Plzeňské sympozia

Alice Jedličková

The City Folk’s Distrust of the Country Folk and Overcoming That Distrust: the Narrative Figure

pp. 105–117 (Czech), Summary 117 (English)

The essay focuses on the motivational strategy of representing country folk or the simple individual. It stems from the expected or currently formulated distrustful or dismissive attitude of most city folk towards the country folk, which needs to be changed. Concurrently, its foundation is the interpretation of traditional values, which are not valued adequately and must therefore be discovered and protected (language, history, country folk); meanwhile the relationship between the city and the country can be construed as an entire series (a much simplified state of the actual affairs) of opposites: progress, education, conveniences vs. backwardness, lack of education, poverty etc. In country-themed prose in the 1850s to the 1870s, this assumed mistrusting or dismissive attitude of city folk is embodied as a narrative figure, which significantly forms the narrative’s communication.  In certain cases it affects the entire text and alters its genre: in Božena Němcová’s prose, Poor Folk, polemic (“argument”) is applied to the outline of the presented illustrations of life. The frequent use of the figure demonstrates the maintenance of a high level of the prose’s power of persuasion.

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