William Kennedy Writing Styles in Ironweed

William Kennedy
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Point of View

The story is told through the omniscient eyes of an unacknowledged third person narrator. This narrator disguises himself most often as Francis, but flits briefly into the minds of the other characters, and there is even one notable chapter told entirely from Helen's point of view. Despite the fact that Ironweed is Francis' story, told mainly from his point of view, the author found it necessary to relate events through an omniscient third person. The need for this omniscient narrator stems from Francis' lack of insight into himself, and general unreliability as a narrator. Francis has repressed most of his past memories, both the pleasant and the painful, and by telling the story largely through his eyes, the author achieves his goal of putting the reader into his confused shoes, which helps create empathy for Francis' plight. We get occasional help from the omniscient narrator, who...

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This section contains 1,019 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ironweed Study Guide
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