The Unreliable Narrator in Agatha Christie's the Murder of Roger Ackroyd

2057 Words Sep 5th, 2011 9 Pages
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The drawing of narrative inferences by the reader is very important to interpret the work well. However, the author, while writing a story, can treat some incidents in detail and barely mention or even omit others. He may distort these incidents, may not observe chronological sequence, he can use messengers or flashbacks, and so on and so forth. The function of resorting to these varied narrative techniques is to emphasize or de-emphasize certain story-events, to interpret some and to leave others to inference, to show or to tell, to comment or to remain silent, to focus on this or that aspect of an event or character. The use of the unreliable is a very important and unconventional narrative technique used by authors in
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Sheppard are the readers able to locate this gap in the narrative and find reasons for the same. The unexplained legacy of Dr. Sheppard, his calling himself “greedy” and talking about “risking the substance for the shadow” may be of minimal interest to the readers initially. But it is in fact alarmingly indicative of his ill designs and their disastrous outcomes. “Could I do anything with the boy? I thought I could” (ibid, pp. 42). Unreliability of the narrator can also be established if there exist internal contradictions in the narrator’s language. Constant distortion of facts and inconsistencies in the narrator’s narration is evident right from the beginning. However, these flaws on the part of the narrator have been dealt with outmost subtlety by the author and hence fail to catch the reader’s attention immediately. The planted evidences, the omission of certain important details regarding the murder and the events that led to the murder shift the suspicion of the reader from one character to another as desired by Dr. Sheppard, the unreliable narrator. The inconsistency and uncertainty of the final outcome are instrumental in keeping the reader engrossed and attentive to each detail while they are being misguided by the unreliable narrator. The overt curiosity that Dr. Sheppard carelessly displays in probing about any kind of message left behind by Mrs. Ferrars in regard to her suicide, his efforts to keep Flora Ackroyd from involving a
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