Narrative Voice

Topics: Narrative, Jean Brodie, First-person narrative Pages: 4 (1401 words) Published: June 4, 2013
'It is important to see beyond narrative voice when judging a text.'

Unless a story is written from someone's point of view there is no story. Within literature, two commonly used viewpoints are First person and Third person limited. First person is where the narrator is a character in the story; and Third person limited is told from a character's perspective. A writer will choose the point of view that they believe will best convey their message. At the heart of that choice is their choice of narrator or narrative voice. So when we talk of narrative voice, what we really mean is the view point of the person telling the story. The narrative voice that emerges from a text, engages the reader by giving them information. The information allows us to construct meaning as we read. The voice controls the information we receive at each and every stage of the story. The information we get may create a better understanding of a particular character or characters, which may enable us amongst other things to like or dislike them.

To illustrate this, look at this following example. We may be told in the opening chapters of a novel that the protagonist, a young girl named Denver spends a lot of her time with Betty, an elderly neighbour. Denver keeps her company, does her shopping, and generally helps out. In later chapters we are told that Denver has been stealing from Betty. As readers, initially we may have liked Denver, however we are forced to reconsider our liking for the girl and we may now intensely dislike her for stealing. Then in the penultimate chapter we are told that Denver is only stealing to pay-off Betty's estranged step-son. The reader is again forced to reconsider their views towards Denver in order to take onboard, wider issues and themes that are being expressed. What is clear from this example, is that the writer through the narrative voice is shaping and manipulating the reader's response to the characters and the story.

'The Prime of Miss Jean...
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