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Comparing the Narrative Voice in The Storm and Hands

Powerful Essays
The Narrative Voice in The Storm and Hands

The application of narrative voice as a devise by which the author influences or manipulates the reader’s response is an ancient method of inducement that is still employed today. Kate Chopin tactfully utilizes narrative voice in the short story, The Storm, to create an empathic reader’s response for a socially unacceptable behavior. Sherwood Anderson, the author of Hands, appropriates a similar technique to manipulate the reader’s response to accept or sympathize with a serious controversial issue that long has plagued humankind from early Biblical times until this present generation. Narrative voice is still employed today and has not lost its persuasive, influential, and manipulative effect over the centuries.

Kate Chopin cleverly employs an omniscient narrative approach in relating The Storm, so the facts presented impact and shape the reader’s response to the couples’ adulterous affair. The narrator focuses on the romantic relationship that existed between Alcee and Calixta before her five-year marriage to her husband. The narrator recalls that "in Assumption Alcee had kissed Calixta and kissed her until his senses would well nigh fail, and to save her he would resort to a desperate flight" (Chopin 363). The narrator consciously constructs in the mind of the reader the idea that Alcee and Calixta were not immoral fornicators during their youthful romantic connection, but on the contrary, their moral value and practice more than parallel that of society’s and had been far above reproach. The narrator further validates that "Calixta was an immaculate dove in those days, and she was still inviolate; a passionate creature whose very defenselessness had made her defense, ...

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...pathy for Mr. Bibblebaum’s atypical tendency by focusing on his hands, his nervous emotional state, and the abuse he receives from society.

Both authors successfully employ narrative voice in generating empathy and some possible modification in the reader’s response for two issues that cut across popular opinion and moral value. The tactics utilized by both narrators will continue to influence and manipulate reader’s response for centuries to come and has the potential to break down well constructed social barriers.

Work cited

Anderson, Sherwood. "Hands." Literature Across Culture. Eds. Sheena Gillepsi, Terzinha Fonseca, Carol A Sanger 3rd ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2001: 885-889.

Chopin, Kate. "The Storm." Literature Across Cultures. Eds. Sheena Gillepie, Terzinha Fonseca, Carol A. Sanger 3rd ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2001: 885-889.
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