In opposition to logical positivism, John Maynard Keynes endorses "a language of vagueness" for economic development discourse that reflects a postmodern understanding of the limitations of language to reflect reality. Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance is a postmodern storytelling of India's economic development during the 1975-77 Emergency; its realist framework communicates the further elaboration required by Keynes's vague language to achieve a more precise rendering of the material world. The heteroglossia of voice and carnivalesque elements present in the narrative demonstrate a resistance, subversion, and ultimate delegitimization of the monologic, authoritative discourses of economic development. The homologous relationship between Mistry's postmodern storytelling and Keynes's "language of vagueness" reveals the common epistemological ground shared by literary and economic discourse, which should inspire more dialogue between the two disciplines.
The majority of criticism surrounding Kogawa's Obasan and Itsuka assumes that reconciliation and resistance to racial injustice are incompatible, thereby overlooking Kogawa's complex exploration of the transformative potential forgiveness and reconciliation can provide Japanese Canadians in resisting and defusing the power of the oppressor. Forgiveness can only follow an apology that acknowledges wrongdoing; it does not merely reinscribe ideologically racist messages of power operating in Canadian society, nor invoke the "model minority myth" to avoid compensatory action. Such recognition of the past, however, is necessarily dependant on memory, which both texts represent as unstable and unreliable yet essential to the healing process. Kogawa contends with the tension between these postmodern and humanist concepts of memory through the issei word "Itsuka," meaning "someday," which captures the Japanese sense of the anteriority of the future. Forgiveness essentially constitutes a form of renarration that recollects the past while simultaneously opening up possibilities for a future.
In translating the early works of Gabrielle Roy, Harry Binsse sought to make his English words "sing the same song" as the French source texts according to three principles: no omissions, no additions, no disfiguring flatness. Yet Binsse's very fidelity to these strictures led to substantive errors in the translations, altering characterization and meaning in Roy's novels. In avoiding flatness, Binsse's excessive lyricism and antiquated diction eclipsed Roy's signature simplicity. Conversely, his concern with linguistic and factual precision tended to mar any intended ambiguity or generalizations in the original text. Most significantly, Binsse's description of aboriginal and Third World peoples represents a different ideological perspective than Roy's, which the reader could mistakenly attribute to Roy. However, Binsse does ultimately adhere to his overall goal "not to build barriers" in translation, having widely contributed to the English accessibility and success of Roy's novels.
L.M. Montgomery's use of orality within the print narrative of Anne of Green Gables, established through the presentation of Anne as storyteller, has both narratological and social implications. Anne's continual storytelling is woven together with the voice of the omniscient narrator as well as other members of the community, creating a polyvocal narrative style that collapses the author-narrator-reader hierarchy. Anne's characterization as tribal, or community, storyteller serves both intertextual and extratextual functions as she demonstrates how story has the capacity of healing communal rupture by encouraging imagination and personal agency. The fairy content of her stories also connects Anne and the novel itself to an older, oral tradition outside the world of Green Gables and, together with the use of invocation, generates an eternal temporality to the narrative. Montgomery's use of orality recuperates the reader into the communal experience of a listening audience that oral storytelling represents.
Vanderhaeghe's The Englishman's Boy engages with contemporary critical debate on racial discourse in literature. The thread of allusions to H.L. Mencken, whose anti-Semitic views were not publicly known at the time the novel is set but had become infamous by the time of its publication, brings the question of critical influence and responsibility to the fore. The echoing of Mencken's rhetorical style and ideas through characters like Harry Vincent, Damon Chance, and Rachel Gold serves as a barometer of personal morality by exploring the relationship between morality and the use or abuse of language in the telling of history. Vanderhaeghe's use of faith-based allusions raises the postmodern question of whether truth exists beneath the constructed stories of history. However, while acknowledging the complexity of historical truth, the novel ultimately suggests that all narrative is connected to real life, and that writers like Mencken should be held accountable for their words, whether spoken or omitted.
Douglas Glover posits that good fiction contains a rough tension between postmodern concerns with the structure of language and the meaning, or "aboutness," of the narrative. The philosophical premise of Glover's "My Romance" and "Iglaf and Swan" rests on the Sartrean notion that desire is ultimately a longing for nothingness. The "aboutness" of each story is the absence created by the death of a child, which triggers in the parent an existential confrontation with, and a desire to fill, the resultant void of nothingness. The narrative then becomes an allegory for the writing process itself. Just as the dead child becomes a symbol of absence with which the parent futilely seeks unification, language is only ever a linguistic signifier that can never reflect pure meaning. The desire to bridge the gap, or void, between signifier and signified can only be achieved through an ethical recognition of the other, which Glover demonstrates at both the thematic and textual levels.
Many critics of Howard O'Hagan's Tay John assume that storytelling is a process in which simple events are altered through tale until they transmogrify into legend. This reading is challenged by the section titles, which devolve from "Legend" to "Hearsay" to "Evidence - Without A Finding," implying that factual evidence is a degeneration from pure legend. Tay John reveals a Platonic differentiation between storytelling and story; storytelling is the shadow's tangible evidence of an intangible, true story, or legend, which can never be absolutely known or represented by one tale. Tay John himself is meant to represent the intangible essence of story. Through images of (re)birth, he is seen as always emerging into forms of familiar stories superimposed upon him. He mirrors but never contains his full story. Ultimately, Tay John's spirit and body refuse narration. However, Tay John emphasizes the importance of storytelling while recognizing its limitations.