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Marisa Molina Alonso
Literary Essay Task – Anglès II –G4 / 2nd draft
Mother's help: omniscient narrator
Could it be that y...
Marisa Molina Alonso
Literary Essay Task – Anglès II –G4
In addition, the readers know that Charlotte does not believe her...
Marisa Molina Alonso
Literary Essay Task – Anglès II –G4
WORKS CITED:
Gardner, John.”The Art of Fiction”. New York: Vintag...
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Mother's help essay

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Mother's help essay

  1. 1. Marisa Molina Alonso Literary Essay Task – Anglès II –G4 / 2nd draft Mother's help: omniscient narrator Could it be that you know all about your family, friends and neighbours? Undoubtedly, it is impossible in the real world; however, in fiction, there is a method of storytelling, the third person omniscient narrator, which allows the author to get inside the minds of all the characters in the story. In “Mother's Help”, a crime story written by Ruth Rendell in 1991, the narrator is omniscient. Thus, the writer is able to show the feelings and thoughts of all the characters, with the exception of one whose point of view is intentionally omitted. This paper analyses the effect of the omniscient narrator in Mother's Help and the effect of the missing perspective of a character. First, the effect of the omniscient narrator is the ability to depict characters and events vividly from the point of view of multiple characters. In this story, the author provides detailed descriptions of the main characters. For example, the story begins with a complete depiction of Daniel’s random difficulties to speak, and different situations are explained which makes the reader think deeply from different points of view about the problem; moreover, the hyperactivity of Emma is fully described with the same purpose. Another example is the complete narration of the action scenes –the incident in the kitchen, the car accidents, the cupboard episode; these detailed descriptions would not be possible if there had been a first person narrator. Moreover, the description of the characters includes knowing their feelings and thoughts. John Gardner, who wrote “The Art of Fiction”, states: “In the authorial omniscient, the writer speaks as, in effect, God. He sees into all his characters’ hearts and minds (...)”. Thus, in Mother Help's, the reader experiences the assumptions that Nell makes about Charlotte; and Nell's feelings towards Daniel and Ivan which change during the narration: at the beginning, she loves both, although she finds them in a certain way threatening; by the end, she definitely loves Daniel, whereas, she became frightened of Ivan. 1
  2. 2. Marisa Molina Alonso Literary Essay Task – Anglès II –G4 In addition, the readers know that Charlotte does not believe her husband; however, she believes Nell. All this knowledge makes them aware of the development of the story and the evolution of the characters; so, they can build their own opinion based on the related events. Second, the effect of the missing perspective of a character is to protect the scheme whose relevance is considerable in a crime story. In this case, this character is Ivan, whose actions guide the entire plot; therefore, the writer reserves the licence to leave out his feelings and thoughts to keep the development of the plot and the denouement of the story. Nevertheless, his actions are explained, he shows up in dialogues, and he is depicted by the narrator; as a result, the audience know him partly. For instance, he is described through Nell's feelings as masterful; moreover, as a rough man when he addresses Charlotte in a scornful way; and his appearance and expressions are depicted by the narrator – how Ivan became as he got older and his gestures in diverse situations. Despite these descriptions, his real thoughts and feelings are never recounted and his real intentions unknown. Consequently, there is an open-ended ending which provokes, once again, the critical thought of the reader and invites them to reach their own conclusions. To sum up, the omniscient narrator provides all kinds of details to make the readers think critically; taking into account that their minds are considerably influenced by how the events and the characters have been described by the author. In Mother's Help, the third person narrator gives the writer unlimited knowledge which allows her to enrich and make the story more engaging. Certainly, in the real world, there is no way of knowing all about our family and friends; however, as in literature, if we know about the feelings and thoughts of people, with whom we share our lives, we will improve and strengthen our relationships, developing them more intense and special. After all, literature is really no different from the real world where everyone is a character. 2
  3. 3. Marisa Molina Alonso Literary Essay Task – Anglès II –G4 WORKS CITED: Gardner, John.”The Art of Fiction”. New York: Vintage Books. 1985. Print. WORKS CONSULTED: Rendell, Ruth. “Crime Stories. Help's Mother”. Thailand. MacMillan Literature Collection. 2011. Sundberg, Ingrid. “Five advantages of Third Person Omniscient POV”. ingridsnotes.wordpress.com. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. 3

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