Writing about the narrative in ‘Shop Dead’
Shop Dead is written by Kate Cann and the novel is based a girl named Melanie who has an obsession with beauty. Everything in her life, her family, friends and relationships revolved around her appearance. She wanted to be like the Dummies in the shop. The words in the title ‘Shop’ and ‘Dead’ literally is the message of the story of how Melanie dies with this illness of being obsessed with her exterior looks. Kate Cann’s narrative method in this novel is effective in informing the reader and establishing interest.
The name of the narrator in this novel is not named and remains unknown to the readers, but you are however, made aware that the narrator is the boyfriend of the main character, Melanie. He is a young man, still attending college. Kate Cann employs here an intrusive first person narrator, for Melanie’s boyfriend continually comments upon the story that is being self-consciously told. The narrator passes his own judgement on the events which pan out in the novel and upon the main character, Melanie. For example, ‘Then I stopped any more analysing – if I’m honest any more thinking. Apart from the thoughts that involved Melanie.’ The novel represents a forced, empathetic relationship that the narrator has with Melanie and acts like a diary of the narrator’s experience with the main character over the course of their relationship. Kate representing the narrative in this way implies that Melanie’s boyfriend is the narrator of the novel as well as the novels author. As the novel is like a memoir of events of Melanie’s boyfriend’s involvement in Melanie’s tough life, the way it is written, is like a way of the narrator understanding the series of occasions that occurred in his story. The narrator, Melanie’s boyfriend, plays the more dominating role in the story but everything he comments upon and describes is all about the way Melanie is, behaves and the frightening obsession she has. It makes the foundation of the novel and as it is an intrusive first person narrative, his remarks and observations builds the perception and understanding of the novel to the reader. Kate Cann’s choice of this particular narrative, delivers the readers with personal views and insights.
Kate Cann’s narrative method is supported with the qualities of Melanie’s boyfriend as the narrator. He is quite an indecisive character yet looks beyond the obvious for a deeper side to things. ‘Girls intrigue me. I like watching them, the way they move, the way they talk together. It’s like- I dunno – girls aren’t just there, like guys are.’ Melanie’s boyfriend also seems to be very unsure of himself and lost due to starting new in a college environment ‘I don’t know how I made it to the right places to register and listen to lectures and eat – it was too much.’ The narrator being quite dim-witted, simple and lost makes the novel more relatable to the readers as the novel would be aimed at a college student. The contrast of the meaning of the novel and the self-effacing narrator makes the importance of the illness of Melanie more empathetic as no one would know or understand what to do or how to deal this someone of this illness. So the reader can connect with the reader and understand as to why he is such a confused character throughout the