[LMB] OT: Jane Eyre

Corrina Lavitt corrinal at cox.net
Mon, 24 Nov 2003 08:14:24 -0500


> Corrina:
> > Yes, that it does have in common with HQ categories, encouraging readers
> to
> > identify with the narrator. Books written in first person do the same.
>
MegJ said:
> And doesn't Lois encourage her readers to identify with her characters?
If
> not, she's doing an unintentionally great job of it.

>From a simple writing craft standpoint, Lois choises third-person limited to
tell her stories. Which means we sit inside the characters' heads and see
what they say. She's one of the best I've ever read at using this point of
view--there's very little if any extraneous material in her books--simply
what the character sees. This lends a very real emotional immediacy as well.

Contrast that to Tolkien, who uses an omniscient storyteller to tell his
tale. It's effective for what he wants but it does tend to be less
emotionally intense.

There are uses for both POVs from a writing standpoint. I don't agree that
one is inherently better or less self-indulgent than the other but it seems
James and I do disagree on that one.
>
> Intellectually, I get what James is saying on the critical level.

I understand what he's saying but his distinction between popular
(pleasure-reading) and academic literature is a phantom one to me. A great
amount of literature studies today as 'classics' were the popular literature
of their day, Shakespeare being the most obvious example. I'm dubious of the
staying power of modern literature that is *only* written for academics--not
that it is not good wonderful prose but because much of the 'literature'
being studied and dissected as classic now was written for a popular
audience, not a limited one.

To survive, it seems to me 'classics' have both told wonderful stories and
appealed to academics on some level, either with their prose, themes or
insight. But much of what I see as literary fiction today forgets the good
story.

For instance, I would be willing to bet the only pieces of writing that will
survive from our current times is the immensely popular Harry Potter series.
Not for it's deathless prose but because it deals with themes and issues
that resonate along with being a good adventure story.

Good stories live on.

Which is what Lois' works are: it hits all levels, both pleasure reading and
thematic ones. Certainly her books will survive as classics of the genre and
hopefully, will get their just due at some point from academic circles,
though I'm not holding my breath. :)

Corrina