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The Survivors


Even the deepest secrets rise to the surface in this thrilling mystery from New ...
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How does Harper telling the story in the third person past tense, almost entirely from Kieran's point of view, shape the reader's understanding of Kieran and other characters?

Created: 01/28/21

Replies: 6

Posted Jan. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2619

How does Harper telling the story in the third person past tense, almost entirely from Kieran's point of view, shape the reader's understanding of Kieran and other characters?

Jane Harper has chosen to tell this story in the third person past tense, almost entirely from Kieran's point of view. How does this decision shape the reader's understanding of Kieran, as well as of the other characters in the novel?


Posted Jan. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ScribblingScribe

Join Date: 02/29/16

Posts: 140

RE: How does Harper telling the story in the third person past tense, almost entirely from Kieran's point of view, shape the reader's understanding of Kieran and other characters?

Writing in third person past tense allowed Harper to insert a bit of distance (but not too much) into the narrative and allow for uncertainty to creep in. Because we were seeing the story through Kieran's eyes for the most part, we could follow his quest for the truth. We saw what he saw and knew what he knew. We got to know him and filtered the events and clues through his perspective. This let us experience the story more closely than we could have if the book had been written in omniscient POV.


Posted Jan. 29, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulak

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 187

RE: How does Harper telling the story in the third person past tense, almost entirely from Kieran's point of view, shape the reader's understanding of Kieran and other characters?

I agree with ScribblingScribe about the distance afforded by the story's voice but it also reinforced that the community's tragedy affected nearly every person, albeit some more than others. As such it made more pronounced the sense of a shared tragedy.


Posted Feb. 04, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 330

RE: How does Harper telling the story in the third person past tense, almost entirely from Kieran's point of view, shape the reader's understanding of Kieran and other characters?

For me, the most important effect of the third-person, past tense used in relating this story is the reader's ability to observe the growth in Harper's protagonist, Kieran. From chapter one we see him newly returned to Evelyn Bay, but she even takes us farther back into his past, to high school and his teenage years, to look at him as a student and athlete and high school heart throb before she lets us into the real troublesome part of his life and the heart of this novel's plot - the storm, the death of his brother, and the deterioration of his family and the community. Once that is expressed, she shares with us how he has come to be the man he is on that first day of his recent return and sends us forward to look at his growth and development as a friend, father and husband, and son who can now leave Evelyn Bay whole again finally. This point of view is as complete a story of this man as we will get - but it leaves us knowing, too, that the future is 100% guaranteed good for him and his family.


Posted Feb. 04, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
judithc

Join Date: 02/28/20

Posts: 25

RE: How does Harper telling the story in the third person past tense, almost entirely from Kieran's point of view, shape the reader's understanding of Kieran and other characters?

Harper’s telling the story in the third person highlights her genius as a writer. It’s seeing the events through his eyes as they unfold in the present and as his mind remembers past scenes. The whole story is truly told from his point of view. Harper did an excellent job at this.


Posted Feb. 04, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Mary Alice

Join Date: 01/14/18

Posts: 22

RE: How does Harper telling the story in the third person past tense, almost entirely from Kieran's point of view, shape the reader's understanding of Kieran and other characters?

This is an interesting question. I wondered about having Kieran as the narrator while I was reading. I liked him from the book's beginning. I had not read any books by Jane Harper, and as the book began, I did not want to think that Kieran was an unreliable narrator. I did not want him to be the perpetrator of any of these crimes. His warm love for his family gave me hope that everything would work out for him.


Posted Feb. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 261

RE: How does Harper telling the story in...

Everything is seen thru the screen that Kiernan viewed things through. No two people see things the same way. Although Kiernan was involved in the deaths of his brother and Toby, and I believe fairly honest in his evaluation, we still saw everything from his point of view. Had it been from Liam's point of view the book would have been much different. I believe we saw Kiernan as a victim and liked him right from the beginning.


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