2014 Student Research Conference:
27th Annual Student Research Conference

Use Your Perspective with Precision: How First-Person Perspective is Used to Explore Memory in The Shadow Lines
Matthew L. Passini
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Shadow Lines is arguably a novel about the journeys and spiritual formation of the main character, the never-named narrator. Author Amitav Ghosh employs the use of a first-person perspective to narrate his second novel. Ghosh carves a place for himself in literary history by creating a character that occupies the grey area between a reliable narrator (i.e. the eponymous David Copperfield, or Ishmael from Moby Dick) and an unreliable one (Houlden Caufield from Catcher in the Rye, Chief from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest). However, whether the reader can trust the narrator is not necessarily important. As a novel largely about memory and how it shapes those who remember it, Shadow Line's unique use of the first-person narrative technique allows the author to set up and explore the difference between memory and actual event. Ghosh enlightens readers as to how they may be seemingly separate, but are actually inseparable, just as an object cannot exist without a shadow.

Keywords: The Shadow Lines, Amitav Ghosh, Memory, Unreliable narrator

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 205-3
Location: VH 1320
Time: 10:00

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