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Narrative Voice in Spies Essay

  • Submitted by: skeeeeeeeeen
  • on March 27, 2014
  • Category: English
  • Length: 745 words

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Below is an essay on "Narrative Voice in Spies" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Michael Frayn wrote the Novel Spies in an irregular and highly significant style through the use of a dual narration. Stephen Wheatley is a character that Frayn uses to illustrate emotions and feelings from almost any age in life, through Stephen literally narrating from more than one stage in his life. This use of dual narration across several ages is very effective in allowing a much broader audience to relate to the book; it expresses the thoughts of both adult Stephen and Stephen as a child, allowing us to access both the wisdom and personal reflections of the adult Stephen whilst simultaneously witnessing the excitement and naivety of a younger Stephen.

In the second chapter, we are introduced to the other part of the novel, the third person narrative from younger Stephen’s perspective. The narrator begins referring to himself as ‘Stephen Wheatley’, showing his innate struggle for identity, as he is no longer referring to himself as ‘I’ or ‘me but in the third person such as ‘him’ or ‘he’. Through doing this, the narrator is deliberately separating himself from the younger Stephen perhaps suggesting that he is no longer that ‘unsatisfactory’ young child he reminisces upon. The use of the dual narrative here is already shaping the structure of the novel as well as the reader’s interpretation of it as he is implying to the reader that he isn’t Stephen Wheatley, and that what he sees is a completely different person, Stefan Weitzler.

In chapter 5, Stephen finds himself in a situation that is likely to be the most frightening he has faced in his life, not only does he come close to being hit by a train but he also comes close to being discovered by Keith’s mother. This changes the narrative voice of the novel as he expresses his terror. ‘We lie like terrified worshippers prostrate before a visiting god as the great dust bogles fill the sky above us’ the fearful narrative tone highlights the novel’s bildungsroman storyline as it shows Stephen being not quite...

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