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Cruel Beautiful World


Cruel Beautiful World examines the intricate, infinitesimal distance...
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Discuss Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt:
Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

Created: 08/04/17

Replies: 17

Posted Aug. 04, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1626

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Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

Leavitt's novel is told from the points of view of five characters: Charlotte, Lucy, Iris, Patrick, and William. Do you think the novel is more effective told this way, from a closed point of view, or do you think it would have had more impact if she had used a third-person omniscient narrative? Why do you think Leavitt chose this way of telling the story, and how would the novel have been different if she had taken a different approach?


Posted Aug. 07, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 167

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RE: Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

For me personally, it is the breaking up of the novel into the individual points of reference that weakened it. I was so invested in Lucy's character and her story - her voice was very strong and when the narrative left Lucy to focus on others, I did not feel the same energy, focus, or investment. That became the weakening of the novel for me. I liked hearing others tell about themselves and explain their world and actions, but none seemed as compelling, as interesting, as energetic as Lucy. Perhaps a third person narrative would have evened it all out for me. in retrospect, however, I think third-person narration would have weakened the novel further - even Lucy would be less exciting/interesting.


Posted Aug. 07, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PiperUp

Join Date: 10/27/15

Posts: 104

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RE: Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

I prefer stories told from multiple individual points of view. I enjoy stories that unfold as told by each character. I like to see each character from the point of view of other characters as well as have insight into what each thinks & feels about themselves, their surroundings & their choices. I think stories told in this way provide more insight for each character than an omniscient narrator. I like the individual thoughts & feelings as opposed to a narrator who informs me of others' thoughts & feelings. It also provides a separation between the characters that is kind of a wall. They're not present to witness everything like an omniscient narrator is so it feels more real to me.


Posted Aug. 08, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

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RE: Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

I liked the multiple points of view. They allowed the author to tell each person's story from that individual's perspective, leaving room for the reader to resolve conflicting information and draw conclusions - for instance, about what happened when Lucy died. All the POVs, though, were presented from a third-person, not a first-person, perspective. I would have preferred that each character had an individual and distinctive voice.


Posted Aug. 08, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckyh

Join Date: 05/08/11

Posts: 78

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RE: Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

I found the changes in POV vaguely irritating. I didn't think it added anything to the book and several times found myself having to go back and reread because I was unsure whose POV was being presented (which is a failing of the author's not presenting clearly differentiated voices).


Posted Aug. 08, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

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RE: Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

In this particular novel I preferred hearing each individual voice telling their story. I felt it added to the development of each character. Also each character seemed to be holding on to their own secrets. Hearing the secrets from the character seemed more personal than if we were hearing them from some narrator, who knew everything about everyone. We cared more about the character when they shared their story and the reasons for their choices.


Posted Aug. 09, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
smsh

Join Date: 05/03/16

Posts: 12

RE: Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

I liked the story being told from individual points of view. I could not get engaged at the beginning, when Lucy was telling the story. But as other views came out, I really became engrossed. I'm not sure if it would have felt as powerful to me, if the story was told through one voice.


Posted Aug. 11, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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alwaysdaddygirl

Join Date: 09/04/16

Posts: 65

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RE: Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

Like others, I like the individual viewpoints. It makes you bond with the characters. For me, it also makes the story better. You also get a change to see what judgment can do in this book. This book has many life lessons. That is another ballgame.


Posted Aug. 12, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ritai

Join Date: 02/15/17

Posts: 9

RE: Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

I liked the fact that the novel was told from various points of view because it allowed us to learn more about about each of the characters.....their secrets and their impressions of the others. Also one person's impression of events is almost always different from another's.


Posted Aug. 12, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
suelizbeth

Join Date: 01/15/17

Posts: 16

RE: Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

For me, the individual points of view made the story more compelling. I could empathize with or hate the characters more easily as I got to know each of them more intimately.


Posted Aug. 13, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carolt

Join Date: 03/25/17

Posts: 23

RE: Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

Sometimes this technique works; sometimes it doesn't. Here, the all-seeing reader worked.


Posted Aug. 14, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
RRO

Join Date: 07/18/11

Posts: 8

RE: Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

I think we learned more about each character from the individual points of view. An omniscient narrator would not have given us the insights we saw in each person because the narrator would not have been able to get into their heads.


Posted Aug. 14, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alissac

Join Date: 05/14/15

Posts: 49

RE: Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

Stories are always better when you get all perspectives- you see into all characters, their motives, desires, etc. That being said, you also run the risk of being taken in by an "unreliable narrator" type character, who cannot be truthful and misleads the reader to protect himself. Ugh, tricky, but I still like the multiple views bc it helps paint a fuller picture of the characters, how they work, what they're feeling, strongly bc it's not through the lens of an omniscient narrator type.


Posted Aug. 16, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeannew

Join Date: 04/23/11

Posts: 91

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RE: Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

I really liked the multiple points of view for this story. I agree with everybody who mentioned that this allowed the characters' secrets to emerge at their own pace and made for a more compelling story. It was sometimes irritating when one person's story got interrupted by another's. But it certainly kept me racing through the pages!


Posted Aug. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorisk

Join Date: 10/20/10

Posts: 23

RE: Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

I thought this was a good way to tell the story. It gave better perspective on each of the characters and made them more understandable.


Posted Aug. 20, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorisk

Join Date: 10/20/10

Posts: 23

RE: Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

I thought this was a good way to tell the story. It gave better perspective on each of the characters and made them more understandable.


Posted Aug. 25, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Navy Mom

Join Date: 04/12/12

Posts: 213

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RE: Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

The different points of view helped the story unfold, not getting everything at once is what made it compelling. Feeling how much Lucy loved William at first drew the reader in, the back story about Iris made Iris real and provided tension as well as explaining why she would take the girls in, keeping somethings unknown is what made the story seem real. No person knows everything, you need to get information from different people and those people will have different takes and different ways of looking at the situation and what is happening.


Posted Aug. 27, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lisar

Join Date: 07/25/16

Posts: 5

RE: Do you think the novel is more effective told from the individual points of view. How would it have been different if told by an omniscient narrator?

I wish the story had been told only from Lucy's perspective and Charlotte's perspective. The other points of view were distracting and really did not move the story forward. Multiple narrators seems to be a popular literary device right now.


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