How are generic techniques used within the text "The talented Mr Ripley" by Patricia Highsmith to shape our response toward the character of Tom Ripley.

Essay by tomthewizardHigh School, 11th gradeA-, April 2007

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The talented Mr Ripley is a crime novel by Patricia Highsmith which tells the mischievous tale of the main character Tom Ripley and his cunning plan used in evading the police. Even though we find that Tom is a suspicious man who commits fraud, murder and identity theft, we have been positioned in such a way that makes us see Tom as not a monster, but as a man justified in doing anything to achieve his goal cultural richness and high class living.

One important technique used by Highsmith in order to tell us about Tom Ripley as a character is her use or a third person limited point of view. Through this point of view, she can give us insight into Tom's thoughts and feelings of the world around him. This is an especially important factor when Tom goes through the very stressful periods of rattling off the processes and rationalization behind successfully murdering both Freddie Miles and Dickie Greenleaf.

Even though murder is a particularly heinous act which would usually conjure a response of disgust and horror, we can see the many thoughts running through Toms head and we get so caught up in Tom's thoughts of how he is going to escape the law and cover his tracks that when he succeeds in avoiding suspicion, we are more happy for him than we are disgusted of his actions. Since Tom has already been identified in the exposition as a clever person who does not exactly enjoy murdering, we know what his ambitions are and we know that the crimes he commits are simply unfortunate by-products of an iron resolve to move up the social hierarchy. "He hadn't wanted to murder, it had been a necessity". Funnily enough, Highsmith manages pose a challenging question that we ask ourselves...