Voice and silence: A rhetorical analysis of selected works of fiction by Eudora Welty

Date
2010-12-30
Authors
McCourt, Helen
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Abstract

In The Rhetoric of Fiction, Wayne Booth discusses the narrative choices an author can make to relate a story to his or her reader. Through point of view and authorial distance, an author can offer a clear and deep insight into the meaning of any story. Booth questions the belief of many modern authors and critics who believe that “showing” a story by deleting all entrances, or “intrusions,” by the author to be far superior to “telling” at story through direct authorial voice or through some form of narrator/s. He believes that by considering the differences between “showing” and “telling” a story, an author forces the reader to “consider closely what happens when an author engages a reader fully with a work of fiction; [authors thus] lead us to a view of fictional technique which necessarily goes far beyond the reductions that we have sometimes accepted under the concept of ‘point of view’” (Booth 8-9). The use of point of view to control audience sympathy and interpretation of the story and the use of authorial distance to “show” rather than “tell” a story are skillfully employed by Eudora Welty in narrative fiction to present stories which connect to universal truths and emotions in the reader.

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Keywords
Language, literature, and linguistics, Authorial distance, Narratology, Point of view, Rhetorical analysis, Voice, Welty, Eudora
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