How does Forster(TM)s narrative style affect the relationship between reader, character and situation? Essay
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Forster’s narrative style affects the relationship between reader, character and situation in many different ways. Forster’s narrative technique is often quite muddled. His style of narration wavers between optimism and uncertainty. He is always trying to show and describe one thing but means something else. He starts out with a certain vision, only to have it falter in subtle and frightening ways, and then reaffirms it. His narrative style can be rather subtle at times especially when he reveals his own opinion about a character, it is very indirect.
However, on the contrary one of Forster’s narrative techniques is to address the reader directly. Forster also leaves the reader to make their own view on the character; many times he does not reveal an opinion about the character so the reader can create their own interpretation. His narrative style can affect the situation in diverse techniques.
Forster can describe the situation in which Lucy can let out her emotion in her conscious and unconscious state, he reefers to music.
How he describes general way of being and life in A Room with a View has a link to music. The affirmation from his certain vision comes with an artistic admission. The articulate, dominant narrative voice chooses to have things turn out that way. For example Forster show the readers that life in his novels is rather like Beethoven’s sonnets ‘ They can triumph or despair as the player decides and Lucy had decided that they should triumph’ (Page twenty nine) The music becomes a way to show and relate to how Lucy attempts to convince her subconscious of a certain lifestyle.
Forster also uses his artistic admission with Lucy and the way in which Forster narrates his novel affects how the readers view the characters. Using Lucy Honeychurch as an example, the readers gain a connection with her. At the beginning of the novel Forster revealed her immaturity and often showed it with his narrative techniques. Throughout the novel the reader sees that Lucy develops into a more mature character. For example, her break up with Cecil shows the readers that she has finally distinguished her own thoughts realising that Cecil is not the man for her. The situation is narrated through the vision of art. Forster describes Cecil’s constant comparisons of Lucy to a Leonardo. It is based on Cecil’s perception of her “shadows” and “reticence”, which are actually signs of her confusion and repression.
Lucy is always muddled and the reader sometimes does not comprehend her, it is all to do with her not knowing what she really wants. Just as the reader starts to think they understand her Forster muddles up his narrative technique and ‘throws’ the reader from their thoughts quite subtly.
Subtlety plays quite a vital role in Forster’s narrative manner. He uses it in many ways, to describe the characters in deep thought. He also uses it with the character Mr. Beebe. He is clearly gay, just like E. M. Forster himself and Forster states the fact of Mr. Beebe’s sexuality however in an extremely clever and subtle way without making the whole situation too obvious.
The indirect narration of the characters plays a major role in the novel. Forster reveals his own opinion very indirectly. It provides a fine example of the highly visual nature of Forster’s narrative style and his concentration of the gaze on characters, especially male ones. The readers can see that he favours Mr. Emerson and therefore Forster makes no criticism towards him. The readers can see that few characters receive full lengthy physical description. However, on the contrary, Forster shows the characters that he is not so fond of, for example, Miss Bartlett. Forster subtly criticises her in his narration.
Most of the novel is narrated from Lucy’s prospective and at times from Mr. Beebe’s and Charlottes. Lucy and Charlotte’s relationship is exposed. Forster makes it obvious that Lucy is told what to think by Charlotte. He narrates it in such a way that it represents the freedom (or lack of it) that Lucy has. At the beginning of the novel Lucy is inferior to Charlotte and is expected to think what charlotte thinks and do what she does. It illustrates the opposition of immaturity and maturity shown in the beginning and end of the book.
Forster also shows opposition within his narration between the characters. For instance, Ms. Bartlett and Cecil are described as more conservative characters more indoor kind of people and are generally narrated doing things less active. A vast majority of the time they are only narrated doing things inside. However, comparing them to Freddy, Lucy and George it shows extreme distinction between characters because they are more outdoor and active characters, often narrated doing thing outside which then goes on to show the link to the view and how they appreciate it a lot more than Cecil and Charlotte. For example, Cecil refuses to play tennis stating that he was not made to play sport.
Overall, Forster’s narrative style affects the relationship between the
Readers by subtly favouring the character, by showing criticism towards the character or not criticising them at all and leaving the opinion to be made by the reader. His narrative style affects the situation by linking it to something that the reader can refer to, in this case, art and music. This therefore leads to a much more vivid image of the situation that the reader creates in his of her mind.