The Art of Fiction. Highlights from the book of the same name Understanding the nuances, methods and tricks of a novel. Introducing a character. most important component of the novel antagonist =main character/s who opponent/rival/enemy of the Protagonist ( the focal character)
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The Art of Fiction
Highlights from the book of the same name
Understanding the nuances, methods and tricks of a novel
A few minutes later, sally herself arrived.
“Am I terribly late, Fritz darling?”
“Only half an hour, I suppose, "Fitz drawled, beaming with proprietary pleasure. “May I introduce Mr. Isherwood-Miss Bowles? Mr. Isherwood is commonly known as Chris.”
“I'm not,” he said. “Fritz is about the only person who’s ever called me Chris in my life.”
Sally laughed. She was dressed in black silk, with a small cape over her shoulders and a little cap like a page-boy’s stuck jauntily on one side of her head:
“Do you mind if I use the telephone, sweet?”
“Sure, go ahead.” Fritz caught my eye. “Come into the other room Chris. I want to show you something.” He was evidently longing to hear my first impression of Sally, his new acquisition.
“For heaven’s sake, don’t leave me alone with this man!” she explained. “Or he'll seduce me down the telephone. He’s most terribly passionate.”
As she dialed the number, I noticed that her finger-nails were painted emerald green, a color unfortunately chosen, for it called attention to her hands, which were much stained by cigarette smoking and as dirty as a little girl’s. She was dark enough to be Fritz’s sister. Her face was long and thin, powdered a dead white. She had very large brown eyes which should have been darker, to march her hair and the pencil she used for her eyebrows.
“Hilloo,” she cooed, pursing her brilliant cherry lips as though she were going to kiss the mouthpiece: “Ist das Du, meinLiebling?” Her mouth opened fatuously sweet smile. Fritz and I sat watching her, like a performance at the theatre.
Goodbye to Berlin Christopher Isherwood
everything is a metaphor
Now, when he got up to the top of the hill, there came two men running to meet him amain: the name of the one was Timorous, and the other, Mistrust, to whom Christian said, Sirs, what’s the matter? You run the wrong way. Timorous answered, that they were going to the City of Zion, and had got up that difficult place; but said he, the further we go, the more danger we meet with; wherefore we turned, and are going back again.
The Pilgrim’s Progress John Bunyan
Allegory is another technique of defamiliarization.
Taking that which is familiar and presenting it in a way where the reader cannot identify a place, culture, personality, belief, religion, etc
allowing the reader to see something without prejudice or bias
So far, however, as I could collect anything certain, I gathered they they have two distinct currencies, each under the control of its own bank and mercantile codes. One of these ( the one with the Musical Banks) was supposed to be the system, and to give out the currency in which all monetary transactions should be carried on; as far as I could see, all who wished to be considered respectable, kept a larger or smaller balance at these banks. On the other hand, if there is one thing of which I am more sure than another, it is that the amount so kept had no distinct commercial value in the outside world; I am sure that the managers and cashiers of the Musical banks were not paid in their own currency. Mr. Nosnibor used to go to these banks, or rather to the great mother bank of the city, sometimes but not very often. He was a pillar of one of the other kinds of banks, though he appeared to hold some minor office also in the musical ones. The ladies generally went alone; as indeed was the case in most families, except on state occasions.
I had long wanted to know more of this strange system, and had the greatest desire to accompany my hostess and her daughters. I had seen them go out almost every morning since my arrival and had noticed that they carried their purses in their hands, not exactly ostentatiously, yet just so that those who met them should see wither they were going. I had never, however, yet been asked to go with them myself.
