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Peer-Reviewed Article

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Gaps divide things that can’t quite come together, while cracks warn that something that was a coherent whole is coming apart. Michel Butor implants images of these two powerful symbols within his narrative of Léon Delmont’s troubled relationships with his wife, Henriette, and his lover, Cécile Darcella in his novel, La modification (1957). Some are obvious physical manifestations, while others are figurative, yet no less real. Butor then turns the concept of gap literally on its head by using its inverse, the barrier, to emphasize the self-imposed obstacles to a healthy relationship on both sides of Léon’s not so-secret double life.