Andreas Isenschmid From the Reviews: Its main thesis is the absolutely true idea that the novel shows us the prose of life, the unedited version, with its absence of grand events, the sense of life's inevitable undramatic defeat.
It is believed that Milan Kundera, on one hand uses the technique multiple narration to implement his major themes, and on the other hand, inserts the polyphony of music into the realm of his novel.
As a matter of fact, for Kundera the narrative structure of The Joke resembles much to that of a musical note. While each note contains uniqueness on its own, it combines and accords with other notes to produce a coherent whole.
This multi-perspectival narrative style helps the writer to put in the picture the intended themes of the story through a polyphonic narrative.
Its final revised English edition was prepared by the author himself and Aaron Asher and published by HarperCollins Publishers in Much of the narrative of The Joke consists of flashbacks which date back to early s in Czechoslovakia. The action of the novel centers on the story of Ludvik, the protagonist, who comes from a small town in southern Moravia and who becomes a fervent political activist during his university days in Prague.
He tells how the joke of the title — a postcard Optimism is the opium of the people! A healthy atmosphere stinks of stupidity! Later Ludvik plans to revenge on Pavel Zemanek, his former party comrade who played a crucial role on his ill-fated life.
But this turns out to be another joke on Ludvik himself, since he learns that Zemanek himself wants to get rid of Helena. The Joke has been variously labeled as realistic, political, ideological, and psychological in genre by different reviewers.
Justifications for such categorizations seem quite equally available. He asserts that by cross-examining the accounts of the story furnished by four narrators, Kundera the skeptic exposed their overlapping delusions and tried to show that each man has his own falsehood.
Here, while from one side he characterizes the similarities of music and novel, the reader, on the other side, becomes more acquainted with terms such as polyphony and unilinear compositions. The base time of The Joke covers three days in the mids in Czechoslovakia.
The story introduces four distinct carefully selected narrators, one female and three males amongst which Ludvik Jahn is the chief one. It is through these interwoven first-person narratives that we receive the same events and characters treated from several points of view.
Each voice is stylistically distinct; together, they make up a lucid and satisfying whole. As Kundera himself explains: That mathematical structure determines what I would call the lighting of the characters.
Ludvik stands in full light, illuminated from inside by his own monologue and from outside the other monologues all sketch his portrait. Each character is lighted at a different intensity and in a different way.
The absence of interior lighting gives her a mysterious, elusive quality. Lucie remains the mysterious woman, the soul and engine of the novel, even though she disappears for most of the novel. Ludvik, Helena, Jaroslav and Kostka.
This variety of narrators has magnified the beauties of the novel from an aesthetic point of view, though inciting some questions as well. Typologically, The Joke can be designated an ideological novel novel of ideasi.
Each narrative segment in The Joke is presented through shifting points of view and the alternation of narrative forms which then make the novel a multi-perspective one.
In this technique readers are not confined to a single constant perspective of one narrator in the story. A great part of the accomplishment of The Joke, as a multi-perspective novel, goes to the practice of both cyclic structure and linear structure Dolezel, in its narrative design.
Besides this distinctive structural design in the narration, critics have analyzed narrative techniques of the novel in terms of two other levels of evaluation. At one level, two experiential centers of narrating and experiencing selves throughout the first-person narrations in the text are distinguished: It has no temporal distance from the events related and hence no perspective different from that of the other characters of the story.
The narrating self, on the other hand, narrates from a later point in time and in most respects resemble a third-person narrator. It has the advantage of retrospectivity and may, if it chooses, anticipate or even suppress its acquired knowledge. It may also draw attention to itself at the moment of narration.
At another level, the special features in the organization and style of the narrative monologues uttered by particular characters are reminded: Specifically, the structure and texture of the narrative monologue depends on the balance of two functions of narrator, namely the representational and the interpretative function.
It presents narrated events on two parallel and disjointed levels, that of folkloristic myth and that of everyday life. Accordingly this polyphonic composition manifests itself in the presence of four points of view and, as the author decides, four first-person narrators in the novel.
In this way we come to know characters who gain their own voice and their own role as narrators while presenting their life story to the readers.
Once Ludvik Jahn is facing and experiencing the cruelties done to him by the Communist Party and ruining his life for fifteen years or at another time-span, when he remembers and narrates those cruelties and injustices done to him, readers come to know the substance of those deep-seated emotions.
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Milan Kundera is the author of the novels The Joke, Farewell Waltz, Life Is Elsewhere, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Immortality, and the short-story collection Laughable Loves—all originally written in Czech/5(3). Illustrious Imaginings: Forman’s Fireman’s Ball and Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being In an essay in East European Cinema titled “Chaos, Intermediality, Allegory: The Cinema of Mircea Deneliuc,” Agnes Petho said that “in times of dictatorship and a general ban on individual and artistic freedom, a work of art deploys.
5 Stories That Prove Why Dogs Are Man’s Best Friend - “Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent.
To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon . The imperfect, Stevens tells us, is our paradise. The imperfect is hot in us, unlike the cold porcelain.
It is bitter, but it is also the source of delight; imperfection is the thing that is “so much more than pink and white carnations”.