Re-narrating postmodern identities in Douglas Coupland's Generation X and the gum thief
LE3 .A278 2009
Bachelor of Arts
English & Theatre Studies
The postmodern condition is difficult to define because of its necessarily fragmentary nature. Though interest in the study of the postmodern phenomenon has dwindled over the past few years some of its main preoccupations and characteristics remain relevant to literary studies today. This thesis investigates the effects of postmodern skepticism towards metanarrative absolutes and the fragmentation of the individual, which is caused in part by consumerism, as it is evoked in Douglas Couplandʼs two novels: Generation X and The Gum Thief. By looking at character and authorial case studies, this thesis will illustrate that the narrative strategies at work in the novels are a possible solution to the fragmentation of the individual and a possible way to re-construct personal identity. The result of such an analysis illustrates Couplandʼs active and evolving engagement with Western culture, and also discovers the practical implications at the heart of his narrative strategy. By looking at the content of the novels, their formal designs, the contexts in which they were written, and the authorial figure responsible for their creation, this thesis offers a layered illustration of the tensions between the individual and consumer culture. Rather than merely reflecting Western culture as he sees it, Coupland offers a specific strategy to combat the fragmentation and isolation his characters endure. Therefore, this thesis claims that these novels remain culturally relevant because of the potentially healing aspect of the narrative practice contained within them which gives this project practical, real-world significance.
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