Discuss the Use of the Narrative Voice in the Extracts. How Successful Are They at Introducing the Character in the Openings to the Novel?

Topics: The Color Purple, Academy Award for Best Picture, Alice Walker Pages: 3 (991 words) Published: April 7, 2008
The two extracts are taken from two books that differ in both style and language. The first is from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, which was written in 1847 and the second is from the Colour Purple by Alice Walker, which was written in the 1970s and is set in the 1930s. Both are narrated in the first person but with very different writing styles.

Wuthering Heights is written in high register, using a very descriptive style. The narrative is in the form of diary entry and written in the first person with quoted direct speech. The reader is introduced to two buildings; Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, and, although this isn’t immediately apparent, the main character, Mr Heathcliff, and his relationship with Mr Lockwood, the narrator.

In direct contrast, the Colour Purple is written in low register with the minimum of description. The narrative is based on the written thoughts of a young girl, in letter format, which are addressed to God. The reader is introduced to the life of Celie, the narrator, and members of her family. Her story is a description of events only, rather than of the surroundings, in which the events took place.

The characters in Wuthering Heights are fully described using metaphors; for instance, Mr Heathcliff "is a dark skinned gypsy... in dress and manners a gentleman" and is "an erect and handsome figure" with a "degree of under-bred pride".

On the other hand, in the Colour Purple, it is left to our imagination as to the description of the narrator and the other characters. The only physical characteristics mentioned are that the narrator is "big" through being pregnant and of Shug Avery, who is described as being "the most beautiful woman she ever saw". These are comparative characteristics as opposed to the vividly pictorial descriptions of the characters in Wuthering Heights.

In Wuthering Heights, the buildings are described in minute detail using explicitly graphic phrases such as "grotesque...
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