Narrative and ideological discourses in representations of the Mašín Brothers

Sveda, Josef (2010) Narrative and ideological discourses in representations of the Mašín Brothers. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis deals with narrative representations of the story of the Mašín brothers who in
1951 established what they called ‘a resistance group’ against the Communist regime and
killed three people. They escaped from Czechoslovakia in 1953, heading for West Berlin.
Despite being hunted by more than 20,000 East German and Soviet troops, the Mašín
brothers together with Milan Paumer got to West Berlin safely. Later, they went to the
USA and joined the U.S. army. Their actions are still regarded as controversial in today’s
Czech Republic and are a topic of continuous public debate. Since the fall of
Communism in 1989, this topic has been tackled by many historians as well as nonfiction
writers. The thesis analyses a novel, So Far So Good [Zatím dobrý. Mašínovi a
největší příběh studené války] by Jan Novák, and a historical book written by Barbara
Masin called Gauntlet: Five Friends, Twenty Thousand Enemy Troops, and the Secret
That Could Have Changed the Course of the Cold War. The thesis also examines two
narratives about the Mašín brothers produced in Communist Czechoslovakia in the 1970s
and 1980s – a short story by František Vrbecký called The Dead Do Not Talk and one
episode of a famous television series Major Zeman’s Thirty Cases entitled Fear. Whereas
in the narratives produced in Communist Czechoslovakia the Mašíns are depicted as
murderers, in the narratives published after 1989, they are portrayed as freedom fighters.
This thesis analyses these narrative representations from a narratological point of view
and assesses how their structures are related to the values, beliefs and opinions they
promote. The semiotic and narratological approach (Porter Abbott, Seymour Chatman) is
used as are contemporary critical theory (Roland Barthes, Theun A. van Dijk) and theory
of history (Hayden White). The thesis is divided into three parts: the first two parts
analyse the narratives from a narratological point of view and their affiliation to myth and
the third part unravels the relationship of the narrative discourse to the beliefs and values
inscribed in the narratives – ideological discourse.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Mašín Brothers, Masin, Czech Ideology, Myth, Communism, Post-Communism, Central Europe, Semiotics, Narratology
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PG Slavic, Baltic, Albanian languages and literature
H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Slavonic Studies
Supervisor's Name: Culik, Dr. Jan
Date of Award: 2010
Depositing User: Mgr., MPhi Josef Sveda
Unique ID: glathesis:2010-2289
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2010
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2013 09:54
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/2289

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