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By Don Adams (auth.)

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Extra resources for Alternative Paradigms of Literary Realism

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Copperfield is going on a trip to Panama with her husband, who—in sharp contrast with his wife—is an eager and committed traveler. Mrs. Copperfield says to Miss Goering: “I don’t think I can bear it . . ” “I would go anyway,” said Miss Goering. (18) The second section of the novel is set in Panama and focuses on the story of Mrs. Copperfield. Miss Goering’s story is continued in the novel’s one is never quite totally in the world / 25 third section, which draws to a conclusion with a meeting between her and Mrs.

By story’s end, we discover that the story’s title, “Camp Cataract,” is emblematic of its theme and method. The story may seem to be about the deception of appearances, but it is actually about being blind to their allegorical reality. In that sense, the story is also implicitly a critique of the modern conventions of fictive realism. The typical modern realistic fiction creates meaning by the use of symbolically weighted passages surrounded by the scenery of the conventionally real. We may consider Paul Bowles’ use of the titular symbol in The Sheltering Sky as an example of such use.

101) Ominous in its ironic symbolism, the sheltering sky as an operative idea is nevertheless embedded wholly and securely within the boundaries of the conventional realism of the text. The sky as symbol questions the ultimate meaning and purpose of reality, but it does not question that reality as a given. The real world in this novel, and throughout Paul Bowles’ fiction, is oppressive in its obvious and seemingly ultimate appearance. When one seeks to get “beyond” that appearance to some deeper or virtual or ideal meaning, we find that there is no there there.

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