We Were the Mulvaneys

Topics: Joyce Carol Oates, Question, Fiction Pages: 2 (719 words) Published: November 27, 2005
In the novel We Were the Mulvaneys, the youngest son Judd Mulvaney is telling a story, recounting his life growing up in a small town in the 1970s. The narrator tells the story of his family life and the tragic issue of his sister being raped and having to move away. In the novel I think that Joyce Carol Oates characterizes Judd Mulvaney as an omniscient narrator but also a public narrator. In the actual novel and movie he is a public narrator because he slips into and out of each characters different voice. In the passage I see the omniscient narrator. This passage has a very sad tone, but he is characterized well. The first literary technique that is used is imagery when she describes the beginning setting and scene. "That time in our lower driveway, by the brook. I was straddling my bike starring down into the water. Fast flowing clear water, shallow, shale beneath, and lots of leaves." Stanzas 1-4. Then in stanza five he uses metaphor by saying that the "sky was the color of lead" and in the same sentence uses figure of speech when he said" the light mostly drained". He is outside leaning over a rail and it seems as if he is speaking but it is really an inner thought process that is taking place. I get the idea that he is thinking and not speaking in stanzas five through seven when he says, " I couldn't see my face, only the dark shape of a head that could be anybody's head. Hypnotizing myself the way kids do. Lonely kids." There is no one else around him, but yet in stanza 44 he talks as if he asked his dad a question and he was there to answer. He says" (Might as well buy our vehicles mudd-colored to begin with, saves time was dad's logic). This also gives me the feel that he is actually trying to connect with the reader by having a conversation with them. Before he said this there was no question asked he just told us his dad's logic, and this is an example of him speaking as a different character. This is also an example of flashback, because he is...
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