Figural Narration in The Dubliners

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Figural Narration
A character's thoughts, emotions, and behavior are important factors in productively piecing a novel together. In effect, many authors are able to present a character's ideas and feelings successfully using different types of narrative voices. One technique in particular is figural narration. The use of third-person narrative voice enables the reader to have an alternate view of the character's personality. In James Joyce's Dubliners, he creatively exercises figural narration to portray different views of the character's identity in the story "Eveline," but he chooses to use first-person narrative in "Araby" creating a contrast in the exposition of the characters in the two stories.

In the story of "Eveline," Joyce uses figural narration to give the reader a chance to explore the character, Eveline, and interpret her identity however they want. For example, the feelings she has towards her responsibility for her father and the house could be thought of as either idiotic for not wanting to experience life herself or unselfish in that she is willing to sacrifice her own well-being for her father. This freedom given to the reader ultimately results in an imaginatively based story as opposed to one with a specific guideline. Allowing the reader to make his or her own assumptions about the character makes them become more involved in the outcome of the story. Figural narration also creates gaps in the story. For instance, at the end, we are never told why she does not get on the boat with her boyfriend. Because of this technique, we are left to produce our own explanation for the sudden change in her state of mind. In contrast, Joyce decides to write "Araby" in first-person narrative to give the reader a different perspective other than third-person. The reader is unable to create their own perception of the narrator because it is the narrator's viewpoint. An example is the boy's feelings toward Mangan's sister. The narrator informs the reader...
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