In the Lake of the Woods

Topics: Truth, Narrator, Fiction Pages: 3 (1108 words) Published: September 5, 2010
The Narrator of the novel is limited by all that he does not and cannot know! Can we, then, describe him as ‘reliable?’

“In the lake of the woods” by Tim O’Brien is a fictional recollection of events according to a fictional character created by the author – the narrator. As the narrator is portrayed as a “historian” who spent four years researching John Wade, we should be aware that all that is written may not necessarily be true as the narrator is human. Innately he is restricted in his capabilities to be omnipresent and thus omniscient. The story is recreated by the narrator himself, therefore making it an interpretation of his viewpoints and perception of everything. This is acknowledged by the narrator himself as he admits that all he is ever left with is “supposition and possibility” and that even after four years of hard work, the story should be viewed as nothing more than an “imaginative reconstruction of events”. All the narrator is doing is depicting the story of John Wade in the way he sees fit to do so taking into account all his acuity and pre-conceived notions. This is why everything in the book must not be viewed as the truth for “evidence is not truth. It is only evident”. Hence the narrator can admit to being constrained when it comes to knowing everything as he will always be constrained by his perception in things that he does know and his imagination of things he cannot possibly know. For this reason he cannot be viewed as being completely reliable and trustworthy but through the use of his evidence chapters and external links, we can to some extent consider him reliable.

However, although we cannot completely rely on his recreation of events we can appreciate all the hard work that the narrator did go through to piece this story together. This can be seen through the evidence chapters which give lend credibility to the story constructed by the narrator. These chapters must not be viewed as entirely untruthful. The contain testimonies...
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