Thursday, 29 December 2016

Multiple Viewpoints

Alan Moore's Jerusalem (London, 2016) is a multiple viewpoints novel. We read a conversation in "Rough Sleepers," then reread the same conversation from the other pov in "X Marks the Spot." It is also in another century but the supernatural is involved.

A character is described as seen by others in "Modern Times," then he turns out to be the viewpoint character of "Blind, but Now I See." Henry is a "Way Henry saw it..." kind of guy:

"Way Henry saw it, people could like what they wanted to, so long as it weren't nothing bad." (p. 175)

I imagine that conversation with Henry might consist of being asked to agree with propositions that turned out to be tautologies. Because this is Henry's pov, the text is appropriately ungrammatical:

"Clouds was piled like mashed potatoes in blue gravy..." (p. 178)

A striking image once we get past the ungrammar!

Would you believe this? When I attended primary school, 1956-60, a fellow pupil wrote a short story from a young boy's pov. A member of the pastoral staff, not a teacher, read the opening passage of the story and set out to correct the grammar. When the young author explained, "The boy himself is writing this...," the officious adult did not understand what was being said to him! Those guys thought they could tell us things! And they could tell us some things but we had to sort the wheat from the chaff. The same guy told me that I knew that marriage was a sacrament whereas, of course, the truth was that they were telling me that marriage was a sacrament.

Meanwhile, all praise to Alan Moore for writing, from Henry's pov, "Clouds was piled..."

Read the novel to find out why the image for this post is relevant.

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