Writing Techniques in Bright Lights, Big City

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Perhaps the most outstanding feature of Bright Lights, Big City is its secondperson narrative format. Unlike the first-person narrators of more conventional novels, the central character relates his lively adventures by starting each sentence with "you" rather than "I" and remains anonymous throughout the novel. Mclnerney once admitted that he was uncertain of whether he could effectively maintain the technique throughout such a long tale. The novel had, in fact, started as a short story, which eventually became the novel's first chapter, and had then spontaneously grown. When questioned about the motive behind his use of second-person narration, Mclnerney responded that he was seriously trying to capture the "intimate you in each one of us." Indeed, it appears that his efforts have been successful, and his audiences continue to be treated to a unique reading experience largely because of this narrative innovation.

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This section contains 144 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Bright Lights, Big City Study Guide
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