On the Narrative Art of Borges’ Novels

  Borges’ novels show strong modernism characteristics, and their unique concept of time and space makes the narrative time and narrative structure of the novels subvert the narrative habits of traditional novels, presenting a new experience paradigm. Borges’ use of symbols makes his novels deeply subjective, opening a window for readers to see his spiritual world, and his narrative art has had a profound impact on contemporary novel narratives.
  1. Subverting the traditional narrative time The
  traditional narrative time develops along a linear route. The narrative time of the novel and the real time extend in the same direction, and readers can clearly perceive the continuous passage of narrative time in the novel. The narrative time of Borges’ novels presents a subversion to traditional linear time. He adopts individual subjective psychological time to narrate. Narrative time continuously jumps with the flow of individual subjective consciousness, and sometimes goes back to the past. Sometimes looking to the future, sometimes returning to the present time and space. The continuous fluctuation of narrative time releases the imagination of readers and gives readers a new reading experience.
  Borges believes that time is not independent of human perception, and human perception of time is the premise for the existence of “time” itself. As a result, his novels often tell stories in psychological chronological order, making the text imaginative and groundbreaking. For example, the time experienced by the protagonist Dalman in “The South” has a remarkable stream of consciousness. Sometimes he is seriously ill lying on a hospital bed, and sometimes he boarded a warm train bound for the South with the flow of the narrator’s memory. Did Dalman follow the flow of the narrative and traveled south after recovering from a serious illness, or was Dalman still lingering in bed, only retracing his previous experiences in his memories? We cannot know. But the novel is more exciting because of the instability of narrative time. Borges creates a narrative labyrinth for readers with the uncertainty of narrative time, giving readers a richer imagination space. At the same time, readers can also perceive the irregular flow of narrative time in the details of the text. Dahlman was in a noisy and crowded waiting room, but the image of a cat he encountered before suddenly appeared in his mind. At this time, Dalman in the air did not have a physical displacement, but his perception had undergone a huge leap. Dalman, sitting in the waiting room, felt that “the vortex of time and space is like an invisible barrier. Everything in the waiting room is happening as usual, just like the rush of people, while the cat is in a state close to eternity. present time”. Readers can also perceive the flow of the protagonist’s psychological time in reading, and with the change of their perception, they can jump from “here” to “then”, and gain an unprecedented clear perception of the narrative time of the novel.
  Borges not only uses human perception to express the psychological time, but also uses the special state of “dream” to complete the use of psychological time in the narrative of the novel. He rewrote the theory in Freudian psychology that “dream” was interpreted as the unconscious state of human beings, and regarded “dream” as a special state that human beings can consciously control, reflecting the controllability of human psychology over time. In “The Ring of Ruins”, the boundary between mental time and real time is blurred by the “dream”. People in the mysterious country live by dreaming, and they have created many magical creations in the dream. The protagonist hides from the creatures he created in his dream that they are artificial phantoms of his own. The ensuing fire makes the protagonist feel doomed, but when he comes into contact with the flames, he finds himself unscathed, a surprising scene that makes him suddenly realize the fact that he is also a creature in someone else’s dream. In his narrative, Borges creates a labyrinth of time by blurring the boundary between psychological time and reality: time develops from a linear straight line into a closed circle, and the dream is the existence of another dream. As the existence of the real world is full of uncertainty, psychological time also replaces real time as the real narrative time of the text. While the dream maker is constantly creating new spaces, the dream maker himself is also the product of other people’s dreams. The repetition of time in the text constitutes countless three-dimensional space-times, and the flattened time also becomes three-dimensional, breaking through. It eliminates the monotony of narrative time in traditional novels.
  The concept of time in Borges’ narrative is full of subversion. The multiple changes of narrative time make it not only the background and environment of the novel’s narrative, but also an important component of the narrative plot and even the deep narrative power of the text. For example, in “The Garden of Forking Paths”, readers follow the narrative clues to discover the truth of the story, but get lost in the narrative maze deliberately set by the writer. Different time lines will bring the story to a completely different ending. It’s as confusing as the cross paths. With the continuous extension and bifurcation of the time line, readers explore the infinite possibilities of plot development, and finally find that “time” is the real protagonist of the novel. The waiting of the protagonist in “Waiting” for no reason and no real ending is full of absurdity. While the reader is confused by the monotonous storyline, the feeling of the continuous passage of narrative time in the text will become more profound, and finally discover the writer’s The purpose of narrative itself is the discovery of “time” itself. Borges’ exploration of the possibility of creating narrative time makes his novels have a unique individual style, and his writing style of “narrative labyrinth” is also born. In a sense, the narrative time of Borges’ novels not only constitutes a subversion of traditional narrative, but also explores the hidden possibility of narrative through the highly subjective narrative time.
