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 Ling 131: Language & Style

 Topic 8 - Discourse structure and point of view > Point of view in a more extended example > Task B answer

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Session Overview
Discourse structure and point of view
Discourse structure of 1st and 3rd person novels
Being the author!
Different kinds of point of view
Linguistic indicators of point of view
Ideological viewpoint
Point of view in a more extended example
Point of view checksheet
Topic 8 'tool' summary
Useful Links

Point of view in a Passage from Fanny and Annie by D. H. Lawrence

Our answer for task B (part b)

And what can we learn about the story itself?

Lawrence has effectively dramatised a serious misdemeanour on Bob's part, but we are still in suspense about what exactly he is guilty of. It transpires soon after this passage that he has made one of Mrs Nixon's daughters pregnant but has refused to marry her because he wants to marry Fanny. What is interesting about the rest of the story is that:

  1. Although in the narrative we have seen things mainly from Fanny's viewpoint up until now, from now on we hardly get her viewpoint at all. The narrator withdraws from her viewpoint. We do not know directly what she is thinking any more, and are left to infer her attitudes from what she does and says.

  2. This withdrawal from her perspective means that it is difficult to be sure what motivates her decisions from now on. But at the end of the story she indicates indirectly from what she says that she is going ahead with the marriage in spite of (because of?) Frank's behaviour. She calls Mrs Goodall 'mother' for the first time in the story (cf. conceptual, social and attitudinal viewpoint). This internal deviation is clearly highly foregrounded, highly interpretable and yet difficult to interpret. At the end of the story we are left wondering why Fanny suddenly makes up her mind about the marriage. Has Frank's notoriety made him more attractive to her (he is not a nobody any more, after all)? Has the attack on 'her man' made her want to 'close ranks' with him and his family? Is she motivated by a combination of these things or maybe by something else we have not thought of? In this way Lawrence leaves us hanging in the air at the end of a story acknowledged by the critics to be one of his best.

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