The Sense of an Ending: A Postmodern Challenge of Truth



Throughout the history, one of the interests of humankind has always been to search for what reality/truth is, how they are formed, and how they can be tested, and has thus become a matter of debate among scholars from different fields of study such as sociology, psychology, history and literature. As this is the case, the very latest approach put forward and encapsulated by postmodernists as a claim, which is also supported by new historicists, that reality/truth is formed through or feeds on memory and can never be limited to one unchangeable fact is treated as the core of this research and study to shed light on the essence of reality/truth from a literary point of view (Bradley, 2011, p. 387). The essence of this claim lies in the fact that it is quite personal and versatile and is formed through myriad ways of interpretation from different aspects that are liable to change on different contexts (Lansdown, 2017, p.38). In this regard, Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending (2011), written in the form of ‘vollendungsroman’, meets his readers as a direct response to postmodernists’ and the new historicists’ claim about the reliability and accessibility of the reality/truth that there’s no pure truth. Drawing his character Tony Webster in such a realist way who is trapped in his present due to his unreliable memories from his past, Barnes enables his readers to test the reliability and attainability of the reality/truth based on memory and to come to a striking realisation that there can never be objective reality/truth based on memories. To crown it all, reality/truth based on memories can even have potential for misguiding one in his/her present or future deeds in the wrong way just like the protagonist Tony Webster.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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