The Narrative Voice in Araby, Livvie and The Yellow Wallpaper
I hadn't really considered the importance of the narrative voice on the way the story is told until now. In "Araby", "Livvie" and "The Yellow Wallpaper" the distinctive narrative voices and their influences shed light on hidden meanings and the narrator's credibility.
In "Araby" the story is told from the point of view of a man remembering a childhood experience. The story is told in the first person. The reader has access to the thoughts of the narrator as he relives his experience of what we assume is his first crush. We do not know how the girl feels about him. The narrator's youth and inexperience influence his perspective. His love for her is deep and innocent. As an adult, the narrator recollects his emotions for the girl with fondness, but the reader also detects a hint of regret as well. The narrator tells us that their first communication takes place when he goes to the back drawing room where the priest had died. There, in that sacred place, he spoke with the girl and made a promise that he would get her a gift if he was able to go to Araby. Soon after, "as a creature driven by vanity", he fails to retrieve a gift for her and is humiliated. I wonder if the narrator is implying that his true devotion to her was somehow blessed in the room where the priest died and when he allowed his sinful vanity to penetrate that love, he lost her.
In "Livvie" the story is relayed by an omniscient third person narration. The narrator in this case provides insight into each of the characters, yielding to no one inparticular. The narrator uses subtle patterns in association with different characters. The narrator uses the example of the eggs with Livvie and focuses on Solomon's watch and his quilt as representations of what the characters are missing or what they are trying to recapture. When introducing Miss Baby Marie and Cash, the narrator alludes to the temptation they represent for Livvie, but even then there is a sense of objectivity, that these are Livvie's choices. The narrator separates himself/herself from dictating to the reader how we should judge Livvie and Solomon. We are told their story from a detached point of view and are entrusted with interpreting these characters for ourselves, based on our own biases and opinions.
In "The Yellow Wallpaper" the story is told from the point of view of the doctor's wife who has been prescribed a "rest cure" for her nervous condition. The story is told in the first person and the reader only has access to her thoughts. Her husband has a large impact on her, yet the reader is not permitted to hear anything from his point of view. We are left to make assumptions about his...