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Could Hergé's characters stand for 'something else'?

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yamilah
Member
#1 · Posted: 25 Apr 2005 21:29 · Edited by: yamilah
In some strange and rare French original dialogues, Hergé seems to consider his characters just like 'things':

- in B&W Congo, plate 4, last frame:
"Si demain tu n'es pas mort, tu as des chances d'être sauvé"
i.e. 'If you're not dead by tomorrow, you'll have some chances to be saved', says Tintin to comfort poor Snowy, instead of taking a prompt veterinarian advice...

- in Castafiore Emerald:
'la Bianca' (p23, D1), i.e. 'the Bianca'.
'le Nestor' (p38, A3), i.e. 'the Nestor'.
'le Tryphon Tournesol' (p45, B3), i.e. 'the Cuthbert Calculus'.

- in Picaros:
'votre Bianca', says Haddock to Calculus (p10, A2).
The English version 'your precious Bianca' is not contemptuous, but still an incomprehensible Tintin later declares 'I'm staying right here' (p10, D4), contrasting with Haddock's and Calculus' humanitarism towards her...

Do you know other dialogues of that kind in the Tintinverse?
Tintinrulz
Member
#2 · Posted: 26 Apr 2005 01:51 · Edited by: Tintinrulz
I think you are delving far to deep into the books and looking for things that just aren't there.
Charles
Member
#3 · Posted: 26 Apr 2005 09:18
Yamilah,

I don't know French, but what I know of Greek tells me that articular usage (articles are words like "the" and "a") is a VERY touchy subject (sorry to shout!). Sometimes the article adds specificity, sometimes it's simply grammatical necessity and the word would sound inappropriate without an article. There are other nuances as well, but I don't remember them (please don't tell my Greek teacher ;) ).
jock123
Moderator
#4 · Posted: 26 Apr 2005 09:57
yamilah, I think you are beating your “hidden text” drum a little too hard again. You never provide any sort of frame-work to prop up your statements, so they never have any point, which is frustrating.

So what if the characters are treated like things? What of it? If you raise the subject, you should offer some opinion, or thesis or point of view on the subject, otherwise the post serves no purpose. Please enlighten us: what is this post about? You should at least explain of the form of address in the original is unusual/ aberrant/ unknown - most of us here are native English speakers, so we have no idea if the use of the article is anything more than formal. The example of “votre Castafiore” to Calculus makes textual sense to me whatever the language, so why pick it out?
Jyrki21
Member
#5 · Posted: 27 Apr 2005 05:56 · Edited by: Jyrki21
I don't know French, but what I know of Greek tells me that articular usage (articles are words like "the" and "a") is a VERY touchy subject (sorry to shout!). Sometimes the article adds specificity, sometimes it's simply grammatical necessity and the word would sound inappropriate without an article.

I do speak French, and you are quite right. Articles in French pop up more frequently than in English -- Tintin also refers to Bobby Smiles (in absentia) as "Monsieur le bandit" in French -- for purely stylistic or, sometimes, grammatical purposes.

[If you want to see an episode in world politics where the difference in article usage in English and French held the lives of millions in the balance, read up on the formulation process of UN Security Council Resolution 242 on the Middle East!]

These uses by Hergé are perhaps a little strange, even for French, but I don't think they mean anything. Tintin, in all his languages, adopts a rather formal style of speech. (In French, Tintin and Haddock address one another with the unfamiliar/respectful "vous," for example, even though they're seemingly best friends who share a house!)
yamilah
Member
#6 · Posted: 27 Apr 2005 15:14 · Edited by: yamilah
Charles
I don't know French, but what I know of Greek

Sorry, French articles have not much to see with Greek ones...

jock123
So what if the characters are treated like things?

Well imho it could mean they are 'font-like' as well, i.e. 'synonymous' with some of their traits, as officially asserted on tintin.com... (see other threads), so it is not 'my' drum... ;-)
Gathered characters or albums should consequently be able 'to tell a story in the story'...

explain of the form of address in the original is unusual/ aberrant/ unknown

OK... In French, speaking of you as 'le jock123' or telling your friends about 'votre jock123' sounds disparaging and contemptuous, casual at best, whereas saying 'votre fameux jock123' or 'votre moderateur' or 'le moderateur jock123' has no such connotation...

This kind of address is not very usual, but it's neither aberrant nor unknown, otherwise it would just be meaningless...

Jyrki21

Tintin also refers to Bobby Smiles (...) as "Monsieur le bandit"

I agree ...but Tintin never says 'le Bobby' nor 'le Smiles'...
jock123
Moderator
#7 · Posted: 27 Apr 2005 17:06
yamilah
Well imho it could mean they are 'font-like' as well, i.e. 'synonymous' with some of their traits,

Yes, but again - so what? Objectifying people happens in the real world, so that isn’t anything new. Even you responded:

it's neither aberrant nor unknown, otherwise it would just be meaningless...

Well exactly - so why bring it up?

Apart from the fact that I don’t think “font-like” means anything (not in English, anyway), saying a cartoon character represents itself is hardly a point for discussion. So Hergé used stilted language - what of it? You still haven’t made a proposition or stated what is to be noted by bringing this up.
yamilah
Member
#8 · Posted: 27 Apr 2005 20:34
jock123
what is to be noted by bringing this up.

Well it's rather simple imho: showing 'characters' as things ('fonts' are metaphoric...) hints they might be part of a 'rebus', which is a Latin word signifying precisely by means of things, a word used to depict a writing rather 'distorted' into a series of 'word-images' than really 'stilted'...
jock123
Moderator
#9 · Posted: 27 Apr 2005 22:13
But you don’t give any examples of “showing 'characters' as things”, because the references are in the dialogue.

Given that you are refering to a story, told in words and pictures, of course things are being used to mean things - but it is all explicit, not esoteric...

You also can’t demonstrate that there is anything really unusual about the language Hergé is using which would identify it as special - it is language which could be used by anyone at any time.

Until you provide a concrete example of anything approaching a rebus - that old chestnut! - your thesis has no credibility, imho.
yamilah
Member
#10 · Posted: 28 Apr 2005 14:49
Well, to make it short the very best example is now on tintin.com, which offers a strange matter for reflection... Officially 'Tintin is not a name' (i.e. not a real person) but a synonymous with his quiff (i.e. a thing)...
This matches with the 5-legged Snowy (a 'shown character') in the 'Soviets' 1st original plate, where Snowy (briefly no more a real dog) is as 'sym-pathetic' as an ink (i.e. a thing) with his 'cinq pattes'... (see Tintin nickname's and rebus threads).

'Soviets' is the book that some Tintin specialists hardly study or even read... Maybe you prefer such readily understandable and so reliable studies?

Once again, no esoterism in Tintin but 'erased' word-images made of words Herge 'drew', and of drawings he made 'legible', according to his rather 'unusual language' anyone can read in 'Comment nait une aventure de Tintin'...

'Erasing'? Well, Arumbayan and Syldavian are nothing but 'erased' Marollien (a 'distorted' dialect or a tongue 'translated' via some kind of 'synonyms' would fit better, imho)...

Might be time now to open a book telling about invisible writings?...

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