What’s Novel about the Novel?
“The novel form seems to me, in effect, to be the transposition on the literary plane of everyday life in the individualistic society” (Goldmann, L. 1975(P.7) The novel has a unified and plausible plot structure. The novel form is unique as it allows for a more complete story and usually conveys verisimilitude. The novel’s sheer size allows novelists to write multiple scenes which include developed characters, various places and detailed descriptions. These characteristics of the novel can be observed in Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.
“Defoe often advocated a plain style, believing that “that speech or that way of speaking which is the most easily understood, is the best.” (Faller, Lincoln B. 1993 (p.78) Defoe writes Robinson Crusoe in the language of his readers. In this way, the novel form is a private individual reading. We experience a private sphere of thought rather than a public shared experience like the play. Unlike Shakespeare’s plays or many poems, the novel Robinson Crusoe conveys everyday, ordinary speech such as the language of prayer and for example- Lists: ‘I had neither food, house, clothes, weapon, or place to fly to’ (Defoe, D. 1994 (P.72) The register of language used and the use of detailed lists brings order and shape to the novel. The form of the novel also incorporates many different styles of writing such as diary entries, journals: ‘From the 1st of October to the 24th’ (Defoe, D. 1994 (P.73) The use of the calendar encloses time and orders Crusoe’s existence. Here, the act of writing is dramatized as different styles of writing are combined into one form. It is these characteristics that make the novel form unique.
Daniel Defoe also complies with the novel form by portraying sharply individualized and believable characters. From the title, Robinson Crusoe, we can observe that the novel details the nature of an individual against society. Crusoe embarks on an exiting odyssey of adventure...
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