07.02 DISCOVERY THROUGH STRATEGY - Narrator and Character as Strategy The Awakening is narrated in the third person but the narrator frequently

07.02 DISCOVERY THROUGH STRATEGY - Narrator and...

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Narrator and Character as Strategy The Awakening is narrated in the third person, but the narrator frequently makes clear her sympathy for and support of the protagonist , Edna. While we are often privy to Edna's thoughts and feelings, we are only occasionally given insight into what our antagonists are thinking; instead, we are often given observational details to help interpret their thoughts and feelings instead of being told them directly. Whose Thoughts? There are three types of narration you'll find in The Awakening . Internal Thoughts Sometimes the narrator tells us exactly what a character—usually Edna—is not only thinking, but feeling. Not only are we inside Edna's mind, we are privy to feelings she is experiencing, even ones that she may not yet fully understand. "An indescribable oppression, which seemed to generate in some unfamiliar part of her consciousness, filled her whole being with a vague anguish. It was like a shadow, like a mist passing across her soul's summer day. It was strange and unfamiliar; it was a mood." Descriptions of Behavior Usually, for characters other than Edna, the reader will get a sense of what they are thinking or feeling through detailed description of their physical behavior. "'You are burnt beyond recognition,' he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage." The narrator uses a simile to describe Mr. Pontellier's expression as he examines his wife, comparing her to a piece of property. But we are not told specifically what he is thinking; the description of his expression gives us the information we need to discern his thoughts. Brief Insights into Both Occasionally, Chopin describes behavior and gives a brief insight into a thought. We are then tasked with putting that information together to reach a conclusion. Here we "see" that Leonce halts, shrugs his shoulders, and feels his vest pocket for cash. We are told that "he did not know," which is an internal thought, but his physical behavior gives insight to the reason for it.

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