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  1. trailer trash

    trailer trash Senior Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    Likes Received:
    United States

    The Dead Narrator

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by trailer trash, Nov 11, 2006.

    I have refrained from making any comment on the question of the “dead narrator” until now. So many times in the past in writing forums, I find members who have jumped at the opportunity to point out what they considered an instance of a dead narrator. Of course, we all know that the story cannot continue if the narrator is dead.

    Nevertheless, many times someone will step up and point the finger mistakenly to a character, usually the protagonist, who suddenly ends up dead, and are quick to say that the story cannot continue because the narrator is dead.

    This is not so. Unless, the story is being told from the point of view of the protagonist and he is acting as the narrator. Which I might add is not always the case.

    Therefore, it is important to realize exactly who the narrator is, and not to confuse the narrator as necessarily being a character in the story. The narrator may simply be an observer.
  2. Spherical Time

    Spherical Time Contributing Member

    Aug 13, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Everywhere, Always
    On occasion even a dead narrator will work. Not often, but on very rare controlled circumstances. American Beauty, for instance, but that's the only one that springs to life.

    If you're thinking about doing this, write and publish a book first, before you try this.

    Otherwise, I agree with trailer.
  3. zerobytes

    zerobytes Contributing Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Perhaps I'm confused as to the nature of the "dead narrator" but Sunset Blvd strikes me as a good example of a story narrated by a dead individual. In that example he is narrating the events leading to his death so he becomes two separate characters...or, more specifically, the same character from two different points of reference. This would eliminate the problem of making your protaganist the narrator and then killing him. Anyway, I'm curious (and quite possibly confused) as to what the questions are regarding a dead narrator. Are we referring to a dead individual narrating the story or did I just waste a post :(?


    PS My favorite treatment of a narrator has to be in Stephen Sondhiem's Into the Woods - because the Narrator is doing nothing more than talking the desparate characters feed him to the giant.
  4. Vivienne Crow

    Vivienne Crow Member

    Nov 23, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Queensland, Australia
    as i was reading this teh voice of Mary-Alice from Desperate Housewives kept swimming through my head. Would she be considered a "dead narrator" as she is dead within the first ep and she speaks at the beginning and end of the ep, plus sometimes in the middle.

    is this what is meant by a dead narrator?

  5. Daniel

    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

    May 14, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Peoria, Illinois
    It really depends on how it's handled. I prefer the concept of a narrator as an observer from a writer's perspective; from a readers, however, I think a character as a narrator is more personal. Unless they're dead, of course.

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