Uprooted heroes: Polyphonic narrative in Milan Kundera's Ignorance

AKBULUT F., Caglakpinar B.

LITERA-JOURNAL OF LANGUAGE LITERATURE AND CULTURE STUDIES, cilt.29, ss.159-176, 2019 (ESCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier

  • Yayın Türü: Makale / Tam Makale
  • Cilt numarası: 29 Konu: 2
  • Basım Tarihi: 2019
  • Doi Numarası: 10.26650/litera2019-0067
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.159-176


World wars, technological developments and political events that have played an important role in the shaping of the modern French novel have led to a more frequent use of concepts such as migration, exile and refugee in literary works. Against a background of the social, economic and political events of the period, Milan Kundera's novel Ignorance narrates the issues of homelessness, (non)belonging and deportation through two characters who returned to their countries after many years. With the return of the protagonists, the tension between those who left or who were forced to leave their country and those who did not leave their homeland despite all the troubles turns into a narrative structure in which mutual opinions are put forward but no one understands each other. Migrants are seen as refugees in the place to which they go and as foreigners in the place to which they return. Those who did not leave their homeland do not accept them and behave in an accusatory manner towards them. They do not care about what those who had left gone through, what they had experienced and how they had felt. The two protagonists - who are seen as fugitives, refugees, exiles and foreigners - cannot know where they belong or even whether they belong anywhere. Through occasional explanations or interventions the narrator conveys the opposing voices of the characters to the reader. The distinctive voices of the characters that conflict with each other and thus create a kind of dialogism form a polyphonic fiction in the novel. M. Bakhtin, who accepts each hero in the novel as an individual with free discourse, describes the existence of many voices in the same text with the term polyphony. After giving general information about Bakhtin's theories of conversationalism, polyphony and multilingualism, this article aims to reveal the richness of voice and language in the novel.