Weaving the literary quilt : the layering of narrative in Thomas King's Truth & Bright Water
Menhart, Rebecca Ann
Master of Arts
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis explores the ways in which Thomas King layers levels of textual and symbolic narrative in order to show that truth is a relative concept that cannot be strictly bound by conventional, essentialist beliefs. In Truth & Bright Water, Helen creates a quilt that tells a continually re-interpreted version of both her, and her community's history. It is only when the reader looks closely at the details of the quilt in conjunction with the textual details of the novel that the reader is able to come to any understanding of the novel. In keeping with King's theory of associational literature, the quilt provides the reader with 'snapshots' of history; each time the reader looks at the quilt, different 'snapshots' are considered and the reader's perspective necessarily changes. Truth therefore becomes a wholly individual concept. The ever-changing versions of truth are represented in the novel by the convergence of the novel's two communities on the banks of the Shield River. It is here that the concrete and abstract concepts of truth are brought together to create flowing, multiplicitous versions that are more analogous to First Nations traditions.