Tell Me A Story
The narrator is the person telling the story and can range from one to several, within a single story. How the author develops the narration will direct how their work is perceived by the reader. The narrator can present the story reliably or dishonestly, from a compelling view to an ironic view. The author can lose or gain pertinent information simply by changing the narration. Narration is a guide for the reader “…it requires the invention of a narrator,” Diane Middlebook said, “who serves as a contemporary guide to the materials of the book…” (Middlebrook). The narrator of a story is fundamental to the reader’s understanding and, any changes to the narration can change the stories understanding entirely.
“Snow” is a short story in first person narration, told by the main character. Set during a time when people lived in fear of nuclear fallout. Instructions were often reiterated in school and on the radio about how to react when seeing the flash. This nuclear fallout setting lends itself to intrigue and suspense; it is intensified by the use of the narrator. The narrator, a young girl, gives the reader a perspective of child like understanding and, a limited understanding. The main character’s mind is full of nuclear fallout lessons, one after another in class. The main character, which has never seen snow before, sees it begin to snow outside the school window. The girl cries out, “Bomb Bomb”, terrifying the teacher and other students (85). As other girls in the class begin to cry the teacher reassures and explains to the main character what snow is and, that there is no bomb. If the author of Snow had told the story from an adult’s point of view, maybe the teacher’s, the story would lack believability on the reader’s part. The reader would have a hard time understanding an adult, that when it snowed they thought it was a nuclear bomb. The reader would most likely walk away thinking the adult narrator was exaggerating. Using a child as the narrator makes the plot believable; it enables the confusion and believability. In addition, the narration use allows the reader to take from the story a real understanding of the fear of nuclear fallout during that time period. The fear felt by the reader may have been lost altogether with different narration.
The choice of a young child as the narrator will give the narrator reliability because most trust a child to tell the truth. The use of a child, however, could also lose reliability in the story being accurate, as kids can be prone to exaggerating. The pros outweigh the cons with the child narrator, much more is gained in the story by the narration being from a child’s point of view than lost. Any negative outcome from using a child narrative is out weighted by the deep emotional connection gained by using the child as the narrator.
An unusual story, “Accident” is centered on a car accident told in the second person. The narrator guides the reader in a...