Four Narrative Positions in Fictions
Four Narrative Positions in Fictions
In fiction novels, one of the most important elements is the authoritative narrator. The narration is the part of the material which guides the readers and keeps them in track of how the story goes. Without this element, everything will be left onto the readers, like the parts of analysis and interpretation, which may lead to confusion. There are several kinds of narrations when it comes to fiction writing.
However, although all narrative styles may appear helpful guiding the readers throughout the rest of a novel, the narrative style with the utmost access to the characters consciousness is always the most effective and affective to the readers. John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums”: Outside Privileged Narration Looking at the narrative style of John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums,” it can be observed that the narrator speaks consistently in the third-person point of view.
This is a one of the major properties of outside privileged narration. Another observable characteristic of the narrative position of this novel is that it has all the access to the characters’ emotions, views, feelings, and inner thoughts. The narrator seems to have all the knowledge in terms of how the characters feel as presented in this line: “Her face was eager and mature and handsome; even her work with the scissors was overeager, over-powerful.
The chrysanthemum stems seemed too small and easy for her energy” (Steinbeck page #). Aside from this, the narrator of this story also seems to have the ability to analyze the events it the story as well as the thoughts and dialogues of the characters, which is another distinct characteristic of an outside privileged narrator. This can be observed in the following line: “Here, for instance, the claustrophobic world of Elisa Allen is signaled by the claustrophobic clouds pressing in on the valley.
This frustrated woman will never break free” (Steinbeck page #). Lastly, the narrator nonetheless appears credible since its presence has been close enough to the author’s views. Kate Chopin “The Story of an Hour”: Outside Effaced Narration In “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, it can be easily seen that the identity of the story does not dwell much on the characters. just like in the “The Chrysanthemums,” the narrator here also tells the tale in the third-person, all-knowing point of view.
However, as compared to the first short story, the narrator in this story does not have much access to the characters’ feelings and thoughts as reflected in this line which barely tells the outside manifestation of the characters’ emotions: “She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sisters’ arms” (Chopin page #).
Moreover, the narrator also does not convey much about its presence as it can be observed that it does not always give sufficient descriptions and analysis, as presented in this line as well: “The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares” (Chopin page #). Also, this narrator is reliable in the sense that it shows the characters’ actions and describes what they are supposedly thinking and feeling, specifically that of Louise’s.
However, it does not present the inner voice of the characters, nor does it express its own comments about the happenings in the story. Ralph Ellison “Battle Royal”: Inside Dramatized Narration In Ralph Ellison’s “Battle Royal,” the narrator appears as the character that is presented as the focus and identity of the novel. The narrator uses first-person pronouns which implies that he, himself is the character of the story which stars him.
Unlike the short stories discussed earlier, the narrator in this story has the most access to the characters’ consciousness and feelings as he himself is the character of his own story – which makes his lines more affective and believable. This line clearly presents this attribute: “I saw them start up the steps and felt suddenly as though my head would split” (Ellison page #). Aside from this, there seems to be no question regarding the domination of the narrator in this story as he himself acts as the one who relates his own experiences: “Oh God, this wasn’t it at all.
Poor techniques and not at all what I intended […] Dispossessed? I cried holding up my hand and allowing the word to whistle from my throat. ‘That’s a good word, Dispossessed! Dispossessed” (Ellison page #). However, in most parts, there seem to be some questions regarding the narrator’s reliability as his and others’ knowledge in the story will always seen insufficient and not all-knowing. William Faulkner “A Rose for Emily”: Inside Restricted Narrator
Just like Steinbeck’s and Chopin’s stories that were presented previously, the identity in this story is not focused on the characters. Also, it holds some similarity with the first two stories as this was also told in the third-person point of view. However, what is different in this story is that it only holds access to the consciousness of some characters and not all, as presented in the following lines: “The heart of the Rose expanded in kindness to every human being; in tenderness to the dumb creation; and for the vegetable, she felt an enthusiastic admiration.
Her unaffected gaiety, and artless fullness would frequently inspire and ease in the manner of naturally reserved Emily” (Fau1kner page #). With regard to the narrator’s domination in the story, it can be seen that it constantly speaks through its own voice at times, yet there are also instances when it combines its thoughts with the character’s views: “Praise, however indirect, to her mother, always brought a flush of joy to the cheeks of Rose; she gave Emily a kiss of gratitude, and then turned to her flowers” (Fau1kner page #).
In terms of the narrator’s reliability, it seems limited in the sense that it presents the shared consciousness of the townsfolk (as the narrator is deemed as the townsfolk due to the constant use of personal pronouns in plural form such as we), but it does not have access to the consciousness of all the characters, especially to the consciousness of Emily as well as the characters close to her (e. g. , the black servant).
Upon exploring the different narrative styles in the aforementioned stories, it can be inferred that the reliability of the narrator definitely depends upon how well he or she is knowledgeable about the story and upon whether he or she has access to the characters’ consciousness. Moreover, although all the above-mentioned narrative styles help in guiding the readers throughout the novels, the one which possesses the utmost ability to influence and move the readers still appears to be the narrative style with utmost access to the characters’ feelings and emotions, which is the inside dramatized narrative style.
Works Cited Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour. ” Literature for Composition: Essays, Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 8th ed. Eds. Sylvan Barnet, William Burto, and William E. Cain. New York: Pearson Longman, 2007. pages #s. Ellison, Ralph. “Battle Royal. ” Literature for Composition: Essays, Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 8th ed. Eds. Sylvan Barnet, William Burto, and William E. Cain. New York: Pearson Longman, 2007. pages #s.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 5 October 2016
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