Erewhon Samuel Butler
They reach the tee, a platform of turf besides a hunched backed fruit tree offering fists of taut poles. “I better go first,” Rabbit says, “Till you calm down.” His heart is hushed, held in mid-beat, by anger. He doesn’t care about anything except getting out of this mess. He wishes it would rain. In avoiding looking at Eccles he looks at the ball, which sits high on the tee and already seems free of the ground. Very simply he brings the clubhead around his shoulder into it. The sound has a hollowness, a singleness he hasn’t heard before. His arm force his head up and his ball is hung way out, lunarly pale against the beautiful black blue of storm clouds, his grandfather’s color stretched dense across the east. It recedes along a line straight as a ruler-edge. Stricken; sphere, star, speck. It hesitates, and Rabbit thinks it will die, but he is fooled, for the ball makes this hesitation, the ground of a final leap: with a kind of visible sob takes a last bite of space before vanishing in falling. “That’s it!” he cries and, turning to Eccles with a smile of aggrandizement, repeats, “That’s it.”
Rabbit, Run John Updike
The Crying of Lot 49
San Diego recluse Thomas Pynchon
gives his characters the following names
Authors use lists for many different reasons
have a reason and purpose
for the catalogue of items
The miscellaneousness of a list is not random, but has meaning.
Ask yourself WHY the list is written in particular way
Figure out why author included a list!
George Elliot Adam Bede
An impossible event whereby the reader suspends disbelief
the narrative so powerfully and poignantly expresses emotions
The moment they took their first bite of the cake, everyone was flooded with a great wave of longing. Even Pedro, usually so proper, was having trouble holding back his tears. Mama Elena, who hadn’t shed a tear over her husbands death, was sobbing silently. But the weeping was just the first symptom of a strange intoxication.- an acute attack of pain and frustration- seized the guests and scattered the across the patio and the grounds and in the bathrooms, all of them wailing over lost love.
Like Water For Chocolate
1.Interior monologue: where character is verbalizing their thoughts as they occur
2. Free indirect style: 3rd person past tense.
Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. For Lucy had her work cut out for her. The doors would be taken off their hinges: Rumpelmayer’s men were coming. And then, thought Clarissa Dalloway, what a morning- fresh as if issued to children on a beach.
What a lark! What a plunge! For so it had always seemed to her when, with a little squeak of the hinges, which she could hear now, she had burst open the French windows and plunged at Bourton into the open air. How fresh, how calm, stiller than this of course, the air was in the early morning; like the flap of a wave; the kiss of a wave; chill and sharp and yet ( for a girl of eighteen as she then was) solemn, feeling as she did, standing there at the open window, that something awful was about to happen; looking at the flowers, at the trees with the smoke winding off them and the rooks rising, falling; standing and looking until Peter Walsh said, “Musing among the vegetables?”- was that it? “I prefer men to cauliflowers?- was that it? He must have said it at breakfast one morning when she had gone out on the terrace- Peter Walsh.
The narrator may:
Tells what happens without stating more than can be inferred from the story's action and dialogue.
he said / she said
Advantage: author accesses thoughts of various characters.
Disadvantage: constant reminder of a constructed story, and adds some distance between reader and characters.
Beginning=nothing needs to come before
End= nothing needs to follow
Middle=needs something before & after
Why did author use a particular structure?
What is the effect?
God of Small Things: past and present interwoven, ends with past event
Running in the Family: Frame story with random memories, conversations, chapters and subchapters
We can know the end of a story at the beginning, but not necessarily how/when/where is happened.
Regardless of how author structures the events, the novel still provides a story arc with a sense of finality or understanding
Chronology is different than story arc
A novel is vastly different from a movie because the reader
can see how many pages are left
(ebook location or physical pages)
a film’s end can take you by surprise.
Ralph looked at him dumbly. For a moment he had a fleeting picture of the strange glamour that had once been invested the beaches. But the island was scorched like dead wood-Simon was dead-and Jack had…The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island: great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.
The officer, surrounded by these noises, was moved and little embarrassed. He turned away to give them time to pull themselves together; and waited, allowing his eyes to rest on the trim cruiser in the distance.
Lord of the Flies William Golding