The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy Themes

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Time and Reality

In the first volume, Tristram gives a discourse about how digressions from the narrative are progressive. On the surface, this sounds like more rambling, but the author is actually saying that by having the story in a different order, he is giving the book a different meaning. There is no doubt Sterne could complete the novel in a few volumes, but by leaving and returning to scenes, the reader is coming back to a scene with a new perspective. Sterne highlights this point when he stops a scene between Widow Wadham and Toby and follows it with two blank chapters and immediately defends his right to do this. When Sterne returns to the content of the two missing chapters, they have to be read with the notion that the novel is breaking the barriers of conventional storytelling.

The author's play with time is evident in the...

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This section contains 760 words
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Buy The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy Study Guide
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