Time Consciousness in Soul Mountain

Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian is an adventure story, a journey of healing, a travelogue, and an autobiographical account of a contemporary writer. The novel is based on a long journey and the somewhat physical and personal experiences of prior journeys he had. In his journey to the Lingshan, which itself is metaphorical place, he has traveled in past by different medium and reached to his Lingshan. In Soul Mountain, past has its significance as it provide the experience and helps to overcome the upcoming danger. In this novel, the narrator has created pronouns to overcome his loneliness which are also the part of his psyche; I, you, he, and she. Each pronoun has his past which is presented through different stories or sub stories by four pronouns. This term paper is an attempt to explore the time consciousness in the novel and how the past is revisited in present through different mediums.

Time is an imperative facet of human existence and time-consciousness means the subjective experience of time. It is a psychological term that comes from the researchers of the twentieth century to explore the human consciousness. Consciousness refers to the person’s awareness of memories and past experiences. By using this technique the writer has tried to measure the psychological experience of time that how it affects one person’s awareness of time and his past, present and future. An American psychoanalyst has defined time consciousness as a stream of “unbroken and continuous experiences.”

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The past in the novel has been revisited through four pronouns by using the meta-fiction as a tool. There is a story going on within a story to reveal the past, history, memories and childhood experiences. In the novel Gao narrates his past and experiences of his life to you and he tells you everything related to his past. He has strong memory and remembered everything about his past. According to Edmund Husserl, one type of memory is retention in wh…