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Articles of Faith
Narrative structure and setting
What have you learnt about the art of
structuring a novel from EITHER Articles of Faith
by Michael Cannon, The Character of Rain by
Amelie Nothomb or Rant by Chuck Palahniuk?
2000 words. 20% (LO3)
Introduction to the structure of
Articles of Faith
• Conventional/traditional narrative
• What are the elements of this?
• What are the advantages of this?
• What point of view does Cannon use for the
• Is there a main protagonist? If so, who?
• What structuring principles does Cannon use
in his novel?
Extract 1: Chapter One
• Come up with AT LEAST eight words, phrases
or sentences in this extract through which
Cannon evokes world of the story. Why are
they effective (or why not)?
• How does Cannon use the setting as a
structural principle? In this extract? In the
novel as a whole?
Pre-Writing Exercise: creating a
setting word bank
• Pick a time and place from your past that you
remember reasonably well. Don’t pick a time
when you were a very small child but try to aim
for a place you haven’t seen for a long time. Try
to choose a fairly ordinary, unremarkable day.
Make plenty of notes – grids, lists, diagrams,
clusters, mind maps, whatever. Get down
everything you remember – weather, who was
there, the landscape (if outside); furniture (if
inside). Remember to use DETAIL!
Extract 2: Father Delaney’s visit,
• Comment on Cannon’s use of narrative voice –
through which character(s) is/are the action
focalised? What is the effect of this?
• Choose 3 examples in this extract where a
character interacts with – or responds to - the
setting, telling us something about him or her, or
• Discuss the dramatic shape of this scene/extract.
What is the key point of tension?
Starting with place
After a period of time away, your character (A)
has arrived back in the location/setting you
sketched earlier. In this location, he/she
encounters another character (B) who is
unfamiliar with the place. Write a scene in
which B tries to find out how A knows this place,
knowledge which A does not want to reveal.