The Narrative Voice in Araby, Livvie and The Yellow Wallpaper
I hadn't really considered the importance of the narrative voice on the way the story is told until now. In "Araby", "Livvie" and "The Yellow Wallpaper" the distinctive narrative voices and their influences shed light on hidden meanings and the narrator's credibility.
In "Araby" the story is told from the point of view of a man remembering a childhood experience. The story is told in the first person. The reader has access to the thoughts of the narrator as he relives his experience of what we assume is his first crush. We do not know how the girl feels about him. The narrator's youth and inexperience influence his perspective. His love for her is deep and innocent. As an adult, the narrator recollects his emotions for the girl with fondness, but the reader also detects a hint of regret as well. The narrator tells us that their first communication takes place when he goes to the back drawing room where the priest had died. There, in that sacred place, he spoke with the girl and made a promise that he would get her a gift if he was able to go to Araby. Soon after, "as a creature driven by vanity", he fails to retrieve a gift for her and is humiliated. I wonder if the narrator is implying that his true devotion to her was somehow blessed in the room where the priest died and when he allowed his sinful vanity to penetrate that love, he lost her.
In "Livvie" the story is relayed by an omniscient third person narration. The narrator in this case provides insight into each of the characters, yielding to no one inparticular. The narrator uses subtle patterns in association wit...
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...ten seen as representing an imaginative or "poetic" view of things that conflicts with (or sometimes compliments) the American male's "common sense" approach to reality". When society "values the useful and the practical and rejects anything else as nonsense", (feminine) imagination and creativity are threatened. Much like our narrator, women of that time were directed to suppress their creativity as it threatened the dominating male's sense of logic and control. "Perhaps the story was unpopular (at first) because it was, at least on some level, understood all too clearly, because it struck too deeply and effectively at traditional ways of seeing the world and woman's place in it".
Shumaker, Conrad. "'Too Terribly Good to Be Printed': Charlotte Gilman's 'The Yellow Wallpaper'." Journal of American Literature 57.4 (1985): 588-599.
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