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ENGL1010: Seminar in Academic Writing Rhetoric of Narrative (Essay Sample)


Big Picture.   In the preface to his graphic novella Coraline (2002), Neil Gaiman paraphrases G.K. Chesterton and specifies the “truth” of fairy tales: “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

Smaller Picture.   In this essay, you will apply and extend the ideas about narrative that you generated in your brief analysis of Charlotte’s Web’s narrative, and that you encountered in Herman and Abbott’s essays (respectively).  In particular, you will examine further the concept of “The Rhetoric of Narrative” as suggested by the title of Porter Abbott’s fourth chapter of The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative (2008).  Porter Abbot’s chapter will supply you with the conceptual tools for analyzing an example of narrative rhetoric—that is, an example of persuasion through the conveyance (or telling) of a story.

The Rhetoric of Narrative
The narrative chosen for the purpose of this paper is The Withdrawing Room by Charlotte Macleod. The author uses the third person point of view also known as omniscient to explain the characters and what they are doing. It all starts when Augustus Quiffen is killed by accidentally falling in front of a train. This seems to be the story until another character claims that it was not an accident and that it was a murder. However, she could not identify the identity of the real killer nor the motive. The third person point of view commonly referred to as the omniscient point of view is where there is an omniscient character who explains everything in the story. The third person who is considered omniscient does not appear in the story and does not seem to have much of a personality. In the narrative, The Withdrawing Room the author uses the third person to explain how Sarah and Max Bittersohn both investigate the suspicion and find out that the killer has planned the death before execution. This paper will use the narrative to explain the rhetoric of narrative as explained by Charlotte Webb, abbot and Herman.
In the book The Withdrawing Room, the author has applied the use of the omniscient figure to help explain the investigation to find out the real killer and his intentions. The author has successfully used the omniscient point of view to help the reader visualise the investigation into the murder. In her narrative Charlotte, Webb gives the audience a narrator who knows everything in the story and explains it to the reader. The point of view of the narrator enables the audience to understand everything that is happening to the protagonists who are Wilbur and Charlotte. The good news from the third party’s point of view in the story is that the third party can be able to tell the reader what the characters in are thinking even without any indication from the characters themselves. The omniscient narrator is even able to see into the dreams of the characters and explain to the readers Fraser, (Alec et al, 76). The narrator is also able to see the feelings of the characters and convey them to the audience even if in the story the characters do not reveal their emotions to anybody. A good example of such an instance is whereby Wilbur gets lonely. The audience can understand how Wilbur feels and can share with him his feelings. Another example is when fern is thinking about a boy instead of Wilbur. Here the audience gets a moment into the dirty secrets held by Fern. Wilbur does not know about this, and it is correct to assume that he may have been devastated upon learning this but fortunately or unfortunately the narrator only speaks to the reader. The third person narrator means that the readers can see things that other people cannot that is the characters. A good example here is when Charlotte dies. During the time of her passing there is nobody around including Wilbur. Nobody was accompanying her at the time of her death, but the omniscient point of view allows the opportunity to be with Charlotte at a moment that can only be described as super sad. As evident in the explanation above, Charlotte has successfully used the omniscient point of view to explain her story just like Macleod. Macleod in her book carefully exerts the third person who tells the story to the reader. It is the third party that informs the reader who killed the young lodger even when other characters in the book have received the information.
The omniscient point of view has been exerted by many writers all over the world whereby the story is told by a third party who never appears in the story but appears to have all the details about what is going on and how it is taking place. The omniscient point of view gives the readers an insight into the thoughts of the characters in that ...
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