Saturday, August 18, 2007

The problem of the narrator

Bedtime stories this week were plagued with difficult questions: Who's saying that? Where does it say that? Then is it the dog saying that? Why not? How do you know it's not the dog saying that? But if it's not the dog and not the boy, who's telling the story? Why can't we see him?

I considered telling Helena that it's Dr Seuss who said it — he's the one telling the story. I could show her his photo again. But strictly speaking, it's not true. First, the book was authored by Theo LeSieg; while they're the same person, is it true to say they're the same writer? More pertinently, neither Seuss nor his personas is telling the story. He has written the story down, but it's told by an anonymous, omniscient 3rd-person narrator. Which is what I told Helena. Which was met with a blank stare.

1 comment:

Ann said...

Just how old is Helena? I wish I could get my undergraduates to be half as thoughtful about what they're reading. You have a genius in the making there; nourish her.