The "wooden substitute" in Graham Swift's The Son, or the futher step in the de-familiarizing transition from modernism to postmodernism

Juan Jesús Aguilar Osuna

Abstract

Graham Swift, as a postmodernist writer, partakes of the ontological defamiliarizing spirit that has become "the dominant" in the literature of the second half of the twentieth century. His short story The Son is a micro-scale version of the way in which he -by exploring problematic family bonds, most of them non-biological parent-child correspondences- literally de-familiarizes in his longer works the artificiality of the referential relationship that is assumed to exist between a supposedly objective reality and man's representation/creation of it. In this way, translating family relationships into referential bonds between signs and their referents, The Son can be approached as an allegorical dramatization of a further development in the consciousness of defamiliarization that helps to trace a transitional movement from modernism to postmodernism. This awareness of the hiatus in referential bonds and of its further implications may not be pleasant for everybody, but it is definitely liberating.

Keywords

Swift, Graham; The Son; Literatura inglesa; Relato; Relaciones familiares; Alegoría; Lenguaje metafórico; Modernismo; Posmodernismo



DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2000.13.01

Copyright (c) 2000 Juan Jesús Aguilar Osuna

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