By Bronwen Thomas
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Additional resources for Fictional dialogue : speech and conversation in the modern and postmodern novel
Postcolonial critics also question whether it may be inherently patronizing and even racist to assume that writers from emerging nations must all adopt the same “naive” techniques. Debates about Realism 33 Indeed, postcolonial writing is often influenced by traditions and genres of storytelling that carry their own inflections and takes on realism, as in the case of magical realism. Furthermore, contemporary realism may be informed and influenced by Modernism and Postmodernism and may be characterized by anxiety, irony, and speculation rather than confident assumptions or assertions about how the world is (M.
Thus Lambert shows that speech tags are often highly colored and subjective in how they portray the speaker: only the speech of respected and dignified characters is left untagged, as though this requires no explanation or justification. Moreover, Lambert suggests that certain speech tags (“return,” “continue”) can help to create a sense of interaction between characters and help shift the emphasis from the production of speech to its perception. They also create a “model of human speech” (15), suggesting that particular ways of speaking and of interacting with others constitute the norm within a given fictional world.
The notion of realism as a mode of representational practice that carries with it certain ideological assumptions has perhaps made it more important than ever to keep mimesis and realism distinct. Jan Bruck (1982) sees the confusion as one between imitation and representation and argues that realism is both much more recent and much more circumscribed as a concept than mimesis. Bruck holds that realism is the product of a bourgeois ideology that only fully emerges in the nineteenth century and which responds to the demand for representing “real life” as part of a growing sense of social consciousness.