Research Paper: Analyzing Authors Techniques in Storytelling to Understand Their Themes

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¶ … storytelling to understand their themes.

The American literature has known some of the most interesting and at the same time dynamic movements in global literature. This is largely due to the fact that in essence the American literature is not significant for a particular sense of culture but rather it represents a mix of different influences such as French, British, Mexican literature and perspectives that determine the actual essence and composition of American literature. From this point-of-view, in general terms, American literature is full of writings that express both the traditionalist notions of the places from which American authors come as well as the new culture that started to emerge once the amalgam of peoples and immigrants created what is now the United States. It was only natural that the influences that were visible at the social level to have a major impact on the cultural life and in literature in particular.

For the present assignment I chose to compare Sandra Cisneros' "Caramelo" and F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby." One of the main reason for this choice revolves around the issue of difference between the two in terms of the perspectives the authors have in constructing an American novel and creating the image of America from their own lens provided by history and personal experience. More precisely, the Mexican origins of Sandra Cisneros are clearly reflected in her novel and determine a certain perspective on the characters and the story telling technique. My comparison, Fitzgerald was the traditional American writer with studies conducted at Princeton, with a good family background and a traditional path in life. In this sense, he served his country in the First World War, and he later on went to serve the growing film industry by writing film scripts. This is an important aspect in his biography largely because it points out the deep roots Fitzgerald had in the American way of life, in which patriotism and at the same time the aim to lead a good life are essential and formidable.

The two novels chosen for comparison are rather different from the point-of-view of the story telling technique. On the one hand, "Caramelo" is built on a semi-autobiographical note, while "The Great Gatsby" is provided with a clear story teller that takes upon himself to reveal the drama and the subject as a whole to the reader. There are certain benefits and shortcomings for the use of such techniques. In the case of the first novel, the main character, Lala cannot be fully differentiated from the storyteller largely because of the autobiographical nature of the writing. On the one hand this technique is appropriate for the type of subject chosen, that of depicting different aspects of life from her family, with positive and negative sides. It allows the reader to avoid any intermediary force that would diffuse the personal message. In this manner, the reader is directly connected to the story without any concern related to the interpretation (Fitzgerald, 2011). At the same time, the reader is much more engaged in the story because there is no third party to mediate between the characters and the audience. In the case of "Caramelo" this can be considered the best means to send the message across to the audience because the subject is relatively intimately connected with the way in which the reader tends to sympathize with the characters.

Another important aspect related to the choice of storytelling in the "Caramelo" novel includes the largely personal nature of the information provided. In this sense, for instance, in excerpts such as "We're all little in the photograph above Father's bed. We were little in Acapulco. We will always be little. For him we are just as we were then" (Cisneros, 2002) the fact that there is no intermediation between the author and the audience, provides an even more intimate consideration of the issues presented.

Also, one of the most important aspects of the novel "Caramelo" is the attention being drawn to the American way of life by providing stories of the Mexican way of life. By comparison, with references being made to Acapulco or "the border" there is a sense of belonging to the New World but at the same time with the impressions and roots of the land of origin. The fact that the novel is full in depicting the members of the family, with their own habits as they are in the Mexican life only strengthens the need for belonging to the New World of the author and the main character. Therefore it can be said that the novel is somewhat a disguised confession of the author and the storytelling technique is properly used for this end because it offers an untainted version of the personal truth.

By comparison, "The Great Gatsby" is rightfully considered to be the true American novel as it presents pieces of the traditional high life of the American society in its early beginnings after the end of the First World War. The story telling technique is a third person narration which allows the narrator to be the intermediary for the characters. By comparison, this use of the third person limits the access of the reader to the characters and does not allow it to fully perceive the characters to their fullest imagined potential. Better said, the fact that all characters are introduced to a certain point by a third person narration transforms the reading experience from a dynamic stand to a passive one in which the reader must accept the descriptions and wording of the narrator as they come available and there is no space for the reader's imagination (Bloom, 2006). From one point-of-view this is benefic for the subject of the novel and the aim of the author because it better channels the message to the reader by not allowing any imagination. For the subject of this novel, this technique is appropriate because it better reveals the nature fo the American life, of the perceptions that must be underlined in order to fully understand the message of the novel. On the other hand however, the journey that reading a novel should be is not active but passive and similar to a film script.

Most importantly for the novel however is the depiction of the American dream as seen through the events that unfold in the novel. One of the most significant quotes pointing out in this direction is that of Nick Carraway's character which was chosen by the author to be the narrator of the story. At one point towards the end of the novel, he concludes that "That's my Middle West . . . The street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark. . . . I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all -- Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly inadaptable to Eastern life" (2002). This is an important point of the novel because it captures the true essence of the writing in terms of the American life theme. More precisely, it allows the narrator and the audience at the same time to focus on the differences that existed in the early 20s between the two sides of America. There is the constant discussion between the West and the East that reveals the discrepancies and the gaps between the two coasts. These do not relate to the geographical differences in terms of distances but rather to the portrayal of this distance in the nature of the characters. The wild life of Gatsby, with all the drama, the social events, the heartbreaking love affairs are specific to the West where the flashy life often takes over the personality of an individual and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Analyzing Authors Techniques in Storytelling to Understand Their Themes.  (2013, March 16).  Retrieved May 26, 2019, from

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"Analyzing Authors Techniques in Storytelling to Understand Their Themes."  16 March 2013.  Web.  26 May 2019. <>.

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"Analyzing Authors Techniques in Storytelling to Understand Their Themes."  March 16, 2013.  Accessed May 26, 2019.