The novel “The Reader” is narrated in first person by one of the main characters, Michael Berg. It is told in the style of an autobiography therefore includes his memories of certain events intermingled with current events. Consequently, these events are told from only one point of view and are reliant on one person’s memory, but also provide insights into Michael’s character and personality. There will be a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of having this style of narration in this genre of book and how the author conveys theme through the use such memories and flashbacks.
There are distinct advantages to having a main character narrate the story from his point of view - it allows for his character to become more accessible to the readership, therefore enabling them to emphathise with him and his situation. Schlink's tone is sparse, a style exemplified by the bluntness of chapter openings at key turns in the plot, such as the first sentence of chapter seven: "The next night I fell in love with her." His clear and unadorned language enhances the authenticity of the text. The most prominent style of narration in the book is when Michael describes a scene, then what it reminds him of. The plot of the book allows for this type of story telling as it is an account of his memories and what reminds him of those memories; for example “The building on Bahnhofstrasse is no longer there…” This is part of a description of a dream that the narrator had which reminded him of his memories of that particular place - it is not necessarily his physical presence at the place of which he is reminded of that triggers his memories, but the memory of a memory. This layering of narrative indicates how Michael’s psyche was greatly influenced by the events; the fact that the memories are not generally accessible - “but the memories wouldn’t come back” - shows that he was deeply emotionally scarred by them, emphasising their significance. Additionally, his seemingly...
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