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First-person narrative

Posted: 28 May 2010 12:02
by mrpsbrk
In the Chronicles, we have a narrator. Actions are described, not recalled, or told. It is not a monologue. But.

In my last reading of Ch:D, i began to wonder how much each chapter is told in Frank's voice and how much is the perspective of the character in which this chapter focuses. This time around i kept tabs on who was in each chapter, and almost always the chapter will turn around one single person.

So i began to think that each one of them is actually narrated from the third person, not-individually, but from this individual perspective. Thus everything we see and hear and pay attention to is part of this one person's approach to the world.

It is fairly common to have one or two pages about someone else and then come around and focus some more 15-20 pages on the main character. I found just one chapter that was divided more or less evenly, IIRC between Duncan and Murbella (in which case this could be indeed a statement).

But that would also mean that none of it all is straightly Frank's voice.

Opinions?

Re: First-person narrative

Posted: 28 May 2010 12:33
by merkin muffley
EDIT: I'm a very lovely gentleman.

Re: First-person narrative

Posted: 28 May 2010 14:37
by Hunchback Jack
Not sure what you mean about "in Frank's voice".

IIRC, almost all chapters were told from a character's point of view. That POV might change mid-chapter - sometimes more than once - but there was rarely, if ever, an omniscient third-party perspective on events. I read the six books again recently, and don't remember that convention changing in the last book.

HBJ

Re: First-person narrative

Posted: 30 May 2010 01:52
by merkin muffley
mrpsbrk wrote:So i began to think that each one of them is actually narrated from the third person, not-individually, but from this individual perspective.



There's a clear-cut distinction between "First-person narrative" and "Third-person narrative." You are saying that the character has somehow written a chapter about themselves in the third-person.

Re: First-person narrative

Posted: 30 May 2010 09:21
by MrFlibble
The POVs of different characters are introduced without resorting to first-person narration. The characters' thoughts in italics that are inserted here and there in the text quite frequently are very helpful at this.

Re: First-person narrative

Posted: 30 May 2010 09:27
by merkin muffley
Correct, the italics are a person's thoughts and quotes are used when someone speaks.

Re: First-person narrative

Posted: 30 May 2010 09:31
by MrFlibble
I suppose the omission of quotation marks for inner thoughts made them look more like a stream of consciousness of sorts, more contributing to a character's worldview so to speak, as opposed to the usual "'What a mess,' - he thought", where the narrator's figure is more visible.

Re: First-person narrative

Posted: 30 May 2010 09:42
by merkin muffley
MrFlibble wrote:I suppose the omission of quotation marks for inner thoughts made them look more like a stream of consciousness of sorts, more contributing to a character's worldview so to speak, as opposed to the usual "'What a mess,' - he thought", where the narrator's figure is more visible.


I agree, it's very effective and immediate. (Of course, "he/she thought" is often used with the italics).

Re: First-person narrative

Posted: 30 May 2010 10:08
by MrFlibble
merkin muffley wrote:I agree, it's very effective and immediate. (Of course, "he/she thought" is often used with the italics).

I think there's a different degree to which the narrator figure is present in each case.

Re: First-person narrative

Posted: 30 May 2010 10:29
by merkin muffley
To me, leaving out "he thought" is about the same as leaving out "he said" with dialogue. I think there's a definite distinction between the type of first-person narrative that The Journals represent, and FH's use of italics to represent thoughts. Technically, these thoughts are a first-person narrative within a third-person narrative, but it's essentially the same thing as internal thoughts put in quotes, or that use "he thought."

Many times, it is more effective to have it in italics and leave out "he thought." It's still a third-person narrative, though.

Re: First-person narrative

Posted: 30 May 2010 10:39
by Freakzilla
Sometimes when the author leaves out the he said/she said in lengthy conversations I get lost and have to go back to the last he said/she said. It gets old in every line though.

Re: First-person narrative

Posted: 31 May 2010 09:59
by MrFlibble
merkin muffley wrote:Technically, these thoughts are a first-person narrative within a third-person narrative

I don't think any character's thoughts count as the first-person narration - only those that actually describe certain events from the first-person perspective. As it was mentioned somewhere, the characters' inner thoughts in Dune are more like the "by side" remarks in plays, and Shakespeare is even cited as almost direct influence (I can't remember where I read it, most likely in the "Star Wars sources: Dune" article).

Freakzilla wrote:It gets old in every line though.

http://books.google.com/books?id=haH5pWED4A8C&lpg=PA314&ots=p9HEPSoXpm&dq=Yudhisthira%20uvaca&pg=PA314#v=onepage&q&f=true

Re: First-person narrative

Posted: 31 May 2010 21:01
by merkin muffley
MrFlibble wrote:
merkin muffley wrote:Technically, these thoughts are a first-person narrative within a third-person narrative

I don't think any character's thoughts count as the first-person narration - only those that actually describe certain events from the first-person perspective.


Yeah, it wouldn't actually be called, and isn't "first-person narrative."

MrFlibble wrote:As it was mentioned somewhere, the characters' inner thoughts in Dune are more like the "by side" remarks in plays, and Shakespeare is even cited as almost direct influence


An aside is a good analogy, and the Shakespearean influence is very strong in FH. I remember characters saying, "Words, words" on several occasions, and when Leto II plays word-games with one of the Duncan gholas in GEoD ("here and hear") it also reminds me of Shakespeare.