초록 close

Narrative Techniques for the Subject Representation: Focused on Philip Roth’s The Counterlife and Operation Shylock Jang, Jung-Hoon(Chonnam National Univ.) Philip Roth employs the most complex narrative techniques in his two novels, The Counterlife and Operation Shylock. In the novels he continually alters his angles of vision. In The Counterlife, he introduces a fresh beginning or an alternative in one chapter after another, thus placing a new story, a new version of reality, against what precedes it: a character who was dead and buried suddenly becomes alive; a character who was assumed to be alive turns out to be dead, and so on. In Operation Shylock, there is the shifting reality of Philip Roth, the fictional author, Moishe Pipik, the shadow self or the other, and the real author Roth. Although Roth's self referential strategy he uses is hardly new in postmodern fictions, nor is the use of the double a new device, the combination of the two yields a particularly rich meditation on the discursive construction of subjectivity. And instead of providing a neat conclusion with all the questions answered Roth leaves the end of the books hanging in the balance and open to question. This is not an ordinary Aristotelian narrative that readers are familiar with. In The Counterlife, Roth stimulates the reader's imagination by celebrating the multiple possibilities in life, not a singular certainty. Despite the agony of self-doubt and self-loathing, Roth's protagonists have a powerful desire for self-rejuvenation and transformation; they project their counterlives as best as they can. In Operation Shylock, Philip, a protagonist of the novel, guided by his "Jewish conscience," performs an operation of resistance against Shylock through multiple self-impersonations. If Shylock is the figure for the Jew in Western discourse, Operation Shylock may be in some sense translated as "Operation Represent-the -Jew." The novel literally bears this fact out, in that Smilesburger has asked Philip to represent Jews on a secret mission to find out Jewish backers of the Palestinians. It is required that Philip represent the very Jewish subjectivity in language for himself and his readership. In conclusion, Roth maintains that life doesn't necessarily have only a set course, a simple sequence, or a predictable pattern. To reflect the nature of reality in human life, he takes up complex and speculative situations and offers different paths of life that may be open to the individual. Roth concerns himself with how to defines Jewish identity and the identity of his own self. So he tries to deal with the problem in his novels both ways ― at once exposing and suppressing, representing and claiming the impossibility of representation. Roth reassert postmodern skepticism about identity of the self, about the metafictional aspects of history, and about the many faceted views of factual evidence.