The Confusion of Time

Time often exists as a forefront (intentionally or not) in literature. The movement of time is essential, it seems, to the functioning of a novel. That is to say, without time, how does a reader orient themselves around events?
However, In the House plays with time in a way that I have not often seen. This is not to assert that time is not as necessary of a function within Bell’s novel. Instead, the relationship is much more difficult than one may expect. I say this, because time is regularly mentioned. We see in part three of the novel that the husband has aged (seemingly) decades. Time passes, this is stated. But while time is qualifiable in the novel, it is not quantifiable, and this is what is interesting. The husband says, “for the first time in years or decades, in perhaps some other longer length unreckonable as all time then was…” (129), indicating that time is not properly measure – either within this universe, or within his mind. He, according to statement, has aged exponentially. However, the Foundling has aged only to adolescence. And then, even, within the natural movement of the novel, it appears to the reader that little time has elapsed. It would appear to me that, without the husband’s indication of passing time, that no more than days had passed.The changing of time spans is also notable and may help further this confusion. Near the start of the novel, time moves in smaller increments, while by our current point, it jumps in leaps and bounds.

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