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Aggressive FictionsReading the Contemporary American Novel$
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Kathryn Hume

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450013

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450013.001.0001

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Attacking the Reader’s Ontological Assumptions

Attacking the Reader’s Ontological Assumptions

(p.141) 5 Attacking the Reader’s Ontological Assumptions
Aggressive Fictions

Kathryn Hume

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at the various ways an ontological destabilization can be used to render readers uneasy. Ontological assumptions provide stability as we deal with day-to-day living. They govern our responses to sights, sounds, and events. Authors who challenge our ontological assumptions with the aim of destroying our faith in them are trying to undermine the foundations of daily comfort and confidence. Most notably, postmodern novels have been considered to be ontologically aggressive by nature. The chapter identifies ontological destabilization as aggression based on three textual loci: the mind of a character, the assumption that the text is traditionally meant to represent reality, and the storyline.

Keywords:   ontological destabilization, ontological assumptions, postmodern novels, postmodernism, reality, representations of reality

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