Chronological Reversal In Betrayal

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Emma’s objective is closely linked with the timing Emma chooses to announce her pregnancy. Having understood that Jerry is not going to divorce Judith, Emma recognizes that Jerry regards herself merely as a sexual partner. Emma thus proclaims her pregnancy with a dubious statement. Following an intriguing pause, Emma abruptly and consciously insists that the fetus (who is Ned) is not the child of anybody else but Robert, which is open to multiple inferences. Perhaps Emma is having Jerry’s baby; or maybe Emma is misleading Jerry to assume that Ned is his kid so that his responsibility will prompt Jerry to change his life; or else Emma may want to exhibit her pleasant family life. Then, Jerry is breathless with shock and fails to respond immediately.…show more content…
Besides the cryptic language and knowledge, chronological reversal helps to establish arbitrariness in Betrayal. Although the outcome of the triangular relationship is disclosed at the beginning, the deceits are only unfolded as the time moves backward. Expositions and hypocrisies are constantly accumulated such that the whole drama is presented as Jerry’s recollection of the trilateral negotiations. The technique of narrating the story backwards parallel the audience’s experience of disclosing previously unknown or limited information with the protagonist’s endeavor to reclaim control. It also manifests that everyone is susceptible to false and slippery memories; and it is this potentiality which obscures both Jerry and the audience. Pinter (2005) observes that any single second is “distorted…at the time of its birth” since everyone tends to interpret a shared experience in his/her own way (p. 21). The temporal shifts disclose that “memory is not chronologically bound” (Gray, 2004), and thus the flexibility of time can lead to misleading mystification, as hinted by the fact that only years and/or months of the events are available. A character’s inability to indicate the specific setting of an incident offers a sign of the instability of the past because it is constantly recreated in accord with how s/he wants to construct the present. These qualities suggest that all characters are equally untrustworthy because the very concept of true memory is problematic, as remarked by Clyman

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