A variety of narratives
Multiple perspectives First and third person narrative First person narration Third person narration Other aspects of narration to consider Narrative irony Stream of consciousness The distinction between the author and the narrator Narrative and Wide Sargasso Sea Narration and Jean Rhys' way of writing
Jean Rhys' novel has two main first person narrators who give their own point of view on the events of the story. Also, the voices of other individuals and groups contribute to the narrative via such devices as:
Fragments of song
This mixture of competing and often contradictory voices has meant that Wide Sargasso Sea has been called a 'multi-vocal' or many-voiced novel. By looking at these different narrative methods carefully you can see how:
Jean Rhys builds up her story from multiple perspectives
The novel's form contributes to its themes and ideas.
First and third person narrative
First person narration
This method relates the story in the first person using 'I'. It offers a writer some powerful possibilities:
The narrator is a character in the story so readers come to know them as a person
Readers feel close to the narrator because they share their experience
The story feels direct and immediate because the narrator participates in the action
The story can also seem authentic and 'real' for these reasons.
However, first person narration imposes limitations on the way in which the story can be told:
The action is seen only from a single point of view; the narrator's. This point of view is therefore one-sided and incomplete
What this narrator does not see or understand must be left out
The author must use a range of other devices for telling readers the things the narrator does not know. These...