Advertisement

The Observing We in Literary Representations of Neglect and Social Alienation: Types of Narrator Involvement in Janice Galloway’s ‘Scenes from the Life No. 26: The Community and the Senior Citizen’ and Jon McGregor’s Even the Dogs

  • Catherine Emmott
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter examines the use of different types of we-narration in two literary stories that portray the theme of neglect and alienation in modern society, Janice Galloway’s ‘Scenes from the life no. 26: The community and the senior citizen’ and Jon McGregor’s Even the Dogs. Both texts have an observing we-narrator. Galloway’s short story presents a voyeuristic commentator, apparently watching a staged performance. This we becomes increasingly detached as the narrative progresses, possibly preventing readers from fully empathising. By contrast, McGregor’s we-narrator is highly involved, contributing personal knowledge and memories. The degree of involvement of these we-narrators is quite different, but both texts use their unusual perspectives to provide unsettling views of those who have fallen into a state of neglect and are marginalised by society.

Keywords

Janice Galloway Jon McGregor Neglect Voyeurism We-narration 

References

  1. Alexander, N. (2013) ‘Profoundly ordinary: Jon McGregor and everyday life’, Contemporary Literature 54(4): 720–751.Google Scholar
  2. Edwards, C. (2010) ‘An Interview with Jon McGregor’, Contemporary Literature 51(2): 217–245.Google Scholar
  3. Emmott, C. (1997) Narrative Comprehension: A Discourse Perspective, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Galloway, J. (1992) ‘Scenes from the life no. 26: The community and the senior citizen’, in J. Galloway, Blood, London: Minerva, pp. 46–57.Google Scholar
  5. Galloway, J. (2006) ‘Janice Galloway’ (interview), in Murray, I. (ed.), Scottish Writers Talking 3, Edinburgh: John Donald, pp. 1–58.Google Scholar
  6. Ganteau, J.-M. (2013) ‘Trauma and the ethics of vulnerability: Jon McGregor’s Even the Dogs’, Études Britanniques Contemporaines, Accessed 15th July 2016. Online: http://ebc.revies.org/940
  7. Ganteau, J.-M. (2014) ‘Vulnerable form and traumatic vulnerability: Jon McGregor’s Even the Dogs’, in Onega, S. and Ganteau J-M (eds.) Contemporary Trauma Narratives: Liminality and the Ethics of Form, New York: Routledge, pp. 89–104.Google Scholar
  8. Jackson, E.-R. (2004) ‘Love in a changing environment: Placing Janice Galloway’s short stories’, Edinburgh Review (special issue, L. Jackson (ed.) Exchanges: Reading Janice Galloway’s fictions): 7–20.Google Scholar
  9. Jobert, M. (2016) ‘Odd pronominal narratives: The singular voice of the first-person plural in Julie Otsuka’s The Buddha in the Attic’, in Sotirova, V. (ed.) The Bloomsbury Companion to Stylistics, London: Bloomsbury, pp. 537–552.Google Scholar
  10. Marcus, A. (2008) ‘We Are You: The Plural and the Dual in “We” Fictional Narratives’, Journal of Literary Semantics 37(1): 1–21.Google Scholar
  11. Margolin, U. (2001) ‘Collective perspective, individual perspective, and the speaker in between: On “we” literary narratives’, in Van Peer, W. and Chatman, S. (eds.) New Perspectives on Narrative Perspective, Albany, NY: State University of New York, pp. 241–253.Google Scholar
  12. McGregor, J. (2010) Even the Dogs, London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  13. McHale, B. (1987) Postmodernist Fiction, New York: Methuen.Google Scholar
  14. Richardson, B. (2006) Unnatural Voices: Extreme Narration in Modern and Contemporary Fiction, Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Sanford, A. J. and Emmott, C. (2012) Mind, Brain and Narrative, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Sanford, A. J., Filik, R., Emmott, C., and Morrow, L. I. (2008) ‘“They’re digging up the road again”: The processing cost of institutional they’, The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 61: 372–380.Google Scholar
  17. Shklovsky, V. (1965) ‘Art as technique’, in L. T. Lemon and M. J. Reis (eds.), Russian Formalist Criticism: Four Essays Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, pp. 3–24). [First published in Russian in 1917.].Google Scholar
  18. Skloot, F. (2010) ‘Drug wars’, Sunday book review, The New York Times, April 9th 2010, Accessed 15th July 2016. Online: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/books/review/Skloot-t.html?_r=0
  19. Wales, K. (1996) Personal Pronouns in Present-Day English, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Emmott
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GlasgowGlasgowUK

Personalised recommendations