Involvement of the reader with refugee literature: Through the novels Spijkerschrift and Monsieur Linh and His Child
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More and more stories about refugees are shared through (social) media, with the intent to get the audience involved with those refugees and their stories. The purpose of this thesis is to find out how involvement of the reader with the refugee is achieved. In order to answer this question, two novels containing stories about a refugee have been analysed. In these analyses, I looked for indeterminacies. These are the parts of the novel that have not been described by the author. Wolfgang Iser states that “the indeterminate elements of literary prose – perhaps even of all literature – represent a vital link between text and reader. They are the switch that activates the reader into using his own ideas in order to fulfil the intention of the text” (Iser, Prospecting 28). In this process, the reader becomes involved with the story as it now contains parts of him/herself. The analysed novels, Kader Abdolah’s Spijkerschrift and Philippe Claudel’s Monsieur Linh and His Child, contain indeterminacies for which reader-involvement with the refugee is necessary to give meaning to the text. After an introduction to the subject, Wolfgang Iser’s theory will be thoroughly discussed in the theoretical framework. Then follow two chapters which discuss analysed parts of the novels about refugees and how indeterminacies bring about involvement of the reader with aspects of being a refugee. In the conclusion, the answer as to how reader-involvement with the refugee is established, is given.