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2011 Paper 2 Module A – Elective 1: Distinctive Voices

In what ways are people and experiences brought to life through distinctive voices?

In your response, make detailed reference to your prescribed text and at least ONE other related text of your own choosing.

Sample response: Prose fiction

Prescribed text: The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender, Marele Day, 1988
Related text: ‘Katrina’, Bruce Dawe, 1967 (poetry)

The introduction names the texts and outlines how they both use particular techniques to convey a distinctive voice
In The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender, Marele Day takes the reader into the world of the novel through narrative perspective, tone, detailed description and personifying the setting. Bruce Dawe’s poem, ‘Katrina’, also uses a strong first person perspective and tone, but uses metaphor and simile to convey feelings, whereas Day uses description to convey character and action. In both texts we have a very strong sense of the person behind the distinctive narrative voice.

Narrative perspective in Harry Lavender
The narrative perspective in The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender establishes the voice of the hard-boiled detective. We read the clichés of the genre – the blond in the bed, the heavy drinking and the hangover, the chaotic apartment – but Day undercuts and rearranges our perceptions by making us realise after a few paragraphs that the narrator is female, not male. This has the effect of establishing the narrative voice as belonging to a multi-dimensional and interesting character, someone who is unconventional and on first meeting certainly seems larger than life.

Use of description to convey action
Events and people in the novel are described in considerable detail, to allow us to be closely involved in the action. Day uses short sentences for fast-paced action to give us a moment-by-moment understanding of events. When Claudia is breaking into the gaming arcade through the roof, the short non-sentences

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