WHAT DID WE JUST SEE? AMBIGUITY AND REVELATION IN THE EXTREME FIRST PERSON PLURAL

Hayley Scrivenor

Abstract


Questions of point of view are pivotal in fictional texts and determine what story, precisely, the author can tell. But what happens when writers present particularly challenging points of view? With a focus on the first person plural, this paper will interrogate stories where point of view ‘asserts’ itself to the reader. Using an approach informed by unnatural narratology, this paper addresses narrative situations where the make-up of a narrative collective is initially unclear, and where a challenging or ambiguous point of view is revealed to be an integral component of the plot.

In exploring the relationship between point of view, ambiguity and narrative revelation, this paper will consider a range of contemporary novels written predominately in the first person plural, notably TaraShea Nesbit’s The Wives of Los Alamos, Malcolm Knox’s The Wonder Lover and Jon McGregor’s Even the Dogs. Highlighting the innate ambiguity of an ‘extreme’ first person plural allows us to consider ways in which authors of fiction in the first person plural have exploited this ambiguity to shape key revelations within their texts.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21153/cinder2018art755

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