  2. Embracing rich symbolic techniques
  Borges is good at expressing his profound experience through symbolic techniques. The rich symbols not only condense the writer’s thinking about the nature of the world, but also reflect the writer’s way of understanding the world. As the representation of the writer’s subjective world and mind, imagery carries the rich feelings of the writer’s subject. Borges often chooses symbols that conform to his psychological reality when using symbolism. His emphasis on the metaphorical effect of symbolism makes his novel texts Full of ambiguity, it delays the process of readers’ aesthetic feelings and creates a wider aesthetic space for readers.
  Looking at the texts of Borges’ novels, we can realize the depth of the writer’s excavation of the hidden meanings of specific objects. The specific microscopic objects are subjectively assigned meanings by the writer, which becomes a unique way of expressing his own thoughts, making ordinary things have transcendent meanings. For example, the brave and good-hearted Gaucho warriors in “Swimming at the Bottom of the Pot”, the “daggers” they carry with them are not only specific objects, but also a symbol of their identity and a source of courage. “Daggers” are not only related to the individual warriors Their destiny is connected with them, and it has become a symbol of their national character; in “South”, when Dahlman faced the insults and provocations of others, he was mild and a little weak, and he picked up the “dagger” and held the dignified Personality and family glory. The imagery is not only the hero’s personal courage to resist, but also the connection between the individual and the family history. At the same time, “books” are also a particularly important image in Borges’ novels. Borges further concretized “books” as a specific book in his writing, thereby expressing his artistic conception and the thoughts of his works. kernel. For example, the iconographic “book” in “The Garden of Forking Paths” is embodied as “The Thousand and One Nights”, “I think about the nights in The Thousand and One Nights…the end of each night is It means a new beginning, and the successive stories form an endless inner loop.” What the writer experimented with in “The Garden of Forking Paths” is this narrative structure of “starting another story at the end of one story”, and the imagery “One Thousand and One Nights” symbolizes exactly what the writer pursues “Achieving an ‘endless’ narrative effect through the nesting of narrative structures”. “One Thousand and One Nights” not only metaphorizes the structure of the story of “The Garden of Forking Paths” itself, but also represents the narrative method the writer adopts when constructing the article, making the text a classic with strong symbolic meaning.

  In addition to the specific microscopic images, there are also macroscopic images with broad connotations in Borges’ novels. The writer has seen all kinds of world conditions and human feelings, and he has a rich understanding of society and people. The image of “grocery store” frequently appears in his novels to reflect the writer’s perception and cognition of social tenses, scenery and human conditions. . The protagonist of “Little Man”, whose life is mediocre and mediocre, yearns for the turbulent street life, so he becomes friends with Ferrari, who is always among the different classes. The two often met in the grocery store on the street, and watched all kinds of people coming and going in the grocery store. Among them were the well-dressed and generous bosses, the conscientious, cautious and timid staff, and the idle and waiting. Opportunity speculators. No one can know who is the next person who pushes the door, and no one can know the past and future of the person who comes. The image of “grocery store” condenses Borges’ understanding of society. The disorder and unknownness of “grocery store” reflects the essence of social life and interpersonal relationships. So as to convey their subjective emotions to readers. At the same time, Borges also derived many image variants in the text based on the core image of “grocery store”. The core image and its derivative images together constitute a rich layered image system, which makes the symbolic techniques of Borges’ novels reveal a more sophisticated quality.
  The rich imagery has become a winding path for interpreting Borges’ spiritual world. The use of symbolism not only enriches the meaning level of Borges’ novels, but also delays the readers’ aesthetic process and creates a more abundant aesthetic. feel. Borges condenses the subject’s understanding of the world and the pursuit of narrative art into the image, fully opening himself up in a unique way, with a strong subject style.
