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Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 170

The novel's themes can be separated by the author's literary intentions as contrasted to those more conventionally expressed through character and plot.

In regard to the former, Robbe-Grillet is concerned with the power of language. Large amounts of descriptive text, ambiguous settings and events, and lack of interpretive connections between those events are prominent characteristics of the novel. All of this supports a related general theme of the tenuous nature of reality, encouraging the reader to question the relationship of fact and fiction.

Within the novel, the setting remains unidentified beyond the tropical plantation environment where the two families live. Still, the complex, repressive character of colonialism emerges as a significant theme, as the characters benefit from it even as they are confined within that system.

Unreliability or hypocrisy of social conventions is another theme that concerns the couples, as A... and Franck apparently reject social rules through their (possible) affair or even their friendship.

Finally, this relationship fuels the theme implied by the title—jealousy—and its destructive effects.

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