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Essay from the year 2002 in the subject French - Literature, Works, grade: A, University of Canterbury (School of European Culture and Languages), course: Seminar, 15 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Gérard de Nerval's Sylvie. Souvenirs du Valois, published in 1853, is an exploration of time and memory, dream and reality. The first person narrator is also the main character, who is indecisive and cannot commit himself to any of the three women in his life: Aurélie, Sylvie and Adrienne. The narrator of Sylvie is unreliable because his perspective is severely distorted. Sometimes his memory fails him and he does not understand his own motives and behaviour, which is both passive and impulsive at the same time. The story he tells us is about himself and only himself, because he has little understanding of the people around him. It is obvious that the narrator of Sylvie is indeed lost in illusions - this is partly symbolised by the colour descriptions and the fact that most of the novella is set at night and in 'a dark forest' - but does that really mean that he actually prefers the state of illusion or reverie to that of clear-headedness and rationality? In order to find an answer, first we have to look at the specific aspects that he is deluded about. This will certainly reveal the narrator's character and we can then go on and with the help of such psychological concepts as the of the ego's mechanisms of defence determine whether it is possible to say, that the narrator of Sylvie positively prefers illusion to reality. [...]

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