Chapter 6: Part III
All exercises are taken from Alice LaPlante’s The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing (NGCW).
The Lady with the Little Dog by Anton Chekhov
1. What kind of narrator does this story have? How much does he/she know? What is his/her distance from the events of the story?
This is a third person who follows the main character, Gurov, intimately, both his thoughts and feelings. The narrator is not entirely omniscient because he is mainly focused on Gurov and not on the thoughts/feelings of Anna Sergeevna. The narrator is also not particularly distant but close to Gurov, since, as a character, he is fairly aware of himself.
2. What are the pivotal moments of the story? Is there an epiphany? Or multiple epiphanies? Point out those places where the character Gurov is enlightened or realizes some truth about his situation.
The story has multiple epiphanies but not one main ending or conclusion. Here is an example: “He had two lives: and apparent one, seen and known by all who needed it, filed with conventional truth and conventional deceit, which perfectly resembled the lives of his acquaintances and friends, and another that went on in secret.”
3. What is the resolution of the story? What do you make of resolutions like this (where nothing is really resolved)?
There is no resolution since the story is more of a slice of life. It is merely a peek into the lives of these two people and I personally really enjoy these kind of tales.
Moorise by Penny Wolfson
1. What kind of narrator does this essay have?
The essay is written in first person and very close. The narrator is the mother of a son with muscular dystrophy. His whole life is a slow descent into death and he will be dead before he’s thirty. The story is that of a mother dealing with this fact.
2. In what ways does the essay reflect the narrator’s story?
The narrator and the author seem as one but they might not be.
3. How would this be different if the author had chosen to tell this using a third person narrator?
From the third person perspective, the essay would appear more like fiction. It depends on the type of third person that the author chose (either omniscient or direct observer) and that would as a result also affect how much the readers would know from the son’s point of view. As it stands now, the entire essay is all about the mother.