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The Ways In Which Narrative Perspectives Vary In The French Lieutenant's Woman And Hawksmoor

6000 words - 24 pages

The Ways in Which Narrative Perspectives Vary in The French Lieutenant's Woman and Hawksmoor

Although there are many different perspectives taken in the two novels
that shape the overall theme of each plot, comparisons can be drawn
between them to show that they share a few fundamental similarities in
the way that the authors present their narrative. By looking at the
this presentation, it is possible to extract that the authors share
common ground in the role that they take in the novel, the
post-modernist way they seem to perceive their own role as a novelist
and their perspectives on the theme of time in a novel. These factors
combine to suggest that the novels, which have very different stories,
actually are very similar in the way that they break the conventional
moulds of story telling.

Without a doubt, the author plays the greatest role of all in
construction of a novel but it is not often that this role is
furthered by involvement in the plot, or questioned in the way that
these two authors do. Both novels have aspects of this but show it in
different ways: for example, in 'Hawksmoor', Peter Ackroyd adopts
multiple narrative voices and presents himself to the reader in
different ways, whereas John Fowles literally places himself in the
book and also hides behind some other subtle characters. Ackroyd
creates three different narrative voices that appear and continue
throughout the novel - the voice of Nick Dyer in the first person, the
voice of the unobtrusive narrator in the third person and finally the
extraction of the narrative in the play script form. Through Dyer's
narrative, the reader gains a biased view of the events that transpire
because we take on only his view and we almost experience his madness
at first hand. Until we start to realise his paranoia, we believe him
in his suspicions about Yorick Hays' conspiracy and are swayed by his
address of him as "the serpent Hays". We also get many of his thoughts
in italic, like "(another giddy son of a whore)". The inward
perspective that we are given with Dyer also helps us to see aspects
of his character like the way he, like Charles in 'The French
Lieutenant's Woman', is a rebel in the society with his fascination
with science and black magic, for which would both have been shunned
because the only truth at the time was Christianity. The purpose of
this is to show the past through the eyes of someone who lives in the
past, like a diary that follows their reports on events. It also
allows us to separate the past with Dyer, from the present with
Hawksmoor. In the present, Ackroyd is alive to comment on the modern
day detective, Hawksmoor, and to a certain extent the third person
narrative leaves the readers able to make their own minds up because
there is no bias. It also reminds them that they are living alongside

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