I include these texts as ideas to supplement the short stories studied in class. Each of this works develops not only a voice, but an outlook and ideology over the course of the narrative.
, by James Joyce and
, by Sherwood Anderson
These two collections of short stories also function as a deliberate unified, overarching narrative. Looking at the stories as a whole can give students the opportunity to capture more subtle aspects of the voices and pressures on identity involved in the works. Short stories are portraits, whereas
present many portraits that build a community and span a lifetime.
Remains of the Day
, by Kazuo Ishiguro
This is an interesting novel in that it has nothing a reader wants, and yet provides a brilliant reading experience. The narrator is unsympathetic, the setting is foreign for almost every reader (unless they are an elderly English aristocrat, which few high school students are), and barely anything happens. The conflict is so deeply internal that the narrator doesn’t notice it and the reader has to work hard to discover it. Yet the story is compelling and voice is a major reason why. An exploration of this work would be a rewarding test of the students skill in apprehending and appreciating the power of voice in a narrative. It works too as a model on the highest level for framing their own writing.
Notes from the Underground, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky; Atmospheric Disturbances, by Rivka Galchen
These are powerfully effective examples of unreliable narration. The sanity of the narrators here is called into question, and again it is the voice that creates the conflict between the individual and society and consequently the narrative.
, by Herman Hesse
The poor narrator of this novel questions his own identity, and what an identity is. This philosophical novel is useful because forces the reader to come to terms with the possible emptiness of identity. The irony is that it is such a srrong voice that presents a narrative that undermines the idea that we can even have our own voice, or our own identity