Spies Themes and Perspectives

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  • Themes and Perspectives
    • 1st & 3rd person narrative viewpoints
      • Starts in 1st person
        • Stefan
          • 'I catch it on the warm evening air as I walk'
            • Pronoun I indicating first person
        • Told from the perspective of the character
      • Written in 3rd person
        • Ch 2 Stefan begins to think about Stephen
          • References to Stephen are written in 3rd person narrative voice
            • First person narrator asking 'is that the way he seems him at his age' p12
              • Use of 'he' confusing
                • Refers to the narrator as a child
                  • All references to the narrator as a child are written in 3rd person
      • Fran
        • When she adopts the 3rd person it is the 3rd person 'limited narrator'
      • Can only read the thoughts of Stefan himself
      • Never know what Keith, Mrs Hayward or any of the other characters are thinking just Stefan
        • This creates the reader as a spy
      • Novel flips between the present and the past  in 1st and 3rd person narrative voice
    • Chronology
      • a structural technique by Frayn
      • Non linear timeline
        • Element of post modern literature
      • Young Stephen and old Stefan
      • Why does Frayn shift from 1st to 3rd person narration
        • Performs technical function
          • Helping readers understand what young Stephen believes and what is actually happening in reality
        • A sense of mystery
          • Allows the reader to be misled by the assumptions of Keith Stephen
          • We are reading what the boys understood rather than the reality of what was happening
            • Stephen believes Keith has seen 'a kind of talking monkey' p18
              • Reader knows this cannot be true and does not believe Keith but Stephen does
            • When Stephen knows Mrs Hayward 'posted letters ... several times a day'
              • The reader knows that it is unlikely that she is posting letters but Stephen does not know this
                • The reader again comes a spy working out what the young naive Stephen cannot
        • 1st person narrator
          • Easy to assume indicates childish naivety
          • Assumes a more mature objective
            • Not the case, you need to ask is the narrator reliable
              • Only told from one characters perspective
                • There is no corroboration from other characters or an object 3rd person narrator
                  • From whom we can confirm the reliability of what we have read
          • Undermined by Frayn
            • p6 Stefan jokes that he can be contacted 'Amnesia Avenue'
              • early indication that Stefan and old man has problems with his memory
            • As a reader we question anything we are being told by this narrator
    • At the end of the novel which narrator do you feel is most reliable and why?
    • Unreliable narrator
      • Credibility called in to question
        • The case in Spies


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