By David H. Walker (auth.)
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Additional resources for André Gide
His narrative is in a real sense, therefore, a substitute for a life he has lost, an attempt to give coherence to an existence which has ceased to have a meaning or purpose for him (471; 139). Moreover, it is not Michel who has written this text; its author is in fact one of the listening friends who has transcribed what Michel recounted. This is not the first time that Michel has used a written text to expound his thought while evading responsibility for it: his first published work appeared under his father's name.
Certainly Michel's listeners are shifted, in the course of his narrative, from a morally and psychologically secure position as 'spectators' to a stance of something resembling culpable complicity in his misdeeds (470; 139). Similarly, it might be said that Gide's readers are implicated in the story if only because we have re-enacted in our imagination all the text recounts; and when confronted like Michel's friends with the need to form a judgement on his actions, their unease is a pointer to what we may feel; 'We felt, as it were, involved'.
423; 75). Thus we find, at the apex of the book's structure, a confrontation made all the more significant by the subtly devised edifice which gives it prominence: a representation of the dialogue Michel's entire narrative is at pains to sustain, between the 'voice' of Marceline, reasoning and caring, and the 'voice' of Menalque, aggressive and independent. If dialogue is therefore the chief value the book embodiesand we should perhaps recall that Gide referred to himself as 'a creature of dialogue' 62 - then the point of no return in Michel's story - 'the delicate moment when thought breaks down' occurs when Marceline's death becomes inevitable and the other voice is silenced.