THE ROLE OF A NARRATOR IN NOVEL.
The essence of writing a novel is creating a narrative. There are two aspects of narrative. Firstly , the narrative is unfolding of events during the passage of time. In case of avant garde fiction like stream of consciousness it is the unfolding of thoughts. In case of surreal fiction this unfolding is not in the linear fashion. The narrative , in this case , does not follow the normal direction from past to present and from present to future but there is a flow of time and there is corresponding unfolding of events. In that sense , unfolding is the essence of fiction , though the nature of unfolding and content of unfolding changes according to writer’s own predilections.
The second key aspect of a narrative is the presence of narrator. In this blog , I would describe my own views and my own experience in creating a narrator in my novel. I think a narrator personifies a particular viewpoint. She/ he represents whole lot of value judgements , social norms and psychological framework. On little reflection , one realizes gthat after all this is what a person is. In hindsight , this personification of narrative requirements looks obvious but I did not realize while beginning this novel.
Once one accepts that a narrative needs a personified frame of reference for the narrative , the question arises whom does the narrator represents. Sometimes the narrator represents the author. Sometimes the narrator represents the the collective sensibilities of the society in which the narrative unfolds. When I began writing this novel , I wanted a first person narrative because , as a beginner , I found it easier to internalize Manas’s own emotions. As mentioned in my earlier blogs , I was trying to unravel my emotions through writing a novel. Therefore this process of internalization of Manas’s emotions was effortless. Maybe this is the reason why some authors create a narrator so that process of transference between an author and a narrator facilitate the creative process.
There was another reason for me to create first person narrative. I had always believed that a good literature is always multilayered. Therefore , rather naively , I wanted to create multilayered personality of Manas .I thought at that time that it would be a good idea to have Manas observing himself and commenting on his own persona. This strategy largely worked. However , a strange thing started happening as the narrative progressed. As Manas became uncomfortable with his past , his narrative started getting distorted. The whole psychopathology of Manas started surfacing. Initially , I had thought of using alternate dimensions as a metaphor for our subconscious mind. However , as the narrative progressed , it started representing a device of accommodating Manas’s fragmented personality. Of course there is an overlap between my original intention and the final outcome. The fragmentation of individual entity into different characters was not planned. It was as if , Manas had taken over the role of a narrator and had started dictating the narrative.
Though this interplay between an author and his/ her characters is , by itself , subject matter of good fiction , I was not ready for it. Therefore who was the narrator in this novel is not very well demarcated. I began this novel with the intention of using a narrator as a literary device for creating a depth. However , the device became autonomous entity beyond my control. I have pondered over this and have come to conclusion that the two explanations for this. One possibility is that I and Manas are , somewhere deep within , psychological twins. Therefore Manas had no difficulty in wresting control of the narrator. Alternatively , it is possible that I , as a creator of Manas , was more of a doting parent who willy nilly surrendered his authority to his child. After all I named him as my son Manasputra. In either case , it is a troubling reality.
This is last of my blogs on this novel. I hope the readers have sufficient insights into the processes that went into creating this novel.
This book is available at following linkages.