Part 4, Project 1 – Exercise: Looking at narrative voice

Jacqueline Wilson’s tone and use of language shows between the two narrators in “Little Darlings” that Destiny is more fiery and independent.  “Kicking a poster” demonstrates a head-strong personality and she has her own thoughts on life.  Wilson says that she “slams out the door”, slips the door-key on a piece of string down her neck under her blouse; she goes along with things but doesn’t want her friends to see or know.  She’s rebellious, bad-tempered, moody, typical teenager.  She wants to be non-compliant but qualifies it with “I promised Mum”, a nod towards loyalty and respect for her mum.

With Sunset, we get a different picture.  She is embarrassed by her mum.  Wilson shows this by getting her mum insistent on “sorting her out” in a toilet.  Sunset is mortified by her mother’s pandering; “I blush, terrified that the beautiful women outside will think she’s having to help me go to the toilet.”  Whereas Destiny has respect for her mum, Wilson wants the reader to acknowledge that teenagers reach the stage where they can’t bear to have their parents involvement in their lives, especially in public.  Sunset has reached that stage; Destiny has some catching up to do.

How do having two perspectives on events help the plot to unfold?

  • It adds a wealth of insight.
  • It helps to balance the story and stop us potentially getting drawn one way or other.
  • It can help to make one character more likeable and make you side with them.
  • It can create sympathy for one or other character, or both, and help draw you into the story more.
  • We get a clearer idea of what’s going on; “there’s always two sides to every story”
  • It adds drama and pace to the plot and helps drive it forward.
  • Switching between perspectives from the reader’s point of view, gives time to breath from the previous protagonist.
  • It can challenge the reader, make things hard to keep up with.  But as soon as the reader realises that the two perspectives have a commonality/link or bond, it tightens the plot and forges a greater engagement from the reader.

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