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LA-Lower Narrative Voice and Characterization

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Tuck Leong Lee

on 12 September 2013

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Transcript of LA-Lower Narrative Voice and Characterization

Narrative Voice and Characterization
Goal: Examine Point of View and how that Contributes to Characterization
Pay attention to how stories are told through the narrative voices. Examine then, how characters are presented.
The Clay Marble
Haroun and the Sea of Stories
The Test
We look after our own
A Sense of Belonging
Notes
Text
Text
Text
Can you see some "merging" between the narrator's voice and the thoughts of the Pari? What are the effects of this technique?
The narrator has "focalized" entirely on Pari's point of view. We have no idea how the other characters really think. How are the characterization of others affected by this?
Notice there is a change here. We no longer "hear" the story through the thoughts of Pari. The narrator has taken on an "objective" point of view. How are the characterization of others affected by this?
Annotate the text, paying attention to the narrative techniques and how characters are presented. Some prompts are given to you to help you along.
How does this comic represent in some ways the narrative techniques explored?
Annotate the text, paying attention to the narrative techniques and how characters are presented. Some prompts are given to you to help you along.
To what extent does this third person narrative voice give you access to the characters' thoughts? What are the effects of such a choice?
Trace your awareness of Marian's race. How is this presented through narrative techniques? What are the effects of such narrative choices?
Trace the role of the narrative voice in shaping your opinion of the inspector.
Use this image to discuss the narrative technique.
Annotate the text, paying attention to the narrative techniques and how characters are presented. Some prompts are given to you to help you along.
The omniscient narrator focalizes on the old man's thoughts. What are your impressions of the old man? We never get to hear the spoken voice of the old man – how is this important towards his characterization?
In focalizing on the thoughts of the old man, the narrator does not tell us the significance of his thoughts. What are your impressions of this old man, based on what is revealed through his thoughts and the larger significance which you can infer?
The narrative point of view switches to focus on the daughter. How is the father characterized though this point of view?
The narrative voice is silent on the kind of person the nun is. All we know about her is through what she says. How is her character constructed through her speech and the style of how she talks?
Sometimes, the narrator draws upon symbolic images that are evocative. The images of the "pieta" or "Mater Dolorosa" are commonly associated with Good Friday. Where in the text do you "see" this image? What are the effects of such an allusion and symbolic representation?
Text
The narrator's style is particularly succinct. How does such a style allow for characterizations to emerge?
The narrator's voice is also intrusive, which allows the narrator to place characters in larger political contexts. What kind of characterization is produced by such an intrusion into the narrative flow?
In what ways do the narrative voice contribute to the characterization of Mr Buttoo?
Despite the narrative voice's tendencies to intrude, it is largely silent, at this point, over the kind of character Khattam-Shud is. What are the effects of such a choice?
Here, the narrative voice adopts the free indirect style. How does this raise the status of Haroun's thoughts? How does the contribute to his characterization, and the that of the Chupwalas?
How is the Shadow Warrior characterized? Give such a characterization within Haroun's thoughts, what does it reveal about Haroun? How does his realization contribute to classes of characters?
Analyze how Khattam-Shud is characterized here. How is this achieved through what the narrative voice does/ does not do?
"Doubling" is a technique used frequently in the novel. Some characters are literally "doubled", other characters are, categorically, the opposite of others. Use the following images to discuss such characterization.
Texts: Read downwards
In what ways is the characterization of Prince Sihanouk shaped by the perspective of a very young child?
How is Dara characterized by her descriptions of the political realities?
How does the naive/innocent narrative voice contribute to Dara's characterization?
Trace the development of the characterization of Jantu that is achieved from this naive narrative voice. Notice that this characterization changes "dynamically", but not because Jantu develops as a person.
What kind of person is Dara? How does the limited awareness of the social context allow Jantu to be characterized?
What contribute to Chnay's characterization?
Read this extract in relation to the previous one. How is it that readers probably won't dismiss Dara as superstitious at the end of the extract?
How is Jantu presented through Dara's gaze?
Discuss how Sarun's character is shaped by Dara's reflections. Can you really consider her point of view as naive?
How is Dara characterized through the narrative pace which covers very contrasting situations?
Chnay is characterized almost entirely by his speech and actions alone. What does that tell you about Dara's state of mind? How does that affect your feelings towards Dara? How does that affect your feelings about Chnay?
Read this extract in connection with the previous one. How does this narrative voice contribute to both Dara and Chnay's characterization?
What are your feelings towards Chnay now? In what way is the narrative voice contributing to that?
What kind of complex ethical issues is explored through a child's voice here?
How is Sarun's character developed through Dara's gaze and her subsequent meeting with her mother?
This extract is from the beginning of the novel, but I have placed it in the end for a purpose. Examine how the author characterized Rashid in such a way that he provides an overview for the plot of the novel.
In what ways are the narrative style like telling a story through puppets?
How does some knowledge of Jungian psychoanalysis contribute to your understanding of the novel? In what ways are characters connected in this novel? Does the novel resemble a dream-like world, and dreams are often subjects in psychoanalysis?
Annotate the text, paying attention to the narrative techniques and how characters are presented. Some prompts are given to you to help you along.
Annotate the text, paying attention to the narrative techniques and how characters are presented. Some prompts are given to you to help you along.
Rashid has an honest charcter quality.
The intrusion of the narrator reveals more of Rashid's character.
"dark, competent hands"
"how she had lived... slatternly white girls... added insult"
Rashid is easily influenced character, and this case by the politicos
The succinct narrative style allows the narrator to quickly shift between describing Mr Sengupta and Onneta. This shifts compare b
oth their individual attitude
s
towards Haroun
, thus constructing Mr Sengupta as an unsympathetic character. Especially when his limited friendliness only to Soraya is motivated towards seducing her.
negative and critical attitude
caring land loving attitude
"children to school"
"simpler at the house"
"Mandy"
"Mandy-Lou"
"flock of pickaninnies"
The narrator does not mention Marian's race in the story but instead leaves clues like "dark competent hands".
By doing so, the narrator places her skin colour as a mere description of her appearance, and not a category for her has a person.
The Narrator does not want to
profile
Marian
racially
in order to focus on Marian's
human qualities, which contrast with how the inspector treats her.
Pay attention to the writer's craft.
the narrator emphasizes Haroun's dislike towards Mr Sengupta,
by focalizing on his thoughts. The sense that he "does not care" about him is forceful, given the repetition of that phrase.

