Susie Salmon, our central protagonist, is our narrator throughout the story. What early impressions do we gain of her here through her narrative voice?
Sebold, the writer, uses a strange method of revealing the main problem of the story instantly, Sebold writes “My murderer” right at the start of the opening paragraph. This gives the reader the impression that there is more to the story behind Susie’s murdered than the murder itself. This structure is very effective because while it intrigues the reader by making them want to know how and why she was murdered, it also gives the reader an immediate shock that you might not get from more traditionally structured novels.
As to what this reveals about Susie, The impression given to the reader is that she is comfortable talking about her death and the character behind her murder. Another aspect of Susie that is insinuated to the reader, is her polite and well mannered respect towards her elders, Sebold demonstrates this when he uses the proper noun “Mr Harvey” The use of this proper noun is a very useful technique in helping the reader to build up a liking towards Susie, this means that when Susie begins to reveal how and why she is murdered, it will have a bigger impact.
Also the fact that Susie uses the title “Mr” rather than his first name indicates a sort of subconscious way she addresses and speaks to adults. However this could also imply a lack of familiarity between Susie and Mr Harvey. On the other hand Sebold gives the reader the impression that Susie while being well mannered and polite, she is also still a child and still behaves like someone of her age. This is revealed when Sebold writes “I stuck my tongue out to taste a snowflake.” Here Susie is portrayed to be quite childlike, again in my opinion Sebold is trying to help the reader form a bond with Susie. The use of the indefinite article “a” before the common noun “man” when Susie is describing her murderer, proves to the reader that before she was murdered, this man bared little or no significance to her.
Sebold uses this to help the reader to understand that Susie had done nothing to this man For him to murder her and again adds to the shopping list of evidence, given to the reader, of reasons to like Susie. Another impression that is put forward to the reader is that although she is still young and childlike, Susie is very creative and intelligent, this is clearly shown when Sebold uses adjectives like “beautiful”, “difficult” and “broken” In my opinion Sebold does this to create an image of a girl who had her whole successful world to look forward to, and how all those hopes and dreams can come crashing down by the hand of “a man” Furthermore the impression given to the reader that Susie is intelligent is enhanced when Sebold uses the Adverb “lightly” it demonstrates that Susie is imaginative and is able to explain things in detail, rather than just giving bland information.
Sebold does this so that the reader is able to build up a picture is their heads of the sort of setting Susie is trying to explain, this is achieved as instantly when the reader reads the adverb “lightly” in the syntax “the snow was falling lightly” they are able to build up an image of snowflakes gently floating across Susie’s peripheral vision and onto the “broken cornstalks” on the floor.
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