Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences


Modern Languages and Literatures

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Lois Oppenheim

Committee Member

Kathleen Loysen

Committee Member

Daniel Mengara


Samuel Beckett is famously known for his classic play Waiting for Godot, but he will also be remembered as one of the first authors to stand up to the establishment whose main goal was to preserve and protect the tradition inherited from Honoré de Balzac. Indeed, Beckett initiated a revolutionary approach by rejecting the cornerstone of the French novel, the notion of character. He instead replaced it by what many critics call voices that loose their identity, their sense of time, space, meaningful communication, and purpose in life. In order words, he gets rid of everything that serves only one purpose: to construct a well written story, sequentially organized, with an intrigue that gives to the reader or the spectator a reason to finish the story. Beckett’s novels and plays stop short of providing their audiences with meaning, a message that must be understood and interpreted one way or the other. He is considered by many, particularly Alain Robbe-Grillet, as an inspirational figure of the Nouveau Roman (New Novel) who breaks ranks with the long lasting tradition of authors who envisioned an ideal world and pretended to educate the public. He chose to present the human condition from a more realistic perspective, one less attractive to a public looking for something to dream about. The objective of this study is to show how Beckett eliminates, one after the other, all conventionally accepted elements that guide and regulate social activity. It further explores Beckett’s assumption that we live in a world where no one or nothing can come to the rescue of human kind whose only reason for being in the world is to endure an unbearable suffering.

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