Narrative Techniques In Wide Sargasso Sea

3245 words - 13 pages

A variety of narrativesMultiple perspectives First and third person narrative First person narration Third person narration Other aspects of narration to consider Narrative irony Stream of consciousness The distinction between the author and the narrator Narrative and Wide Sargasso Sea Narration and Jean Rhys' way of writingMultiple perspectivesJean Rhys' novel has two main first person narrators who give their own point of view on the events of the story. Also, the voices of other individuals and groups contribute to the narrative via such devices as:Reported speechDialogueLettersFragments of songPlace names.This mixture of competing and often contradictory voices has meant that Wide Sargasso Sea has been called a 'multi-vocal' or many-voiced novel. By looking at these different narrative methods carefully you can see how:Jean Rhys builds up her story from multiple perspectivesThe novel's form contributes to its themes and ideas.First and third person narrativeFirst person narrationThis method relates the story in the first person using 'I'. It offers a writer some powerful possibilities:The narrator is a character in the story so readers come to know them as a personReaders feel close to the narrator because they share their experienceThe story feels direct and immediate because the narrator participates in the actionThe story can also seem authentic and 'real' for these reasons.However, first person narration imposes limitations on the way in which the story can be told:The action is seen only from a single point of view; the narrator's. This point of view is therefore one-sided and incompleteWhat this narrator does not see or understand must be left outThe author must use a range of other devices for telling readers the things the narrator does not know. These devices include letters, questions and reported speech/dialogue.Third person narrationThis is the alternative form of narrative method and the more popular.The narrator is not a character within the events related but is distanced from - or outside - them.The narrator refers to all the characters as 'he', 'she' or 'they'. Sometimes the narrator may use the first person 'I' or 'We' but this is used as a way of commenting on events and their significanceYou may come across the term 'omniscient' or 'all knowing' to describe this kind of narrator.Other aspects of narration to considerNarrative ironyThis happens when the author wishes to show that to some extent the narrative is unreliable. In a first person narration, for example, readers may be made aware that the narrator does not disclose things they know or have done. They may also be unaware of their own shortcomings. The effect of this is to create a sense of distance between the reader and the narrator.Stream of consciousnessThis is a method of narration in which the writing mimics a disjointed flow of interior thoughts and sense impressions. It is often used as a way of representing a wandering mind, confused memories, dreams or...

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