Rattle Bone

1136 Words3 Pages

Pieces of a Novel Puzzle
“A novel or a collection of short stories?'; may be a question that a critic asks about Rattlebone. Maxine Clair portrays both arguments with her energetic writing style. A blend of random comments and many unique phrases intermix with the intense plot. Writing like this gives the reader a more relaxed state and the book seems more alive and real. In answer to the critique question, Maxine Clair is writing a novel because of an abundant supply of foreshadowing, a collection of narrators, a recurrence of characters, and a process commonly known to man as aging.
Suggesting that Rattlebone is in fact a novel, foreshadowing occurred in several places during the book. Clair uses this writing method by mentioning the name October Brown, partly because Brown is involved at the beginning and towards the end of the book. Ms. Brown became an important part of Irene’s life, not only by being one of the main reasons for her parents’ divorce, but also by helping Irene accomplish one of her goals. The time that occurred between these two events in the book connects Rattlebone and is a very good use of foreshadowing. Another example of Clair’s use of this writing method is the experience of the divorce between Irene’s parents. This long-term process displayed Irene’s parents as being unforgiving. At first his wife forgives James Wilson for the affair that he enjoyed with October Brown, but after a period of time, Pearl also had her share of the fall in their relationship. At this time, neither one of Irene’s parents would forgive the other nor make up with the other. This example again shows the use of foreshadowing by Clair by evolving the event over several chapters with different narrators.
Irene, the narrator in several different stages of the divorce between her parents, speaks her feelings of disgust and always tries to keep her parents’ relationship together. Another side of the story comes from October Brown’s landlord, Mrs. Pemberton. Mrs. Pemberton wants nothing to do with the affair and therefor tries to separate the two lovers. Irene takes the stage again and reveals to the reader subconsciously, that her father is the man having the affair. The use of two narrators, each having a different look at the situation, may seem confusing to the reader at first, but once the chapters are all read and the whole story gets across, it becomes apparent why the change in narration was necessary.

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