Throughout the novel ‘The life and Crimes of Harry Lavender’, Marele Day uses distinctive voices through the main characters Claudia Valentine and Harry Lavender. Key issues such as the impact of technology, violence & corruption and the changing role of women in society, allows Day to demonstrate her concerns with the future of Sydney’s society. Despite being written in the 1980s, Day has validated these issues to become universal to a contemporary society. These concerns are conveyed through a variety of literacy techniques.
The negative effect on the impact of technology throughout the novel is presented through the voice of Claudia. Day uses Claudia to convey her views about the damaging impact technology is having on our fast growing society. This is demonstrated in her explanation of Marks computer and the effect it has on Otto, “Otto glided to the computer like a zombie summoned to its master”. The use of a simile compares Otto’s behaviour as slave-like to confront the reader about how technology has now become the controller; as humanity has become more reliant on it, rather than other people. This is further reinforced in the quote “social patter (is) down to a bare minimum”, which expands on the concern that technology is having a negative influence on society, as it detaches humanity from each other. In both examples the voice of Marele Day is evident as she creates her own comments on the impact of technology.
Alternatively, Day uses the voice of Harry to present a more enlightening view on technology. Throughout the events in the novel, the reader becomes aware that Harry believes technology is essential in our society, as it allows him to supress and control Sydney. This is exemplified in the quote “Regrets? Only one. That I will not live long enough to witness and enjoy the full impact of the electronic future”. The use of a rhetorical question and first person conveys a sense of Harry’s passion for the impact on technology in society. “I stand on top of the city and see the shape of the future. It is a circuit board…” is another line used by Day, containing computer jargon to expose Harry’s knowledge of technology and to also reinforce the idea of a changing society caused by technology. Further into the novel, Harry is seen to use technology as a ‘crime tool’ in the quote “The heart; the central processing unit… only in the heart can data be changed. Especially if the heart has an electronic implant”. Containing allusion, this quote alludes to Mark Bannister’s death and implies that Harry was behind the criminal process of altering the program in Marks pacemaker, ultimately resulting in his murder. Again, the voice of Day is present as she comments on how technology is allowing characters, such as Harry, to develop and maintain wealth, power and status in our universal society.
Violence has always been a dark and gritty aspect of Sydney’s underbelly. This is extended into the novel by Day as she conveys the beauty of Sydney as a façade. Throughout the events in the novel, evidence of physical and psychological violence is present, through the voices of Harry and Claudia. Physical violence is present in the lines “Then rapid punches: head, solar plexus, and abdomen. He moaned in a low sort of way, nursing his vitals with one hand and groping for the gun with the other”. This line, along with many others, is used by Day to portray the physical violence occurring in the underbelly of Sydney. “Nothing. I feel nothing. It is like starting a car in the morning, you have to do it, it is part of the routine”, is another quote which exemplifies physical violence in the novel. The use of a simile allows Harry to detail how he is capable of killing a man in cold blood. The simile also creates imagery of his ruthlessness involving physical violence. During the course of the novel, psychological violence was also present. In