Gore Vidal Writing Styles in Lincoln

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Point of View

Gore Vidal tells his fictional story of Abraham Lincoln in the third person, past tense without any intermediary narrator. Rarely, however, does he lay out facts anonymously, even about something as trivial as the weather or scenery. Instead, he bounces from character to character to borrow their point of view. Smooth segues facilitate multiple perspectives. Young, inexperienced Presidential secretary John Hay is a particular favorite for describing events in the Cabinet room and the living quarters of the White House. He calls Mrs. Lincoln "Hellcat" and the President "The Ancient." Throughout the novel, Hay becomes more perceptive about Lincoln's complex personality, which helps deepen the reader's understanding as well.

Vidal also favors a rebel sympathizer, David Herold, who is Hay's age and, coincidentally, favors the same whore at Sal Austin's. Hay wants to be an actor but is too homely and would like to be a...

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This section contains 1,292 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Lincoln Study Guide
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