Writing Techniques in The Mandarins

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The Mandarins, a lengthy novel of about one thousand pages, represents a well-balanced work of two narratives with the point of view alternating regularly between the two protagonists, Anne and Henri. The duality which underlies the theme and the characters is thus also expressed in its form.

Beauvoir uses the dual narrative as a means of lending variety and flexibility to her style. Each character narrates in the style which is consistent with his personality, that of Anne being sober, matter-of-fact, but sometimes given to lyrical outbursts, while Henri's narrative is more colorful and colloquial.

The parallel narratives at times interpenetrate because their characters' lives and destinies intertwine. Beauvoir's style is casual; her dialogues are wellstructured and lively. They serve as a means of confrontation and action for her characters. The acute psychological insight which characterizes Beauvoir's later fiction is not yet present in The Mandarins.

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This section contains 148 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy The Mandarins Short Guide
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The Mandarins from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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