Janet Frame Towards Another Summer" Chapter 15 Analysis Essay

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English Exam Essay

Janet Frame – Towards Another Summer

Essay Question:

Comment in detail on the effects of the writing in the following passage, focusing in particular on the ways in which Frame’s narrative methods shape the situation


1/ Introduction                                 4/ Imagery/Atmosphere/Juxt.      7/Conclusion/PR

2/ Long Extensive Syntax                5/ Vivid Tone

3/ Parallel Characterization              6/ Repetition of Domesticity

What is it that makes Towards Another Summer so enticingly powerful? Although Janet Frame self-deprecatingly considered her novel to be ‘embarrassingly personal’, in fact, its captivating personal nature is where the novel’s power derives from; where through Grace Cleave, Frame bravely explores her mental illness, difficult childhood and her migratory conflicts with identity and place. Such a brave exploration is evident throughout the novel, including when Grace and the Thirkettles venture out into the Winchley market in the novels 15th chapter. Here, Frame uses her signature narrative methods of extensive syntax, parallel characterization, striking imagery, vivid tone and clever repetition to craft this significant event in Grace’s ‘weekend’ of self-discovery and personal growth.

Much of ‘Summer’ constitutes of extensive and relaxed syntax, which not only exposes every thought and feeling Grace has in a lengthy stream of consciousness, but also indicates to readers Grace’s highly observant disposition and tendency to have complex cognitions. When reaching the library, Frame shows this with “Anne changed Sarah’s book while Sarah watched dismayed, as the seaside book where the animals had been picnicking on the sands, eating tomato sandwiches, ice cream and bananas, disappeared over the desk, and when the new book was found for her she looked suspiciously at it.” Though this abundance of thought may seem harmless, throughout the novel and in this instance also, her almost obsessive thinking and observations juxtaposes with her minimal syntax of speech, for example her reply of “-Yes”. This suggests not only social awkwardness, but attributes much to Grace’s mental illness, the novel’s most pervading theme. Frame therefore makes it clear that even in a new situation and environment that she creates, like the library, Grace’s mental illness is with her wherever she goes.

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Modern literary critic Jan Cronin noted in regards to the novel that ‘the past increasingly leaks into the present’ and readers cannot help but concur where Frame weaves Grace’s childhood into the fabric of the present. This is not just with literal transitions into her memories, but also through Frame’s technique of making resonating parallels between characters of Grace’s past with characters of her present which she does superbly in this instance. As characterized here, the young and naïve Sarah who cannot distinguish between reality and narrative fiction, with Anne having to explain that “animals had been in the ...

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