Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Louis Leiter

First Committee Member

Diane M. Borden

Second Committee Member

Leonard O'Bryan [?]

Third Committee Member

Alan J. H[?]

Fourth Committee Member

Mauricio L. McCullen [?]


Gabriel Fielding's In the Time of Greenbloom is a major twentieth century novel that has received literary critical attention. With its dramatic plot and colorful characters, it has an immediate surface appeal for most readers. The novel requires deeper, symbolical reading in order to reach its central theme, man's potential for transformation.

John Blaydon, the protagonist, is a very different young man at the end of the novel from the child he is at the beginning. His activities, the narrative base of the novel, reveal more than the external events of his life. Fielding uses them as objectification of confrontations that occur within John's psyche. As the novel opens, John is regressive, uncertain of his sexual identity, and suicidal. During the following six years, he undergoes a series of traumatic encounters within his psyche made concrete in the details of the novel. As a result of the inner confrontations, John is transformed into a young man growing into healthful maturity' and hovering on the edge of creative accomplishment.

The process by which Fielding communicates psychological change is the establishment in the first chapter of a matrix, the scene at the Bellingham lake and woods, a fictional embodiment of John's psyche. That scene is made up of components such as characters, settings, actions, and motifs that symbolize John's psychological complexes. In.a technique of transformation, Fielding repeats the scene again and again, changing the contents of the components to reveal qualitative changes in the complexes. The components become correlatives that guide the reader in keeping account of changes in John. The matrix and its components remain relatively fixed throughout and underlie the fundamental architectonics of the novel, but the contents of the components change. Thus, Fielding fictionalizes the changes in John's psyche.

The components of the matrix do not function in isolation to communicate transformation. They are fleshed out and supported by an elaborate texture of smaller units, of cross-references, among the novel's image patterns, direct statements, word-plays, allusions, and the like. These details intertwine to amplify, extend, deepen, validate, and enrich the insight gained from the correlatives of John's psychological growth.

Transformation is the key word for the novel both technically and thematically as the detailed analysis that makes up much of this study reveals. Other techniques are employed to communicate the psychological theme. Fielding establishes a doubling pattern--characters are paired (John and Victoria, John and Greenbloom), oppositions are utilized (noise and silence, inertia and activity)--to emphasize. the role of the conscious and the unconscious and the negative and positive polarities implicit in many psychological principles. He superimposes details to reveal growing psychic integration, he juxtaposes actions to heighten contrasting psychic forces at work, he recapitulates incidents to reveal the lessened power of earlier threatening complexes, and he freezes actions to communicate psychic arrest.

Fielding has his protagonist describe much of what he does: John sees other characters as being "inside" himself and explains that "things that happen to you are you." Fielding manipulates his technique forcing it to function expressively to reveal the psychological processes at work in John's gradually developing maturity. His description of growth from boyhood to manhood and from emotional crippling to psychic health employs a variety of ways to dramatically communicate transformation and suggests a similarity between the dynamics of the psyche and the dynamics of literary technique.





Rights Statement

Rights Statement

No Known Copyright. URI:
The organization that has made the Item available reasonably believes that the Item is not restricted by copyright or related rights, but a conclusive determination could not be made. Please refer to the organization that has made the Item available for more information. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use.