The Unreliable Narrator In 'The Rhetoric Of Fiction'

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The unreliable narrator is defined as a person that cannot be trusted. The narrator will speak with a prejudice, will even lie and make inaccuracies about stories. This is done either from self-interest or ignorance; nevertheless the challenge of reading these novels is trying to understand the truth and why the narrator is not direct. Wayne C. Booth who coined up the term defines the “unreliable narrator” in The Rhetoric of Fiction as I have called a narrator reliable when he speaks for or acts in accordance with the norms of the work (which is to say, the implied author’s norms), unreliable when he does not. (158 ‒ 9) Authors use the unreliable narrator as a tool to better his or her work. The impact of the genre of the unreliable…show more content…
Both the characters are children and are inexperienced when it comes to how the world operates therefore adding to the incredibility of the stories they’re telling, the unreliable narrator can be interesting and suspense building device depending on the writer. Donoghue and Twain do a very good job making the reader aware that the characters don’t realize what is going on, this creates tension. One example of this is present in Huckleberry Finn, he realizes that the king and duke they are travelling with are both con men, because of how they introduce themselves, they claim to be separated royalty descended from the mythical “Lost Dauphin”, hence their names; He knows better but plays along while Jim is swallowed up by their story and believes them even though he is the adult in this situation. The description given by Huck Finn makes it obvious to the reader that the men are con men. The readers will wonder if being affiliated with them will get the boys in trouble hence creating an unsettling feeling. Similarly, Jack the narrator of Room is not articulate but for a 5 year old he seems advanced, “Today I'm five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I'm changed to five, abracadabra. Before that I was three, then two, then one, then zero. "Was I minus numbers?" (1.1)” Jack understands a lot but he still has yet to grasp the seriousness of their situation. Donoghue manages to capture the voice of a child without making the book seem simplistic, Donoghue captures the mind of a child perfectly, they filter things out and interpret the stuff they don’t understand differently. The literary device of unreliable narration works for this novel because Jack manages to make the sad truth about the world sound a little better than

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