Life

What is the author's style in Life by Bessie Head?

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The narrative style employed by Head in "Life" is integral to the story because it allows Head to explore the personal traits of her characters as well as the global traits shared by the villagers. Such a narrative style allows Head to fully set up the inherent difference between the villagers and the city dwellers, which is at the core of the story. The narration alternates between a detached factual voice that imparts pertinent information, such as the historical setting and the attitudes of the village women, and a more vivid portrayal of the village inhabitants that includes lively dialogue and image-filled descriptions. The story opens with the factual voice, to explain both the historical events that cause Life to return to Botswana and her feelings about this movement. At times throughout the story, the factual voice is used to more fully explicate various events. Although at times, the narration is deeply within the characters and their issues—as during Life's murder—the story ends on the same note as it began. "A song by Jim Reeves was very popular at that time. 'That's What Happens When Two Worlds Collide'." Head's narrative voice thus serves as a running commentary on the story's drama.

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Life