Critics’ Opinions about the Character of Felicia Moorsom in The Planter of Malata. A Debate Cover Image
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Opinie krytyków na temat postaci Felicji Moorsom w Plantatorze z Malaty. Dyskusja
Critics’ Opinions about the Character of Felicia Moorsom in The Planter of Malata. A Debate

Author(s): Anne Keithline
Subject(s): Studies of Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Keywords: Conrad; The Planter of Malata; mechanics of narrative; free indirect discourse; reliable narration; characterization
Summary/Abstract: Of critics writing on The Planter of Malata, Joel R. Kehler comes closest to identifying the main fascination of the work: the impossibility of acquiring reliable information about its characters. His arguments are philosophical, but textual mechanics are enough to show that characterizations are suspect throughout “Malata”. First, the bulk of characterization is carried out through the direct speech of characters whose judgements are unreliable. Second, information that builds on and reinforces these characterizations is supplied by free indirect discourse, often misread by critics as third-person narration. Finally, actual third-person narration is frequently an ironic echo of characters’ opinions, and likewise unreliable. Kehler dismantles perceptions of Renouard as man of action, the Editor as allknowing, and Professor Moorsom as a good judge of character. However, Kehler still joins other critics in classifying Felicia Moorsom as “a creature of froth and foam,” even though the information about her is as unreliable as for other characters, and for the same reasons. It’s worthwhile to examine how this misreading of Miss Moorsom impacts interpretations of the text, and why it keeps occurring, especially because its reversal actually strengthens the most important conclusions drawn by Kehler and others.

  • Page Range: 96-106
  • Page Count: 11
  • Publication Year: 2018
  • Language: Polish