Compare ways in which Saki and Hawthorne use a particular narrative voice in "Sredni Vashtar" and "The Hollow of Three Hills".

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Compare ways in which writers use a particular narrative voice or voices in two stories.

A narrative’s voice describes how the narrative is presented or conveyed to the reader. In the story Sredni Vashtar by Saki (Hector Hugh Munro), the third person narrative perspective serves a purpose to portray the critically impaired relationship of a boy and his caregiver. Alternatively in the story The Hollow of the Three Hills by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the third person perspective attends to arise the problems surrounding assuming ones demeanour by one's outward appearance; ultimately compelling the reader to question society’s expectations and conduct. Although both stories attain differing purposes they are both accomplished through their writers use of narrative voice and perspective.

The selective information provided by the narrator at certain moments in the text influences the interpretations and conclusions that are made by the reader. The narrator begins the story (Sredni Vashtar) with the depiction of events through Conradin’s perception, however the reader is instantly shocked by the declaration that “the boy would not live another five years”. The influence of the instant exposure to Conradin’s reality offers the reader a sense of trust and authenticity in the statements made by the narrator, as well building sympathy for the young protagonist and reconciliation with his distorted view of life. This is in antithesis to the story The Hollow of the Tree Hills, where the reader is initially left feeling lost and unsure of the stories future progression. The narrator uses vague statements such as “in those strange times” to build ambiguity and increasingly amplify the sense of mystery surrounding the meeting of the “beautiful woman” and the “old crone”. The narrator voice emphasises detailed descriptions, of the characters appearance, at the beginning of the story to assist in the characterization of the two figures. Statements such as “graceful in form” and “fair of feature” where used to define the Lady, while the Crone is described as “ancient and meanly dressed”. Hawthorne is aware that society is incredibly notorious in categorizing and prematurely concluding the content of one’s character based on superficial factors. Therefore the reader is later shocked when the Lady who is assumed to be symbolic of all that is good, in fact has a past full of shameful sins. And the Crone who is an archetype of evil, in fact seems to be the answer to the Lady’s problems. Hawthorne is stating that both good and bad come in all forms, and that society should learn to recognize the difference between internal and external beauty.

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The third person perspective used mutually by both writers is carefully crafted to suit each writer’s intention. Saki is able to robustly capture the feelings and attitudes of Conradin towards his elder, Mrs. De Ropp in the story Sredni Vashtar. Saki achieves this through a quasi-objective narrative stance, in which the narrator interprets events from the point of view of the young protagonist but pretends to relate events objectively. This serves to manipulate the understanding of our characters situation and create a bias where the reader would empathise or side with the protagonist in the case of a conflict. This ...

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