Narrative style of the novel Essay
Narrative style of the novel
Comment on how the language contributes to the understanding of the character, plots, theme and narrative style of the novel Chapter 6 is presented to the audience entirely in the past with no hindsight. Once again it develops the plot showing the children developing closer to adulthood, yet still not quite there, not understanding the consequences of their actions : “was it you two? “, “I look away”. The language from the passage in the hard back page 111 to 113 contributes to the understanding of the characters, plots, themes and narrative style of the novel.
The section about the hierarchy in trees only further reinforces the naivety and stupidity to the character Stephen. Stephen has an obvious sense of hierarchy and in this case the “sour smell of the elders” and “its humiliating position at the very bottom of the hierarchy of trees”. This continues into the “familiar world” “out here at the end of the Lanes”, ie: the hierarchy of humans where the levels convey Stephen’s actual opinion of the concept of hierarchy and social status. This shows how immature Stephen is and however evident is his naivety.
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In hindsight Frayn exposes the audience to the intentional irony of the “sliver framed heroes” at the highest to the lowest – “an old derelict taking refuge” who are the same person. Frayn has emphasised this hierarchy from the beginning. Stephen feels in triumph that for once he perceives himself higher than someone else in the “human precedence” and the language emphatically robusts this. This only reinforces that younger is obsessed with hierarchy – only after the discussion of hierarchy is there a sense of realisation. The language in this passage contributes the understanding in the theme of mystery and adventure.
Stephen relies on this adventure to prove himself to Keith and in doing so show “Keith that he’s not the only one who can think of plans and projects”. The use of personal pronoun ‘I’ used more frequently than other times (7) conveys Stephen’s awareness that at this point in the adventure, wherein he can contribute, is a way he can gain approval of others even at the exploitation of the tramp. The passage for the first time shows an all time low in the adventure and “rain blows” as deliberate violence. This marks a key turning point in the plot as they have to fine some reason for their expedition as they have lost Mrs Hayward.
The language used to describe the “old mans” feelings are just some of the feelings evoked that explain exactly what the boys have been doing bullying, and in doing so, the language also introduces the theme of memory. Frayn draws attention to this key theme by making older Stephen interrupt his story to remind the audience that the Stephen who was once a victim of bullying is now the perpetrator. This narrative style is a device that suggests implausibly that older Stephen is telling the story and also draws attention to memory as a concept and theme.
Not only that, but it helps the reader understand that the reason “I (Stephen) throw down my iron bar”, is to reflect what Stephen knew at that point in time is that what he was doing was bullying. In this passage Frayns presents the language as a way of children going on to do adult things but without adult hindsight and therefore reminds the audience that they are still developing unable to foresee the consequences of their actions. The language is deceptively simple in style, but the passage in Chapter 6 shows a subtlety in language.
From the beginning of the passage Stephen shows this middle class social ranking which leads him into his so called heroism that is particularly associated with middle class values. This duty he is estranged with towards Keith was particularly powerful conception in times of war and for Stephen it shows a development in his character and what he is prepared to do out of duty for Keith. Thus, Frayn cleverly uses linguistic devices and in this case exploits the language in order to contribute to the understanding of the characters, plot, themes and narrative style of the novel.