Style used in Samuel Beckett's Murphy

Beckett's style is characterized by a few unusual features. Whenever an event takes place, the reader is usually provided with exact details about streets, buildings, nearest intersections and even underground stops. Although Beckett does not provide details chronologically, he mixes his narrative with dates and times, particularly those occurring during the forty-four days from Thursday, 12 September to Saturday, 26 October 1935, when the events in the thirteen chapters of the novel occur.

Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett goes further and charts the celestial map that marks the progress of the story providing astrological signs and moon phases.

Beckett's style is characterized by the random choice of facts. The facts seem chosen randomly. They don't explain anything. For example, at the beginning of chapter 2, Celia is introduced through a list of twenty items concerning her physical appearance, from height to calf and Knee size. Beckett means to say that the facts-let us have facts, plenty of facts. It means Becketian stylistics is inspired by an obsession with facticity. In 'Murphy' there is no paucity (lack) of details. Rather, there is an excess of the facts. Facts sometimes seem to have provided obstacles to be sidestepped, irrelevancies to be hurdles.

It seems Beckett's characters collect facts to answer the dilemma of living. Beckett's character portrayal is much more subtle and profound. In chapter six Beckett interrupts the progress of the narrative to offer a description of this skullscape, a self-enclosed entity, with little contact with the outer world. It is divided into three zones, light, drawn from the material world, half-light, an autepuragatory of Slot to which he tries to escape, and a dark zone, a mote in the darkness of absolute freedom. Murphy inner psychic condition is portrayed. This portrayal of the inner psychic condition is balanced by the description of his outer physical condition. When the book opens, Murphy is found in his favorite position: sitting naked in a rocking chair, bound by scarves, attempting through the regular back-and forth motion.

 At the beginning of chapter nine Beckett's style is characterized by the use of epigraph. When Murphy starts his work, Beckett offers another epigraph. The epigraph is "It is difficult for one who lives outside of the world not to seek his own kind.

It is apparently clear that Beckett's Murphy is on the quest for the grail of oblivion. To foreground Murphy's quest for the grail of oblivion Beckett has made use of the style of humor. "There are several humorous elements scattered elsewhere in 'Murphy'. The humor comes from several sources. First Beckett creates a number of grotesque characters who circle the hero. Sense of humor emerges from how the novelist describes other tiny characters. There is Mr. Cooper, whose only visible human characteristic was a morbid craving for alcoholic depressant. Miss Rosie Dew is described as suffering from Duck's disease, a distressing pathological condition in which the thighs are suppressed and the buttocks spring directly from behind the knees'. See a further element of humor in the description of Miss Carridge.

See the following element of humor in the narrator's remarks "The skill is really extraordinary with which alphabets, especially those of Irish education circumvent their dread verbal commitments. Beckett makes his hospital attendants grotesque caricatures or ludicrous dupes and makes the patient seem alive in a far more pleasant and ordered world. The debate between the mortician and doctor over who will pronounce Murphy dead show the inanity of medical hierarchies and the sadism of the brothers Clinch prints to cruelty masked as treatment.

Stylistically Beckett fragments his narrative. At the end of chapter five, when Murphy is offered his job, he returns home to tell Celia the news and finds her spread-eagled on the bed. The chapter concludes with the one-sentence paragraph. A shocking thing had happened. Before we are told what the shocking thing is, Beckett breaks in with his chapters on Murphy's mind and a following chapter on the Dublin Cohorts. It is not until twenty-six pages later that we learn that the shocking occurrence was the suicide of the old boy.

Raising traditional expectation in fiction, employing the standard devices that further the narrative, and then ironically sabotaging them, allows Beckett to comment on standard fiction and to provide a situation in which the involved readers are forced to laugh at themselves for their insatiable need to know and for the sensationalist traps into which they so willingly fall.

Finally, it would be fair to say that in Beckett we find

• The laugh stopped by the tear.

• The tear is halted by the ever-present chortle.

• The grotesque complementing the tragic.