Home > Uncategorized > WTF: Multiple Narrators in GR

WTF: Multiple Narrators in GR

From Christine, who puzzles in her latest post over narration, distortion, and reality, we have this WTF:

I’ve searched a lot of the companion links in the right sidebar but can’t find what I’m looking for:

Anyone found a cogent dissection of the multiple narrators of this book? I can identify three, so far, from their tone and knowledge, but I think there may be many more. In fact, I think each character might get his own (doesn’t seem that the women get their own, but, again, I’m just formulating my thoughts on this and need help.)

Have you read anything on this that you recommend?

I don’t have a great answer, but a couple of possible leads from a quick search of the Gale resources my library offers turns up these possible hits, which I have not read:

  • “Consciousness without borders: narratology in Against the Day and the works of Thomas Pynchon.” Richard Hardack. Criticism. 52.1 (Winter 2010) p91.
  • “Science, narrative, and agency in Gravity’s Rainbow.” Margaret Lynd. CRITIQUE: Studies in Contemporary Fiction. 46.1 (Fall 2004) p63.
  1. April 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Thanks, Daryl. I found that narratology article and another, newer one, but neither helped much. I’ll check the Lund soon.

  2. Dennis
    April 25, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I had a reply all ready, but I started to think a little (always a good or bad sign… never neutral.) I think that I can count at least 5 different narrators in the text. I just wanted to list them out to give a peg others can hang their ideas on.
    1. The Vaudevillian. He’s the one who pops up with wacky scenarios, songs and bad puns.
    2. The Fantacist. He’s similar to the Vaudevillian, but is not jocular. I think of him as narrating the orgy scene on the _Anubis_.
    3. The Poet. He’s the one that looks at a scene and just describes it in minimal term.
    4. The Authority. He’s the one that always seems to be condescending and brutal. He’ll say things like, “You didn’t really believe you’d be saved. Come, we all know who we are by now. No one was ever going to take the trouble to save _you_, old fellow…”
    5. The Priest (after the priestly scribe of the old testament) who insist on cataloging long lists of items like those on Slothrop’s desk.

    I would be interested to hear any critiques or additions to this list.

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