Narrative Devices and Structure in 'the French Lieutenant's Woman' and 'Our Country's Good'

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‘Writers often experiment with narrative devices and structures in order to challenge readers’ expectations of genre and their view of the outside world’ Compare and contrast your two texts in light of this comment Genre is generally defined as a category of composition, characterized by a number of similarities in form, style or subject matter. Naturally with genre, expectations arise, as the reader or an audience come to expect certain things either when reading text or watching a play. Writers who choose to write within a chosen genre therefore are expected to write in a particular style, so any writer who operates outside the typical boundaries of their genre will naturally challenge a reader’s future expectations of that genre.…show more content…
Ernestina is presented as obedient and demure, with an deep fear of sexuality – the ‘payment’ she would have to make to have children seemed ‘excessive’ to her, showing her attitude (and what was widely considered to be the typical Victorian attitude) to sexual activity. Finally, Sarah is the typical evil character, easily identifiable by those who read the gothic fiction of the time yet unidentifiable due to her many nicknames – ‘Tragedy’ or ‘The French Loot’n’nt’s Tenant’s Hore’. In Our Country’s Good, rather than typical characters, Wertenbaker’s characters are very closely related to the people she bases them on. This is despite the fact that the play itself is based on the novel ‘The Playmaker’ by Thomas Keneally – there is evidence to suggest that very similar people to her characters actually existed. A historical play does not rely on typical characters, but does rely on typical features, such as an explanation of the main message through speeches – this is clearly evident as Wertenbaker bases her entire play on the power of speech; ‘Wertenbaker questions the power of language, but also celebrates the beauty of language’. However, both ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ and ‘Our Country’s Good’ also challenge the associations naturally made through the genre they supposedly conform to, mainly through their narrative devices. FLW is generally acclaimed to be ‘the best-loved of John Fowles’ novels’ but is also noted for its ‘power to disturb’, arising

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