A bakhtinian analysis of William Golding’s rites of passage: heteroglossia, polyphony and the carnivalesque in the novel

Tuğlu, Utku
This thesis analyzes William Golding’s Rites of Passage using a detailed examination of the Bakhtinian concepts of heteroglossia, polyphony and the carnivalesque to investigate the points of mutual illumination and confirmation between Bakhtin’s ideas and Golding’s novel. Therefore the method of analysis is divided between a close study of Rites of Passage and an equally close examination of Bakhtin’s ideas. The Bakhtinian concepts studied in this thesis are central to his idea of language and theory of the novel and their analysis in Rites of Passage reveals that while these concepts shed light on the stylistic, structural and thematic complexities of the novel, the novel also verifies the working of these concepts in practice. Moreover, the results of the analysis indicate two main points in which Golding’s novel and Bakhtin’s ideas confirm and illuminate each other. The first point is related to Bakhtin’s celebration of the novel genre for its capacity to include diverse elements, a celebration that find its counterpart in Golding’s novel due to the novel’s heteroglot nature, polyphonic structure and inclusion of the carnivalesque. The second point is related to Bakhtin’s notion of dialogism which emerges as a relational property common to his mentioned concepts. As this thesis shows, Golding’s Rites of Passage is a dialogic novel in this regard, with its foregrounding of dialogic relations between heteroglot languages, characters’ voices and social classes. This thesis ends with a discussion indicating postmodern aspects of Bakhtin’s ideas and Golding’s novel, which include intertextuality, the problematization of truth, and the blurring of boundaries between opposites.


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Citation Formats
U. Tuğlu, “ A bakhtinian analysis of William Golding’s rites of passage: heteroglossia, polyphony and the carnivalesque in the novel,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2011.