Original Research

Die sin as narratiewe kode in “Die uur van die idiote” deur Abraham H. de Vries

M.J. Prins
Literator | Vol 31, No 1 | a38 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v31i1.38 | © 2010 M.J. Prins | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 July 2010 | Published: 13 July 2010

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M.J. Prins, Universiteit van Fort Hare, Port Alfred, South Africa

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The sentence as narrative code in “Die uur van die idiote” (“The hour of the idiots”) by Abraham H. de Vries
This article focuses on the following aspects of syntax in “Die uur van die idiote” by Abraham H. de Vries: word and phrase repetition, enumeration, omission (ellipsis), word order, rhythm, length and composition, and sound repetition. Through word and phrase repetition the ironic situation in which the characters find themselves is made relevant, as well as their frustration and mutual powerlessness. Enumeration also is an agent of irony, more specifically irony created by the contrast between material fullness and existential emptiness, as well as of the fact that the characters are consumer items inside a metaphorical prison in which there is a lack of humaneness. Through ellipsis the disillusionment of the central character is communicated, as well as the enigmatically uncertain relationship between him and his wife, contrasting with her conviction that love is still possible between them. It also demonstrates the objectification of the human being. Change in word order is connected to the paradigm of dehumanisation, but also indicates the conviction that existential liberation is after all possible. This also leads to a climax. Rhythm communicates the themes of irony and existential bewilderment. It also serves as an emotional code for the existential crisis of the characters. Sentence length and composition emphasise a disturbed relationship, existential imprisonment and the sometimes helpless cynicism of the central character. Through sound repetition the reader’s attention is focused on concepts that are important for the meaning of the story.


De Vries AH; Short Story; Syntax As Narrative Code


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