Unreliable narrators are incorporated into both classic and modern literature contains narrators that are unreliable, many of which are acclaimed over the world. Perhaps it is because they blatantly lie or mask events from the reader. They might be unable to distinguish between reality and imagination. Or, they are stricken with insanity. Edgar Allen Poe’s character Montresor is a prime example of an unreliable narrator. As is J. D. Salinger’s Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in Rye. However, it can be difficult to distinguish between what is a reliable narrator, and what is not.
An unreliable narrator is one who cannot be trusted to tell the story in a factual manner. Their narration should be taken with a grain of salt. Often, the story will be told in first person, but not always. A narrator straight up admitting to frequently lying is an immediate red flag. The reader is now unable to trust what they say. If the narrator is inexperienced and naive, and/or is unknowledgeable, they might not interpret situations successfully. Similarly, that might happen if their mental health is questionable. The reader might question their reliability if there is evidence of a skewed moral compass, their emotions run rampant, or their actions are inconsistent with their words. Books such as the spectacular The Great Gatsby, and The Bell Jar contain an unreliable narrator. It may be difficult to distinguish between what is unreliability and not, but through careful reading and paying