Unreliable narrator

From Narrative
(Difference between revisions)
Jump to: navigation, search
(References)
(Examples)
 
Line 6: Line 6:
  
 
== Examples ==
 
== Examples ==
:{give examples of the term in action}
+
"It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night.  Object there was none.  Passion there was none.  I loved the old man.  He had never wronged me.  He had never given me insult.  For his gold I had no desire.  I think it was his eye! yes, it was this!  One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture--a pale blue eye, with a film over it.  Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees--very gradually--I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye for ever."
 +
 
 +
-Edgar Allan Poe, "The Tell-Tale Heart"
  
 
== Critical Debates ==
 
== Critical Debates ==

Latest revision as of 11:22, 6 June 2008

An unreliable narrator works under the constraints of limited knowledge to convey information that may seem justifiably suspect to the reader.

Contents

[edit] Definition

The opposite of a reliable narrator, an unreliable narrator typically displays characteristics or tendencies that indicate a lack of credibility or understanding of the story. Whether due to age, mental disability or personal involvement, an unreliable narrator provides the reader with either incomplete or inaccurate information as a result of these conditions. Lack of alignment with the "tastes, judgements, [and] moral sense" (Prince 103) of the implied author is a determining factor in a narrator's unreliability. Most notably done by William Faulkner in his novels, the use of a main character with a mental disability or a skewed perspective is indicative of unreliability as well as the under-developed perspective of a child narrator.

[edit] Examples

"It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture--a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees--very gradually--I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye for ever."

-Edgar Allan Poe, "The Tell-Tale Heart"

[edit] Critical Debates

{is the term contested, challenged, defined differently, etc.?}

[edit] Related Terms

reliable narrator

[edit] References

Prince, Gerald. Dictionary of Narratology

Rimmon-Kenan, Shlomith. Narrative Fiction

Personal tools
Namespaces
Variants
Actions
Navigation
Toolbox