Friday, August 2, 2019

Comparing the Role of the Narrator in Melville’s Benito Cereno, Henry James’ Daisy Miller and Hwang :: Comparison Compare Contrast Essays

Comparing the Role of the Narrator in Melville’s Benito Cereno, Henry James’ Daisy Miller and Hwang’s M. Butterfly Written stories differ in numerous ways, but most of them have one thing in common; they all have a narrator that, on either rare occasions or more regularly, help to tell the story. Sometimes, the narrator is a vital part of the story since without him or her, it would not be possible to tell the story in the same way, and sometimes, the narrator has a very small role in the story. However, he or she is always there, and to compare how different authors use, and do not use, this outside perspective writing tool, a comparison between Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno, Henry James’ Daisy Miller, and David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly will be done. One of the basic functions of the narrator is to describe the actions that occur from an outside perspective. Since almost no characters will describe the basic actions, i.e. how people are moving, in the plot, it is necessary to use the narrator as help in this issue. All three works that are compared in this essay, Daisy Miller, Benito Cereno and M. Butterfly, use this technique quite often and in very similar ways. First of all, we have James who never writes any words without explicit meaning to the story. As a result, the narrator’s descriptions of simple actions are often short and concise; â€Å"Daisy looked at him for a moment† (James 108). However, since M. Butterfly is originally written to be performed and not read, Hwang uses the narrator to describe the stage for the reader. Therefore, most of the narrator’s comments are related to how the characters move on stage, and how the stage itself looks like; â€Å"They start to walk about the stage. It is a summer night on the Beijing streets. Sounds of the city play on the house speakers† (Hwang 21). Melville, on the other hand, uses the narrator for more detailed purposes. He often adds specific details to the descriptions; small hints of what is still to come in the storyline. A good example of this is when he describes how the two captains in the story are standing on the deck: â€Å"While most part of the story was being given, the two captains stood on the after part of the main deck, a privileged spot, no one being near but the servant† (Melville 45).

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