Writing Techniques in Cakes and Ale: Or the Skeleton in the Cupboard

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The novel falls into a number of time frames. As Willie Ashenden is urged by Kear and Mrs. Driffield to recall incidents relating to Edward Driffield for Kear's "sanitized" biography, the narrator remembers events from various periods when he associated with Rosie and, sometimes, her husband. They are not presented in temporal sequence; however, Maugham introduces each one in such a way that the time posting is clear.

For instance, Willie's early recollections of meeting the Driffields in Blackstable do not appear until Chapter V, some fifty pages into the text. And, the last chapter relates Ashenden's final meeting with Rosie (long after everyone in England believes that she is dead) in New York; this meeting takes place before the events of the preceding several chapters.

As usual, the first person point of view serves Maugham well, partly because, aside from the realistic arrangement of recollections, it provides...

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This section contains 292 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Cakes and Ale: Or the Skeleton in the Cupboard Study Guide
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