Q: Analyse the partnership between realism and relationship in Oroonoko. You should define those conditions carefully after talking to at least one dictionary of critical terms. In the articulation of Oroonoko- Aphra Behn, is placed the meticulously entwined romantic relationship of realism and love. Two paradoxical genres encompassed into one seventeenth hundred years book allowing Behn to venture into and pervade this questionable experimentation of writing styles. Thus conceiving perhaps a revolutionary allegorical novel of loving realism. Mary Ann O'Donnell details Behn's writing as '. . . folk and fairytale motifs incorporate with stark realism and ambivalence about the protagonist as the storyplot explores the damaging electric power of love. '
According to the Dictionary of literary conditions and literary theory, realism is defined as '. . . the portrayal of life with fidelity. It is thus not worried about idealisation; with making things beautiful when they are not. ' Conversely love is '. . . concerned with characters and events who like in a courtly world relatively remote control from the everyday. This implies elements of fantasy, improbability, extravagance and naivety. . . love, adventure, the marvellous and the "mythic". ' Evidently the powerful juxtaposing characteristics of both genres cause huge friction channelling the novel to border precariousness, from an analytical perspective. However, it can be argued that Behn's incorporation and expulsion of particular elements of love and realism renders the book profoundly complete. Out of the antithesis between the two voices in the text, both nationalities, and two species of people, goes up the reader's sublime realisation that Oroonoko is an total and culminated book. A dictionary of modern critical terms argues '. . . on this view of realism, the ideal novel would be a flawless mirror to the entire world; but since terminology is never neutral, such a novel is impossible'. Whereas love is determined to be '. . . worried about an avowedly fictive world. . . an imaginative and subconscious projection of the "real" world. '
From inception, Behn vows to the reader she'll not give 'the history of the royal slave to captivate my reader with a feigned hero. . . ' (Oroonoko, penguin classics, p. 75). By naming her novel 'Oroonoko, A Royal Slave, A True Background' accumulates a sense of credence in the audience towards her purpose and impartial recall of Oroonoko's account. This claim also offers a wider contextual connection attached to it; Behn declares that she does not assert or assert her narrative expert as some kings lay claim their throne. Being truly a prominent eye see of the occurring events, sympathy and empathy she conveys to reader moulds and cements their rely upon her narration. However she later says '. . . from the oral cavity of the principle acting professional in this record. . . ' (Oroonoko, p. 75). Behn's lexical selection of 'professional' instantly disembodies the certitude built up in the audience. Connoting 'celebrities', a facade emerges extirpating the realism guaranteed by this deictic narrator undermining her credibility. Factual and documental histories should essentially repel idealised, Herculean and romanticised 'stars'. Therefore vacillating uncertainty is woven into the first words of Oroonoko bridging proximity yet distance between reader and narrator.
Many critics such as Ian Watt reprimand and denude Behn's feminocentric book as "a vintage fashioned romance" defying the "realism that mostly became the antonym of "idealism" engraved into the foes of realists'. He further dictates a 'novel's realism does not reside in the kind of life it reveals, but in the way it presents it'. What Watt does not acknowledge is the fact Behn's realism is situated within her intimate codes. She is consciously alert to the perilous opposition of promoting the idealistic ideals of Oroonoko's aristocracy resistant to the pragmatic interpersonal norms of the colonists. Perhaps her purpose is to obversely produce a harmonious equipoise between realism and romance as a parallel to Oroonoko's powerful masculinity with Imoinda's effeminate characteristics. Watt, on the other hands, tries to obtrude his description of realism as a form of fight against Behn's dialectic thesis of interlacing both these genres. Myra Reynolds praises Oroonoko boasting '. . . Mrs Behn's short, simple, energetic, and affecting report of real life includes a startling sense of novelty. ' instead of Watt's '. . . Behn's work of medieval hagiography'
Furthermore, the strong explanation of realism alone must be scrutinised. It is contradictory to make a work of "realistic" fiction. By nature prose fiction is little or nothing more but mere fiction, therefore configuring an real portrayal of your lie and proclaiming it to be true, arguably depicts that realism is really as much romanticised as love is. It is inadequate to proclaim realism is merely contrived within the way an event is retold, but also the content of the experience must be accounted for.
