A Postmodernist Reading of Harold Pinter’s “The Homecoming”

Noorbakhsh Hooti, Samaneh Shooshtarian

Abstract


As a dramatist, Pinter, more than anyone else in the 20th century, has changed our expectations of the stage language, and has made more tradition treatments of stage, action and language seem ridiculous. He is an enigma to critics. Some consider him an absurdist, others an existentialist and some place him in the group of anti-humanists and the amoral. In this case, Pinter’s drama does not seem irrelevant to postmodern theatre. The power of most of Pinter’s plays originate from the truth of a speaker’s feeling that always lies in the unspoken words or in what has come to be known as “Pinter’s pauses”. His works illustrate the power of language and also its unreliability, what is labeled in postmodernism as “indeterminacy” or “against interpretation”. His uniqueness originates from his ability to create tension between the absurdist tradition with its baffling, purposeless activities and naturalistic use of language which is rendered through believable details. As an example of a postmodern drama The Homecoming seems to display the persistence of the past in the present, indeterminacy, irony, anarchy, happening and silence which are known as the main elements of postmodernism. It is, then, attempted to show that in his depiction of certain aspects of family life and relationships that are common to all families in greater or lesser degree, Pinter’s The Homecoming seems to bring into account a consideration of postmodernity according to Derrida’s concept of “deconstruction”, however, Lyotard’s “Fall of Metanarratives” and “Language Game” are of certain significance within the postmodernist approach towards the play. Finally, it is concluded that all these features together have been the real key to the sense of “fragmentation” and “inconsistency” felt among the play’s family members and have completed the postmodernist environment which is evident within the postmodern plays.
Key words: Postmodernist Literature; Postmodernist Feminism; Metanarrative; Language Game; Parody; Difference; Delogocentrism; Indeterminacy

Resumé: En tant qu’un dramatiste, Pinter, plus que tous les autres dramatistes dans le 20ème ciècle, a changé nos attentes concernant le langage de la scène, et a fait des réformes sur la scène, l’action et le langage qui semblent ridicules. Il est une énigme pour les critiques. Certains le considèrent comme un absurde, d’autres un existentialiste et certains le placent dans le groupe des anti-humanistes et des amoraux. Dans ce cas, le drame de Pinter semble avoir des rapport avec le théatre post-moderne. La puissance de la plupart des pièces de Pinter vient de la vérité du sentiment d’un orateur qui se trouve toujours dans les non-dits ou dans ce qui est connu sous le nom des “pauses de Pinter”. Ses oeuvres illustrent la puissance du langage et son manque de fiabilité, ce qui est marqué dans le postmodernisme comme “indétermination” ou “contre l’interprétation”. Son caractère unique provient de sa capacité à créer des tensions entre la tradition absurde et ses chicanes, des activités sans but et l’utilisation naturaliste du langage à travers des détails crédibles. En tant qu’un exemple du drame postmoderne, Le retour semble afficher la persistance du passé dans le présent, l’indétermination, l’ironie, l’anarchie, happening et le silence qui sont connus comme les principaux éléments du postmodernisme. Il est, ensuite, tenté de montrer que dans sa description de certains aspects de la vie familiale et les relations qui sont communes à toutes les familles plus ou moins, Le retour de Pinter semble prendre en considération un élément de la postmodernité selon le concept de Derrida de la “déconstruction”, cependant, “la chute des métarécits” et “langue du jeu” de Lyotard sont d’une certaine importance dans l’approche postmoderne vis-à-vis de la pièce. Enfin, il est conclu que toutes ces caractéristiques ont été la véritable clé pour le sentiment de la “fragmentation” et de “l’incohérence” ressenties par les membres de la famille dans la pièce et qui ont complété l’environnement postmoderniste qui se manifeste au sein des pièces postmodernes.
Mots-clés: Littérature Postmoderne ; Féminisme Postmoderne ; Métarécit ; Jeu De Langage ; Parodie ; Différence ; Délogocentrisme ; Indétermination

Keywords


Postmodernist Literature; Postmodernist Feminism; Metanarrative; Language Game; Parody; Difference; Delogocentrism; Indeterminacy;Littérature Postmoderne ; Féminisme Postmoderne ; Métarécit ; Jeu De Langage ; Parodie ; Différence ; Délogocentrisme ; Indét

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968%2Fj.ccc.1923670020110702.005

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