Tobias Wolff Writing Styles in In the Garden of the North American Martyrs

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Point of View and Narration

"In the Garden of the North American Martyrs" is presented to readers in third-person omniscient narration. The narrator describes Mary's past in order to clarify her present situation. In the first part of the story, the narrator appears to regard Mary indifferently or even negatively. As the narrative progresses, however, Mary is presented more sympathetically and— importantly— Louise and some other characters are shown in a very bad light. Wolff subtly shifts the point of view. He explained in an interview with Jay Woodruff in 1991 that he always intended to let Mary take over the narration, that his "aim was to hand the story over to her." He goes on to say that this shift in point of view was necessary because her voice needs to dominate the narrative by the time she gets to her dramatic concluding speech.

Tone

"In the...

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This section contains 430 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the In the Garden of the North American Martyrs Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
In the Garden of the North American Martyrs from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.