  3. Nested and Overlapping Narrative Structures
  Borges ’ novels often texture complex narrative structures in the form of deformed time and space. The nesting of multi-layered narratives creates a circular narrative structure. The overlapping and overlapping of different time and space create A labyrinth-like structure. This complex narrative structure is like a delicate work of art, which always arouses the surprise of readers. At the same time, it also inspires literary creators, making them subvert the traditional concepts of time and space and narrative techniques, and bring new ideas by transforming time and space. Literary experience.
  Borges emphasized that the structure of the novel’s narrative should subvert the tradition of novels relying on a linear time development structure in traditional narratives. narrative structure. For example, “Analysis of Herbert Quinn’s Works” is nested with three complex stories. The surface structure tells the story of the protagonist Herbert’s novel, and Herbert created a book called “April and March”. The collection of novels, and the idea of ​​using different styles and techniques to create; the inner structure tells the method of story structure in the collection of “April and March”. The nine stories included in it show a very special style, and some works are full of Surreal fantasy, some works focus on serious realism, and others dabble in questionable reasoning; This aspect allows readers to enjoy multiple different literary landscapes in one book. Under the layered narrative structure, Borges’ narrative seems to be telling a story, but it implies three different narrative meanings. Readers can get a reading experience far beyond their expectations, chewing out endless meanings from just a few words, we can say that the narrative structure of Borges’s novels itself is a work of art that can become the object of aesthetic criticism.
  Borges was deeply influenced by Plato’s theory of artistic creation, and believed that the real world and the art world constituted the relationship between the real object and the model, which existed as opposites as mirror images. Therefore, when creating the narrative structure of the novel, Borges also deliberately created the opposite mirror structure. For example, in “Tron Uqbal Orbis Tertius”, the world of Tron in different dimensions contrasts with the real world. The two worlds are juxtaposed between the texts and present different operating rules. The duality of the narrative structure enables the same text to present two different narrative contents, enabling readers to gain a new reading experience between the contrasts; in “Death and the Compass”, Borges speaks different words through dual narrators, using police The words of the director as the narrator explain the case very simply, while the words of the detective Lonnlot as the narrator analyze the case full of doubts and difficulties. The reader naturally and potentially chooses to believe the inference of Detective Lonnlot, and explores the truth of the case along the lines of his reasoning, but in the end, he finds that this is just the detective’s own self-indulgence, and the police chief’s seemingly unprovoked but direct analysis It’s straight to the truth. Borges intentionally guides readers to choose among the juxtaposed narrative structure composed of two different discourses, and subverts this choice at the end, arousing the readers’ surprise and awakening, forcing them to follow along. Narrative structure traces back to every detail of the text, resulting in a richer and more tumultuous reading experience.
  At the same time, Borges also tried to explore the narrative structure of multiple time and space juxtaposition, and multiple different narrative structures are juxtaposed in the text and have the possibility of infinite extension. For example, “The Garden of Forking Paths” reveals that there are often multiple possibilities for the development of events at the same time node, but in a single-dimensional world, writers often choose only one kind of “fact” to present to readers. Borges, on the other hand, presents different possibilities to readers in the form of an exhibition. Although Yu Chen temporarily won the victory from Captain Madon, Albert said, “There are countless possibilities in our time, and in some of your time you Yes, there are times when you are not, and there are countless branches of times when we coexist with each other.” This implies that Yu Chen’s victory is not absolute, but relative, and there are countless possibilities lurking in different time and space. The narrative structure of “The Garden of Forking Paths” actually reflects the concept of “parallel universe”. The juxtaposition of different narrative time and space constitutes an infinitely extended complex narrative structure, showing the unique style of Borges’ novel structure.
  Borges’s shaping of narrative time makes his novels full of possibilities for interpretation from multiple perspectives, and the diversity of his narrative structure plays an enlightening role in the development of contemporary novels. The “labyrinthine quality” of his novels makes his narration have a strong personal style, and has achieved a delicate balance between the content and the form of the novel. Between the virtual and the real, Borges uses words as materials to construct a spiritual palace, bringing readers a high degree of aesthetic pleasure.