Prose Appreciation: Extract from "Talking it Over" by Julian Barnes

Some points to consider:

Mood/tone: satirical/humorous, Ollie adopts a light mock-dramatic tone: Give examples

First person narrative, very personal, subjective stance: Ollie’s view of the situation, of the woman "she was fully there, yet tantalisingly absent, withdrawn at this most public moment into some private dominion" , of Stuart with his "embryionicallly goitrous condition" . Is he to be trusted? What enigmas/conflicts/oppositions are set up by the narrative? (first sentence?)

Vocabulary: colloquial, familiar, engaging, contemporary, superior, unguarded, educated -middle class? What relationship does he make with us? What role do we take on?

Descriptive language: "pale watercress soup" "timid love" "pale green and chestnut with an emerald blaze at her throat" sensitive, romantic or chauvinistic and envious? (Note total focus on her "absent" quality and her physical/sexual importance "she glowed" "tantalising" "lustrous dowry")

" I roamed her face, do you hear?" Italics emphasise his obsession/infatuation with the woman combined with the demanding, attention grabbing approach = personal relationship with reader, not perhaps one of sympathy, something more superficial, tedious, entertaining?

Note his contradictory, informal, self-indulgent manner of describing the situation: "And I couldn’t bear the way she was there and not there, the way I was present to her and not present was my fault and it wasn’t my fault" How does this contribute to our sense of him: truly suffering: - the romantic hero or playing the love sick fool?

Ollie is funny, sarcastic: "laid a few gestures in front of her face-Signalman Flagging Down Runaway Express, sort of thing", again highlights his resistance to accepting his peripheral position at the event.

Shift in tone/language from descriptive "I went up and gave her a kiss and murmured felicitations in her one visible and lobeless ear" to confessional "It was my fault"/ " I rather went on about it. I started shouting. I came the Hamlet’s a bit." Note change in syntax reflects Ollie’s growing despair/powerlessness/agitation and our relationship with him changes. As he confesses to drunkenly trying to control their wedding, we acknowledge how embarrassing, rather than entertaining, he may well be.


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Creada: 04/10/2000 Última Actualización: 04/12/2000