to find love and friendship despite their past.
I think it is a really beautiful message. The genre of the novel is romance, and there is a love story, but it is not the main reason the book is written. The story doesn’t focus on the romantic love, but the love for your friends, love for the everyday life. That’s why the book is remarkable, and more meaningful than one might think.
Interestingly though, the book is anything but an easy-to-read novel. The narrative structures are extraordinary, and they make reading an adventure – or more like a puzzle. They aslo provided an excellent chance to challenge Gerard Genette’s theory of focalization. In the thesis I had two main points. First I wanted to determine the narrator, then research the focalization, and show the difficulties of separating the narrator and the characters from each other in this novel. Secondly I wanted to show, that the structures had been used that way for a reason. The story was build in a way that supported the message of togetherness. The group dynamic between the characters was created by using the change in focalization, and rationing the voice of the narrator and the free indirect course.
I spent lot of time examining the narrator, and got very interesting results. Unfortunately I am unable to share the idea here, since I am possibly writing an essay about it, and trying to publish it. But I am very very exited, and can’t wait to get read all of the works of Anna Gavalda again. Now I look at it all in a new, exciting way.
I’m not going to repeat my arguments and go deeper to my research. What I want to say, is that Gavalda is an author worth getting to know to. The book are suitable for men and women both, and for all ages. – I first read Hunting and gathering because my grandfather told me it’s a good book! Just don’t expect it to be like anything else you have ever read.
Open your heart for Camille, Philibert, Franck and Paulette, and you will never be alone again.