Yvonne Vera Writing Styles in Butterfly Burning

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Point of View

With the exception of the penultimate chapter, which is told in the first-person perspective of the novel’s protagonist, Phephelaphi, the novel is mostly told in the third-person past tense. This third-person perspective is varied yet limited to the novel’s main characters. Mostly the narrator inhabits either the perspective of Phephelaphi or of Fumbatha, showing each characters’ dreams, hopes, and aspirations. The decision to give the reader both Fumbatha and Phephelaphi’s perspectives is crucial as it shows how both characters internalize and respond to their environment, in different ways. Both Phephelaphi and Fumbatha are impacted by their environments. However, whereas Fumbatha has learned to accept a humble lot in life, Phephelaphi is determined to pursue a more meaningful life for herself.

The switch to the first person in the novel’s Chapter 20 is the first occasion that the novel truly invites the reader...

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This section contains 999 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Butterfly Burning Study Guide
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