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Houston – How to Talk to a Hunter Essay

Through her How to Talk to a Hunter short story, author Pam Houston uses the second-person point of view to describe a rather controversial relationship between a certain liberal woman and a conservative man. The author thus explores the dynamics of gender relations through this unconventional and subtle approach. By employing this unusual point of view, the author seeks to involve all her readers in the story’s happenings. Further it is notable that Houston dwells on a rather sensitive topic of gender relations.

Usually conservative societies seek to unjustly subordinate women to male power. The author thus deems it fit to make use of the second-person point of view to inform readers of, not what the story’s characters are experiencing, but rather, to explore the readers’ thoughts and feelings. This approach accommodates a great variety of readers into the story’s plot by entertaining persistent ambiguity that leaves the interpretation of the narrative’s theme open to audience speculation.

To illustrate, by describing the reaction that the hunter will have towards the lady in the second-person, the author avoids being unnecessarily antagonistic in the story’s development (Houston 12). Instead, Houston allows readers to, firstly, examine their sentiments towards the story’s happenings and secondly, to identify with the some of the story’s happenings. In effect, the author leads the reader in developing the story’s plot as opposed to unilaterally telling the story by herself.

In addition, this second-person point of view enables the author to avoid taking sides with regard to the gender debate. Rather, Houston incorporates both gender in analyzing and critiquing the existing gender relations. This technique thus makes the literary work acceptable to a wide variety of people from both the female and male gender. Houston capitalizes on the ability to arouse readers’ feelings as she seeks both female and male acceptance, and identification with, her How to Talk to a Hunter story.

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