Themes and Meanings

(Literary Essentials: World Fiction)

Simon’s purpose in Triptych is to shake the reader’s very faith in the reality of the novel. Simon shows his reader that all fictions are merely fictional and do not represent any reality; they represent only themselves. In this manner, the author displays to his reader the truth of the novel.

By creating a distrust of fictional reality in the reader, Simon demonstrates also the overbearing role that a narrator (or even a zealous reader) may play in the traditional novel. A narrator often makes plot links for the reader and provides all types of information that the images in the novel do not actually show. Thus a narrator, especially an omniscient one, takes some of the joy of discovery away from the reader. In Triptych, the typical reader will strain to find details that further explain the scenes and the characters. When such information is forthcoming from the book, it is welcomed, and when it is not, the reader may feel disappointed. Through all of this process, Simon has impressed on his audience the precise function of a good reader: to see clearly what is given and no more than that.

Simon also provides more traditional themes. He emphasizes the interrelationships of sex, violence, and death. The most passionate lovemaking in Triptych has violent overtones. In the barn scenes at the farm, the couple finds frantic pleasure, yet Simon places the old woman carrying home her dead and bleeding rabbit just...

(The entire section is 509 words.)