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

McCourt, Helen
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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.

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