Diane Setterfield Writing Styles in Once Upon a River

Diane Setterfield
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Point of View

The point of view of the novel is mostly in third-person omniscient. The narrator knows the thoughts, feelings, and pasts of many of the main characters and switches perspectives often, sometimes from chapter to chapter, and sometimes within a chapter. The main characters include the adults in the novel, not the children. The perspective of the girl, Alice, and Robin are not available to the narrator. This focalization of adults highlights a focus of the novel: the tribulations regarding creating and maintaining a family.

The narrator frequently uses free-indirect discourse to add intrigue and mystery. Free-indirect discourse allows the narrator to voice the characters’ questions without revealing information: “Suppose he had rowed all the way after the accident…With those injuries? No!” (33). This is juxtaposed with italics that relay the explicit thoughts of the characters: “If she doesn’t belong to this man. If nobody...

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This section contains 1,404 words
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