Despite the apparent flaw within practical prose fiction, Behn hyperbolises the loving characterisations and occasions in her novel. Firstly the character's labels are fanciful and unrealistic, 'Oroonoko' and 'Imoinda'. However, although these titles extricate the character types from fact it lightly and slowly but surely teleports the readers creativity to the remotely immaterial and private land of Coramantien. Their fanciful brands do not necessarily alienate the audience, but urges them to wonder and marvel at a global so withdrawn off their own. Later through the novel Oroonoko is renamed Caesar. This allusion gives the illusion of the rebirth of Oroonoko; a royal prince reborn a salve. Ironically, a slave reborn with perhaps the greatest name in history; reiterating the cyclic evocation of binary opposites running throughout Oroonoko such as dark and white, African and Western, slavery and colonialism & most imperatively realism and relationship.
Also the physical and mental traits of the high status heroes proves that relationship supersedes realism ' this face was not of that brown rusty black which the majority of that country are, but a perfect ebony, or refined jet. ' (Oroonoko, p. 80-81). Out of this by itself, Oroonoko emerges as compellingly superior to his contest. The diction of 'perfect' and 'refined' infer that Oroonoko is relatively of an plasticised heroic figurine, epitomising chivalry, virtue and nobility. These affectionate capabilities correlate to this is of relationship; non-didactic character types of beauty, extravagance and illusion. The consistency of Oroonoko and in turn Imoinda contextually symbolise the British monarchy of the seventeenth hundred years. Behn was a devout royalist, the unequivocal representation of upper-class royal character types echo her high belief of the monarchy 'he had heard of the later civil wars in England and deplorable death in our great monarch' (Oroonoko, p. 80). Tries to describe Oroonoko as realistically as you can in keeping with her initial guarantee her superfluous affectionate syntax and lexis unveils her behaviour and values and thus her political plan.
Finally Oroonoko and Imoinda's persistently impeded love foreshadows their tragically detrimental death. Stereotypically, love sheathes the feeling of immortality, security and unification of head, body and soul between two different people. By Behn encapsulating love in its rawest form of their death, she deconstructs the traditional conventions of romantic books, with the idealised utopian finale. The paratactic framework of 'he first solved. . . as the connection of it was if you ask me soon after' (Oroonoko, p. 135-136) highlights the documentary-like realism of the book, very much like Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. Such as '(. . . tears gushed in spite of him, from his eyes) he informed her his design of first killing her, and then his opponents, and next himself, and the impossibility of escaping and for that reason he informed her the need of dying. ' (Oroonoko, p. 135). Furthermore, the content of the extract is superlatively romanticised. Oroonoko and Imoinda's austere death itself becomes their loving apogee. Their relationship, consummation and child beginning are all susceptibly displaced by fatality. Therefore it is just within their fatality, that these 'greatly born, wise, beautiful, young and fond' (Oroonoko, p. 135) lovers can they find their perpetual tranquility and euphoria; thus closing Oroonoko as a tragic novel, rather than romantic one. The juxtaposing romance between the practical framework of Oroonoko and the charming content of the synopsis emphatically reinforces the equilibrium of the book.
Behn records that 'wives have a respect because of their husbands equal to what any other folks pay a deity' (Oroonoko, p. 135-136). From one lexical choice 'deity' derives a cogent religious analogy of Oroonoko's entire evolution. Being a royal prince, Oroonoko personifies an angel-like 'deity' of supernatural calibre. Then transcends into a debilitated suicidal slave thus insinuating a fallen angel. Finally 'to kill this treasure of his heart and soul, ' (Oroonoko, p. 135) the dropped angel mutates in to the angel of loss of life, conquering and seizing 'souls'. Pathos instantly grippingly encapsulates the reader and the once deeply venerable Oroonoko poignantly changes into a misanthropist.
Conclusively, Oroonoko can be an irrefutable love story with all the conventions of any love yet, the stark realism antagonises the fanciful structure. The copulation of two radically opposing styles obliterates the copulation of Oroonoko and Imoinda- an inextricable love that denies difference. Thus affectionate realism becomes Oroonoko and Oroonoko's terminating hamartia.