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Fictions and the scope of the artist in the novels of Janet Frame

Art and the initiation of the artist into the skills of her craft, along with the fiction making habits of all human beings, are identified in this study as major concerns in Janet Frame’s novels. Time and change, rituals, regulations, popular music, war and love all have in common the fact that they are fictions created by human beings to order and control their lives. People construct fictions intentionally and otherwise to give substance to their short, fragmented existence and to try to explain their place in the universe. Janet Frame’s novels address themselves to the transience and uncertainty of human life confined as it is by the rigid boundaries of birth and death. This thesis indicates how the myth-making habits of ancient peoples have been adapted to help modern mankind cope with its precarious situation balanced between the inner abstract world of the mind and the outer physical universe. Added to this uneasy existence, composed of fleeting thoughts and acts which vanish as they are performed, is awareness of life’s impermanence, painfully emphasised by our inevitable mortality. Frame’s work acknowledges and attempts to moderate these facts.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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