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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - "Hell's view" : Van de Ruit's - changing the boys' school story tradition?

Volume 32, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2279
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Abstract

The article identifies salient features of Van de Ruit's novels "Spud: a wickedly funny novel" (2005) and "Spud - the madness continues" (2007) and compares them with the corresponding motifs commonly found in historical British boys' school stories, tracing shifts in discourse to establish the novels' construction of a South African boyhood. The article argues that through his conscious subversion of the imperial model's defining discourses, Van de Ruit's fictional representation of Spud's school experience portrays the previously accepted "ideal" construction of boyhood, with its unmistakably defined principles and uncontested ethical code, as fundamentally challenged by the variety of alternative discourses to which the modern protagonist is exposed. The resultant construction of Spud's South African boyhood is, therefore, characterised by the protagonist's constant struggle to assimilate the frequently incongruous and bewildering discourses (about moral courage and personal integrity, in particular) that compete for his attention. The pivotal component of this particular construction of boyhood may be argued not to be a strict adherence to a clearly defined schoolboy ethic, but as a variable that is ultimately dependent on the boy's choices.


Hierdie artikel identifiseer sentrale eienskappe van Van de Ruit se romans "Spud: a wickedly funny novel" (2005) en "Spud - the madness continues" (2007) en vergelyk dit met die ooreenstemmende motiewe wat algemeen in tradisionele Britse skoolverhale oor seuns voorkom. Die artikel ondersoek ook diskoersverskuiwings om die romans se konstruksie van Suid-Afrikaanse seunsjare te bepaal. Die skrywer voer aan dat Van de Ruit, deur middel van sy doelbewuste ondermyning van die bepalende diskoerse van die imperiale model in sy fiktiewe uitbeelding van Spud se skoolwedervarings, die voorheen aanvaarde, "ideale" konstruksie van seunsjare (met sy onmiskenbaar omskrewe beginsels en onbestrede etiese kode) uitbeeld as iets wat fundamenteel bevraagteken word deur die verskeidenheid alternatiewe diskoerse waaraan die hedendaagse protagonis blootgestel word. Die gevolglike konstruksie van Spud se Suid-Afrikaanse seunsjare word derhalwe gekenmerk deur die protagonis se konstante worsteling met die assimilasie van die dikwels lagwekkende diskoerse (oor morele moed en persoonlike integriteit in die besonder) wat hom verwar terwyl hulle meeding om sy aandag. Die slotsom is dat die spil van hierdie spesifieke konstruksie van seunsjare nie soseer streng gehoorsaamheid aan 'n duidelik omskrewe skoolseunetos is nie, maar wel 'n veranderlike is wat uiteindelik van die keuses wat die seun maak, afhang.

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/content/literat/32/2/EJC119283
2011-08-01
2016-12-09

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