James Kelman Writing Styles in How Late It Was, How Late

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Points of View

The novel is written in the third person but follows Sammy's own experiences, encounters and thoughts throughout, so that the impression is almost that it is written in the first person. There is no independent description by the author of either settings or characters, and the only direct impressions we gain are when other characters are actually speaking.

This style is effective in providing the reader with a very close understanding of the central character and his lifestyle, and particularly his state of mind. Sammy's thoughts are conveyed to the reader exactly as they are formed in his mind, and in the language that he speaks. The effect is to promote a sense of empathy with Sammy, despite his faults and his bad ways.

The focus on Sammy's own perceptions and experiences has an additional function for the author. It enables him to leave a number...

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This section contains 770 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the How Late It Was, How Late Study Guide
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