A
t the same time it reveals that Haroun is still very curious, revealing an inquisitive personality of Haroun
, and this despite that internal conflict inside his mind - between his dislike for the person, and his curiosity about the truth of what Mr Sengupta says. This fair-mindedness allows him to see Blabbermouth quite differently from the rest of the army of Chup. And he almost sympathetically assesses Khattam-Shud.
The narrative voices does not go into the characters' thoughts.
Impressions
of characters are
given by peoples
' own
actions
. Readers are left to judge the characters based on what they say and do.

[ I don't think these evidence are particularly relevant. Think of others -"They... smiled with affection", "feigned astonishment", " He laughed... shook her head".]
Objective narrator only allows Mrs Ericson's character to be shown through her actions.
And therefore?
Therefore we do not know what Mrs Ericson is thinking and whether she is racial prejudice or not.
Not really, the narrative voice actually focalizes on Mrs Ericson's thoughts, and in her private thoughts, we can find that she sees Marion purely for her functional value of how she can help out in the home. No doubt she is better than the white girls, but nonetheless still valued in terms of her use. And then, when she speaks to Marion, there is some degree of condescension in the way that she dismisses Marion's genuine concerns.
Focus on the Hows.
Rashid is characterised as a manipulated character.
Since the narrative voice is silent on Rashid's motivation to serve the politicians, it appears that he is a willing partner.

B
ut at the end of the story he is the direct opposite this adds an element of surprise to the story.
Indeed, at the end, he uses his story-telling ability to subvert the politicians' powers.
Rashid is characterised as a political tool. The intrusive narrator introduces a political frame, in this frame, he serves the great pandgshfbjbjhi as a source of entertainment to win votes.
NB: It is important that your annotation focuses with some precision on analysis. This allows you to shape your writing later.
Characterization is not necessarily about someone's character. The intrusion of the narrator reframes Rashid's role in a political context. Here, he is presented as a political tool, for the politicos to win the favour of the masses. Here, Rashid is presented as a political tool, his story-telling ability part of what makes him useful for his masters.
The narrative voice here does not comment on what the characters say. This invites the readers' judgment on the characters. What kind of assessments do you make of the inspector here?
From the inspector's speech directed at Marian, we can already tell that he is racist. He uses derogatory terms to insult her race.
You need to discuss far more than what characters merely say, because what they say also perform actions. For example, he mocks, antagonizes, conjures stereotypes, objectifies Marion.
How does the objective narrative voice create dramatic impact, and in turn, how does that shape your feelings towards Marian?
We can tell that Marian is angry as she cried "damn you" at the inspector
What are the effects of the narrative voice giving only objective facts about her "voice was not quite steady"?
The fact that she was trying defend herself by saying that she has a college degree and the fact that her voice was not quite steady shows that she was nervous or angry at the inspector.
Next, consider the effects of that. The silence of the narrative voice focuses on the characters' actions. Her retort that she received her "college degree" threatens to subvert the power dynamics between herself and the inspector who, up till now, has been using language to degrade her. Her action, conveyed with a voice that is "not quite steady" is thus performed with a degree of anxiety.

Answer:HE is described as a smiling round-faced prince, which is a very optimistic view of a person and since little children seem to always see the good in people, it is probably shaped by the perspective of a very young child.
Answer: Dara is depicted as a very wise
(sensible will be a better word. Wisdom comes with age and is not particularly appropriate for someone this young)
person, especially since she is a child, as when the khmer rouge soilders told her that Cambodia was "one big family", she had her own thoughts about the Khmer Rouge, like them "ripping apart parent from child, brother from sister, husband from wife." This means that she has her own wise thoughts at such a young age, hence she is very wise.
Allow for more complexity in discussing about Dara's characterzation. It is also important the consider how her age, together with her experience of war, which is characterized by violence, signaled by the diction she chose to describe the Communists' actions - "destroy", "ripping". Her prematurely terminated innocence would be disturbing and evoke a special pity from you.

The
narrative voice
speaks of Mr. Buttoo as a paranoid person through certain images and diction.
The
voice of Mr. Buttoo
sets the image of him as a humble person through images and diction
Contradictory information through the separate voice
Superiority of the narrative of voice over the voice of Snooty Buttoo.
Iff answers most of Haroun's inquiries about Khattam-Shud, instead of the Narrative Voice.
The narrative voice won't say anything to the character. Rather, the narrative voice will tell the readers facts/ opinions/ evaluations of characters. Note this well.
Iff is on the good
(Can we ban the use of words such as good/bad? Iff stands with the party which is sympathetic towards the protagonists, i.e. Haroun and Rashid).
side, thus some biasness and unjust information against Khattam-Shud is provide and a very stereotyped view of him
The simile of the one long nightmare and the metaphor of such a nightmare as one who "gripped" a child?
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