Wise Children Essay

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Wise Children Essay

Angela Carter uses a variety of methods and techniques to present events and characters in an interesting way in chapter 1. By using Dora’s voice she is able to express the character’s viewpoint and introduce the reader to the story at a pace and style that not only establishes other characters but from how language is used the reader can create a personality for Dora also.

The novel starts with a question to slowly introduce the reader into the idea of the legitimacy and illegitimacy.

‘WHY is London like Budapest?

A. Because it two cities divided by a river.

Dora uses London to immediately explain how her and Dora live on the ‘bastard side of Old Father Thames’, not just literally but as illegitimate children it is a metaphor for their situation. Carter uses these parallels of the North and South divide to explain how Nora and Dora are from ‘the wrong side of the tracks.’ and can also help the reader to relate and empathise with Dora and Nora’s position.

The novel does not follow a chronological timeline, but is a non-linear narrative jumping back and forth between what is happening on the twin’s 75th birthday and events that have taken place in the past. The first main event in the novel is the arrival of the invitation to Melchior Hazards birthday party, not only does it introduce some action, but also other characters into the play and allows Carter to tell the reader some information on Dora’s situation, that Melchior Hazard is her father and who ‘Wheelchair’ is. Carter uses plot very effectively in the first chapter; she offers part of the story and then holds back, when Tristram is showing the video recording, ‘Freeze –frame’. This allows Carter to explain the family history of the Hazard family and let the reader piece the different parts of the story so far together, ‘Let us pause awhile in the unfolding story of Tristram and Tiffany so that I can fill you in on the background.’ Carter carefully controls the narrative and the amount of information given to the reader at any one time, teasing the reader by offering parts of the story but then having Nora hold back. While Dora and Nora watch the video the plot develops further enabling the reader to understand the events that have happened in the past. The video also evokes emotions in Dora that help the reader to appreciate Dora’s perspective. Tiffany’s pregnancy also reinforces the idea of illegitimacy, again by a member of the Hazard family

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The language that Nora uses throughout the novel is very informal and direct, ‘Bugger the robin!’ Because of this honest way of speaking Dora becomes believable as a character and we trust everything she is saying. Carter uses Dora’s voice to speak to us as if the reader is there with Dora, ‘but take a good look at the signed photos…’ which gives Carter the opportunity to describe Dora’s photos and surroundings to the reader, which again gives the reader a glimpse into the past life of Dora and Nora. These questions directed at the reader draw the reader ...

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