In this month’s blog we are taking a look at narration. We’re asking ourselves ‘who is telling this story’?
Take a look at the three examples below, all of which are written in the first person.
They tell the same story through the eyes of three different narrators with three different characters, backgrounds, motivations, prejudices and perspectives.
NARRATOR ONE – The neighbour
I don’t feel like I’m betraying a confidence at all. It’s important that their side of the story comes out, as far as I’m concerned. He made the journey to the airport and back for the sake of his family. He and his wife both have very stressful, highly paid jobs and there’s no way they can care for the children without help. The nanny went on her three week home leave the week before the rules changed. They couldn’t just tell her to come back early, could they; tell her to cut short the time she spent with her family, just so they could get her back into the house before lockdown started.
It was only early April when he picked her up and brought her back to London. Not like it was the middle of lockdown or anything, it had only just started. There’s no way a couple like that should be expected to just carry on without help with the children. The police were completely out of order making an example of them like that.
NARRATOR TWO – The wife
I knew he shouldn’t have done it. I knew it was against the rules and so did he but he insisted and when he gets like that, there’s nothing I can do. If I’m honest, I really enjoyed being with the children those three weeks and when they said we were going into lockdown, I was really looking forward to being furloughed and actually spending some quality time with them for a change. I ordered a bag of flour and a bag of sugar online. I don’t think I’ve ever bought either of them before.
When he got back with her in the car, he said they’d been stopped by the police on the way. She was pretty upset but he was showing off in front of her, telling us he’d talked his way out of it. We didn’t expect to hear anything more about it. Little did we know!
NARRATOR THREE – The daughter
Being looked after by Mummy was really strange. We normally get an agency girl when Maria goes for her special long holidays to see her own Mummy and Daddy, but this time we got Mummy instead. Daddy said it was because the agency were a bunch of idiots.
Harriet and I made a little chart the day she went so we could count off the days. Harriet said it was best if we hid it in the wendy house, because Mummy probably wouldn’t want to see it. She’s not friends with Maria really.
The first day Maria was back she didn’t have time to play even though we didn’t have to go to school any more. A policeman came to the house and after he went there was a lot of shouting downstairs. Maria shut herself in her bedroom and when Harriet went to listen, she said Maria was crying.
This month we’re inviting you to take one of your own written pieces and to rewrite it through the eyes of a different narrator, or maybe several different narrators. How does this change the narrative? Does it make it more interesting, bring out some new dimensions to the characters, enrich the story in some way?
We look forward to hearing how you get on.
Janet and Clara