The Meaning of Work and the Absence of Workers in Les Mandarins: Irony at Work through the Camouflaged Essential Accessory

Robin Patric Cllair, Lauren Berkshire Hearit


Building on past studies that assert that novels provide pedagogical promise as well as organizational insight for students and managers, we take up Simone de Beauvoir’s classic novel Les Mandarins which questions the meaning and value of literature to act as a form of resistance and activism, especially on behalf of the working class. We point out that ‘the workers’ are both present and absent in the novel, as they are the central point of discussion and yet no working class characters are developed within the pages of the novel. We address this as a rhetorical/literary device-- accessoire-in-dispensable-dans-camoufler or more succinctly, the essential accessory, which future studies might invoke in assessing organizational practices.  

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