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Wise Children's Narrative Voice

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How important is the narrative voice to the themes and structure of the novel 'Wise Children'? Angela Carter's 'Wise Children' is the fictional autobiography of Dora Chance, looking at both past experiences and, from the point of view of the author, real time events. It is written in the first person, from the point of view of Dora Chance, written in such a way as to convey the thoughts and feelings of the narrator without a direct notification of such thoughts and feelings. This means that for Angela Carter to put across Dora's feelings and opinions of the events of the novel many other literary techniques must be involved. The narrator herself uses many colloquialisms and phrases, sometimes turning them into puns or twisting them to a different outcome, for example 'and what does the poor robin do then? Bugger the robin!' this addresses the narrator's point of view on formalities and stereotypes, allowing the reader to come to terms with her unique style. She acknowledges events and ideas which may be uncomfortable to a modern audience and gently pokes fun at them, for example 'I'll do it on the horsehair sofa, do what? What do you think?' This indicates to the reader that the normal taboo's of society do not necessarily apply and that the narrator is open with her view and opinions, this allows the reader to trust the narrator. ...read more.


This is similar to the dramatic technique carried out by the chorus of Greek theatre, in which one or more character directly acknowledges the audience and interacts with them alone and can also interact fully with other characters in the play that do not acknowledge the presence of the audience. It is indicated to the reader some time after, and quite unexpectedly that Dora has e-appeared in the living room and time has begun again with a prompt, another technique used in drama, when a command similar to the one above is used 'press the button for 'Play', however, it is uncertain to whom she was addressing the command to, she could be directly involving the audience again, as the command had no speech marks, or to herself as a stage direction, or to another character. When Dora describes and explains her family history she does not do so in a straight line, along the way she often refers to characters the reader is unaware of yet, as though she is unaware of this, perhaps she expects she is recalling the stories for her own benefit, as opposed to the benefit of the reader. This means in many places she has to double back on her explanations and descriptions, many times stopping herself in the middle of a sentence to describe something else, for example while showing the reader a picture of her grandmother Estella as Desdemona from Othello ...read more.


For example, there was an event in her early twenties of a costume party in which the house caught fire and Dora describes how Saskia was still eating an entire swan in the chaos and everyone was having sex in the garden, this is probably exaggerated. As stated above, the use of a narrator directly involved in the unfolding events is that while describing events that unfold around them they can convey their thoughts and emotions into the scene. A key example of this is the scene just before Tiffany allegedly commits suicide, where she appears on live TV to confront Tristram. Before this scene the tone of the narrator is very brisk and hurried, but mostly cheerful. When the suicide scene unfolds the narrator's tone and speed of the novel slows down. The sentences become longer, more eloquent, and expressive. She uses very few colloquialisms and describes her own actions through the scene. This conveys her feelings of worry for Tiffany and uncertainty of what is going to happen through the piece. In conclusion the narrator is what gives the book its unique style and, inevitably, its soul. It allows the reader to imagine the characters of the book as real people, with emotions and faulty memories and opinions, as opposed to a simple and straightforward look of a fictional characters life. Using the narrator Angela Carter has the ability to manipulate linear time and directly involve the reader in the events of the novel. ...read more.

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