The narrators voice in the personal essay "Happy Blue Crabs"
A hybrid voice in a narrative offers different perspectives taking the reader on a journey in the narrator’s childhood and his or her current perspective about the experience. A story’s voice is associated with its sound, feel and looks as portrayed by the viewpoint character, writer, and narrator. Jose Bernardo’s text known as “Happy Blue Crabs” is written in “1st person,” with a voice of his childhood and adulthood reminiscing past events. The author accomplishes full attention from the reader by getting absorbed into the story and giving the narrator’s view point. Bernardo’s story is characterized by the narrator playing a main role in the narrative, making him a “homodiegetic” narrator.
By incorporating a hybrid voice, the narrative’s look sound and feel is impacted by the character’s viewpoint. The narrative’s attitude, style and tone are shaped in a way that the reader gets firsthand experience with the different personas in the story and subsequently understands them. For instance, double perspectives is witnessed when the narrator was invited to dine with men and acknowledged as a man, he states, “that moment in one’s life" (61). The narrator manages to draw readers deep into the story by making them have his view point as a child and adult. A hybrid stylistic approach in shaping the story’s voice reveals the narrative’s focus by detailing things ignored or pointed out by the author. Bernardo’s focus as witnessed in the narrative’s voice entails the manner through which the story’s sound, feel and look are put across to readers, through direct reporting of events. The story’s hybrid voice shows the relationship and distance between the readers and the narrator. In the case of the narrator, he is deep in the action and events in the story. The stylistic voice used makes readers relate to the events and influence their mood with regards to the story.
Different perspectives of the narrator’s childhood and adulthood are amalgamated through diction and syntax, which both add to the story’s voice. Additionally, the narratives word order is shaped by the hybrid voice, therefore, influencing its feel and sound. When the narrator explains how his grandfather prioritized important thing in any man’s life, word order is established as a literal style. Maximillo, the narrator’s grandfather listed the significant things as, “caiman hunting, fishing, sex, and good food" (57). Since the story is about Bernardo in his tender age having an important conversation with “Maximillo,” his grandfather. The narrator is obliged to use the voice of a child to reveal his point of view as a kid and how the event impacted on him. On a reflective note, the narrator uses an adult voice, putting readers into his shoes and showing the impact created by the same childhood event as an adult. The different perspectives offered in the story builds up the content and framework of the narrative through the use of a hybrid voice style.
One of the main themes is to keenly listen and absorb to the advice of the elders, because it resonates for a lifetime. During the narrator’s reminiscence, readers often find themselves comprehending the situation better as opposed to the voice being one sided. It would have been rather ambiguous if the narrative took a one sided approach of either the adult or the child. A story whose viewpoint is limited to a child’s voice lacks the details, reflection and position of the adult’s voice and vice versa. The narrator’s short story proves to be a success because it relates at an understandable personal echelon for readers. The different perspectives offered by the hybrid voice describe a particular event in life where acceptance by self and others is felt. The narrator is ecstatic after being acknowledged as a man, since Maximillo only cooked for men (57). Through the use of the 1st person, an incorporation of a hybrid voice is achieved effectively, hence, allowing for the accommodation of the different perspectives. Reflecting in the perspective of an adult voice makes clear that the narrator still appreciates the event stating, “that moment in your life" (p 61). Bernardo’s narrative might appear simplistic, but, the style used in bringing out the voice is intricate and well calculated to ensure dual-perspective in supporting the theme. The story’s attitude, style and tone flows making the reader acquire firsthand experience with the varied personas, and understanding them. The used “hybrid voice” establishes the relationship between the readers and the narrator, making both share the perspectives outlined in the story. Bernardo uses his skills to interweave his active role as a child and his viewpoint as an adult in supporting the theme.
In conclusion, through a hybrid voice, the narrator succeeds in his quest to merge the perspectives of a child and adult. It is witnessed that the stylistic feature used sets the reader on a path through the narrator’s adulthood and childhood in regard to the event. By interchangeably using the viewpoint of and adult and a child, Bernardo attains uniqueness in his narrative that is based on double perspective.
Fiffer, Sharon S, and Steve Fiffer. Family: American Writers Remember Their Own. New York: Pantheon Books, 1996. Print.
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