‘Writers often experiment with narrative devices and structures in order to challenge readers’ expectations of genre and their view of the outside world’
Compare and contrast your two texts in light of this comment
Genre is generally defined as a category of composition, characterized by a number of similarities in form, style or subject matter. Naturally with genre, expectations arise, as the reader or an audience come to expect certain things either when reading text or watching a play. Writers who choose to write within a chosen genre therefore are expected to write in a particular style, so any writer who operates outside the typical boundaries of their genre will naturally challenge a reader’s future expectations of that genre.
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The before mentioned switching between first and third person is an example of this – Fowles constantly interrupts his own narrative, most unlike a typical Victorian narrator. Fowles also admits to having little control over his characters – for ‘it is only when our characters and events begin to disobey us that they begin to live’. He is constantly deviating from typical Victorian writing, even as early as the opening chapter when he mentions a ‘person of curiosity’, referring to the reader. Fowles is not telling the reader anything, rather he is allowing them to deduce for themselves – something no Victorian writer would have done. Indeed, it is unlikely that Darwin would have stepped down from the omniscient pedestal that most Victorian writers assumed in order to question his own ability to give the facts, instead telling the reader to work it out for themselves. However it is important to note that Fowles is not attempting to pretend that FLW was written in Victorian times, in fact he makes it quite clear that he isn’t. This idea is emphasised by him mentioning the ‘incisively sharp and blustery morning in the late March of 1867’. Now to use two adjectives in regards to the morning is not dispelling his Victorian credentials, in fact the concern for detail is very typically Victorian, but the actual naming of the date is. A Victorian narrator would not find it necessary to refer to the date, so Fowles is simply letting the reader know that he is equally aware