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Exercise 8

2 min read

I would love to make a connection between Barthes’ The Reality Effect and map out household objects mentioned in novels to see what objects and spaces hold more prominence. After having done so, we could look at specific examples and examine whether the reality effect is, in fact, taking place or whether Watts’ formal realism is in practice. We could consider whether the majority of these objects hold any symbolic meaning or are simply present for representing a real world. Further, we could inspect if objects tend to be traditionally feminine household items such as apparel or jewellery such as in the case of Pamela, rather than general descriptive items such as in the case of A House for Mr. Biswas. This is closely linked to Armstrong’s Desire and Domestic Fiction. It would also be interesting to see the trend of mentioning object for the sake of realism as in Robinson Crusoe, to objects with cultural and social symbolism as in Pamela, to objects for creating a new spatial and temporal realm such as in Daisy Miller and A House for Mr. Biswas.

Examining a novel such as The Moonstone would not be too helpful though as the items mentioned would mostly be for the sake of the progression of the narrative giving us no indication of the prominence of societal influences, and neither will examining Tristram Shandy, for Sterne’s “unnecessary digressions” would interfere with the results, so not all novels can be examined in this project.