The 'Blind space' that lies beyond the frame: Anne Provoost's 'Falling' (1997) and John Boyne's 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas' (2006)

Alice Curry

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Abstract

‘Blind space’ is a filmic term more widely referred to as ‘off-screen space’ in cinematography. It refers to the unseen area outside the frame of the screen and beyond the margins of the visible. The effects of blind space on the film viewer are similar to those of mise en abîme on the reader of narrative fiction. The term mise en abîme is here used in its most literal sense to refer to the determination of meaning outside of a normative frame of reference. This article explores the visual implications of the ‘out-of-frame’ in two young adult novels, Anne Provoost's Falling (1997) and John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2006). Blind space in these texts, in which the Holocaust is theme or sub-theme, is the space in which the cultural minorities reside. A foregrounding of the blind space thus calls for increased social awareness. In both novels a repeated motif of impenetrable walls, barriers and borders highlights the need for the apolitical protagonists to turn their gazes towards the blind spaces and to restore the marginalised occupants with visibility and voice. Blind space here becomes the interpretative key with which to unlock the texts' call for multiracial acceptance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-74
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Research in Children's Literature
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • blind space
  • mise en abîme
  • framing
  • marginality
  • Holocaust
  • young adult fiction

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