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I’m not reading these stories for the purposes of literary analysis.  I’m reading them out of personal admiration.  But I did spend many years as an English major.  It’s possible something resembling analysis creeps in from time to time. That’s just not what I want to talk about today, not analysis from a literary critic’s perspective.  As much as I identify myself as a reader, I probably identify myself more as a writer, and Welty is rich in details for the writer’s eye.

 

This story, for example, has an interesting shift in point of view. 

 

There is a third person narrator throughout, but third person narrators are characterized by their distance to (1) the main character, and (2) the events in the story.  They can be marginally outside the character’s head, well outside the character’s head, marginally inside the character’s head, or well inside the character’s head.  Good writers tightly control this relationship and don’t go willy nilly disrupting the flow by suddenly having the narrator know what the character is think if that narrator hasn’t known all along. 

 

Welty’s writing is good.  She didn’t do anything willy nilly.  She didn’t disrupt her narrative, but she did change it partway through.  The narration starts out at a distance from Powerhouse and then moves closer in as if it is a camera lens zooming in.  We never go inside his head, but we do get a good picture of what he’s thinking from the dialog.  It’s as if we continue moving closer to him, becoming more intimate with him as the story progresses until we believe we can imagine what he is thinking.

 

Like a camera zooming in.  That’s what the technique reminds me of, and I’ve noticed it in several of her stories.  It intrigues me.

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