Writing Techniques in Ironweed

William Kennedy
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Kennedy's manipulation of the narrative chronology is a technique of central importance in Ironweed. On a first reading of the novel, many will be surprised to realize that the actual events take place during only two days: October 31 (Halloween or the eve of All Saints' Day) when supernatural spirits or specters of the dead are said to walk among the living; and November 1 (All Saints' Day) which involves the celebration of departed saints.

(When considering Kennedy's use of the past-present-future theme in this structural context, one should keep in mind that November 2 is All Souls' Day, which involves prayer for the mercy of the souls in Purgatory.) This dichotomy between death and rebirth becomes the basis of the novel's structure, the first three chapters set during October 31 when various spirits such as the scab conductor and a derelict Francis killed to protect his .own life rise from the...

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This section contains 741 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ironweed Study Guide
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