Free Indirect Discourse in Hossein Sanapour’s Lips on a Blade



This essay examines the practice of free indirect discourse (FID), as a narrative-stylistic device, in Hossein Sanapour’s Lips on a Blade (2010). After a brief overview of the novel ’s narrative structure, the four modes of representing characters’ discourses in narrative fiction are introduced and exemplified. Among these modes, FID is the most important since it is the only one which leads to textual ambiguity and semantic plurality of the narrative discourse. Next, the functions of FID in Lips on a Blade are elaborated upon, through analyzing two extracts from the novel. The basic argument of this essay is that the use of FID in this text results in the co-presence of the narrator’s discourse and the character-focalizer’s, without one of them subordinating the other. This characterizes the novel as polyphonic because, through FID, the narrator’s voice and those of the characters become engaged in constant dialogue with one another.