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Prose Criticism of Chuck Palahniuk - Invisible Monsters.

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Introduction

Close Text Analysis - Prose Criticism Chuck Palahniuk - Invisible Monsters. (See enclosed extract) Comment on the effectiveness of this as an opening. The purpose of the first few paragraphs of any novel is to set the basic scene, to introduce main characters, and - most importantly - to make the reader carry on reading! If one starts reading a book and is not gripped by some aspect of the story or characters within the first few pages, many will abandon it in favour of something more engaging. The opening of Invisible Monsters does all of these things and more. It is narrated by one of the main characters, and another two are introduced within the first few paragraphs. Here the narrator tells you quite openly, "this is called scene setting: where everybody is, who's alive, who's dead." This sentence in itself prompts one to read on, if only to find out who is dead. In fact, the first paragraph asks a whole hoard of questions in the reader's head: who is alive and dead? Who is Evie Cottrell? Who is the narrator? ...read more.

Middle

The first character to be mentioned is Evie Cottrell; the scene is set at her wedding reception, and we meet her standing on a staircase, "naked inside what's left of her wedding dress, still holding her rifle." The narrator does not seem at all sympathetic to Evie in her description, and in fact there is a certain amount of distaste in the way, further down the page, we are told, "You can trace everything about Evie Cottrell's look back to some television commercial for an organic shampoo" - suggesting that Evie is defined more by looks and her outer image than intelligence. The structure of this novel is very fragmented. Paragraphs are short and choppy - in some cases only a few words - and the non-linear narrative again enforces the superficiality of the characters. The writing is quite plain in its wording and there is little imagistic language (though Brandy is said to be "gushing" her insides out). The vocabulary is colloquial and varies - sometimes using a few simple ("some big West Hills wedding reception") and sometimes opting for more descriptive, "intelligent" words ("give me rampant intellectualism as a coping mechanism"). ...read more.

Conclusion

This is effective not only in that it allows the reader to see how the narrator feels without resorting to "I feel..." (Which would be rather out of character for these people", but it also likens the whole scene to a photo shoot, making it seem that everyone is acting a part - which, of course, they are. It begins the idea that all of these characters are fake and perhaps not what they seem, but rather hiding behind the model's fa�ade of "Give me..." In conclusion, this novel opening is very effective. It introduces the characters and scene is such a way that leaves the reader with numerous questions regarding not only the outcome of the present situation, but also how the situation came about. Who are these people? Why is the house on fire? Why is Evie half burned out of her dress and half way down the stairs with a rifle in her hand? Why did she shoot Brandy? And why is the narrator calmly thinking of dabbing club soda on the bloodstains? It certainly makes the reader want to turn the page to find out just what is going on in this rather twisted world we are being drawn into. Vicky Charles 1 ...read more.

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