By Celestine Chua
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41. See, for example, F. R. Leavis The Great Tradition (London: Chatto and Windus, 1947). chapter 1 Narrative Forms: Postmodernism and Realism ost periods of literary history reveal a set of writers who engage with the dominant literary modes and styles of the previous generation. Some of these writers see themselves as continuers of tradition, others as radical innovators, and some as a mixture of both. The formal characteristics of the British novel in the contemporary period have much to do with the debates around literary form that were established in the 1950s and 1960s, and which were themselves engaging with the debates of the 1920s and 1930s.
The text is keen to blur the distinction between reality and ﬁction, but is, by implication, signalling the dangers involved in applying cultural stereotypes to the real world. Keith, like Guy (and, indeed, Sam), is an individual who is unaware of the cultural and ideological forces acting upon him. 15 Althusser argues that under capitalism, people are not only politically exploited, but that their psychological frameworks are such that they are unaware of their exploited condition. For Althusser, ideology works to mask their subject position to themselves.
This corresponds to Althusser’s understanding of the way in which culture works to enforce the dominant ideologies of a society, and this, signiﬁcantly, aﬀects the way in which he relates to other people: ‘In the days after their ﬁrst meeting, the image of Nicola Six began to work on Keith’s mind. It worked like television’ (p. 55). Note here the conﬂation of real and ﬁctional for Keith: it is the ‘image’ of Nicola that works ‘like television’ on him: that is, works in a way that convinces him of the reality of the constructed ﬁction Nicola has tailored for Keith.
101 Things To Do Before You Die by Celestine Chua