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Great Expectations Vs The Genius.

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English Coursework Great Expectations Vs The Genius In the course of this essay I shall be analysing the use of a first person narrator in two fictional stories. The first an extract from 'Great Expectations' by Charles Dickens and the second the short story by Frank O'Connor entitled 'The Genius'. Narrative viewpoint is the voice telling the story. It describes the setting, people, people's appearances and their personalities. There are many types of narrator for example: 1st person, 3rd person, omniscient narrator (fly on the wall). An example of a first person narrator is in 'Your Shoes' by Mich�le Roberts. A 1st person viewpoint means that the voice guiding proceedings is actually a character within the story. The narrator refers to himself as 'I'. The stories I am analysing are set in the 1st person, and both characters are children. During both of the stories there are flashbacks, this would suggest that the narrators were adults recalling their youth. This is particularly apparent in 'The Genius'. In both 'Great Expectations' and 'The Genius' the 1st person narrator tries to gain our sympathy, there is an example of this when both characters describe themselves. The first impressions we get of Phillip Pirrip (Great Expectations) almost immediately gains our sympathy: "My infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip" This wins our sympathy because it gives us the view that Pip is unable to cope with the demands of the world in that era. ...read more.


Here the author, O'Connor portrays one belief of the narrator throughout the story, although it is never certified: "So far our town hadn't had a proper genius and I intended to supply the deficiency". Johnson Martin, the narrator and character, has great faith in the fact that he is a genius. However he continuously believes such basic explanations without questioning the reader is made to see that Johnson is just a cissy, not a genius as he so strongly believes. In the 1st paragraph of 'Great Expectations' it is evident that Pip, has a every childish view upon the world: "So I called myself Pip and came to be called Pip" The use of a first person narrator here shows Pip to be very simple and that Pip expects the world to be correspondingly simple, like him. Johnson Martin, thinks that he has a mind as good as an adult, however the reader is lead to disagree with him, as he believes explanations, such as: "The fact that mummies had a engine and daddies had a starting handle that made it work". Johnson strongly believes the above quote. This is because it was told to him by his mother, whom he trusts. However, the use of a first person narrator here makes Johnson seem to have an immature imagination. ...read more.


Dickens also takes the reader on a journey, though this is a less significant part of the extract. The most evident similarity between the two stories is the fact that both of the narrators are children. The main impact of this is that it gives an immature outlook upon the story. However the similarities between both authors use of the first person narrator is shown by Pip and Johnson often believing something the reader knows is wrong. An example of this in both cases is their knowledge of babies and how they are made. Dickens uses a dangerous and threatening atmosphere. This impacts the story by making it more exciting and it also encourages the reader to continue reading. Whereas, O'Connor lets the reader decide whether to love, sympathize or despise Johnson Martin. The trouble with 'The Genius' is that Johnson is in such a surprisingly normal setting. The most important thing that is gained by using a first person narrator is that it creates a sense of mystery around the story line. This is because you only receive information from one characters viewpoint. This single source of information takes us through the story, even if the reader knows something the narrator is blind to. The first person narrator inflicts on us his own view of people. This is because he is our sole source of knowledge. Nathan Hart English Course Work Page 2 of 6 ...read more.

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