David Nicholls (writer) Writing Styles in One Day

David Nicholls (writer)
This Study Guide consists of approximately 20 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of One Day.
This section contains 496 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)

Point of View

David Nicholls tells his novel "One Day" from the third-person and omniscient narrative. In order to accommodate the great distances and swift passage of time between Emma, Dexter, their maturation, and their encounters and the events of their lives, the third-person and omniscient narrative is engaged to provide a sense of stability. Over time, people change, their language change, and their thoughts and ideas can change. In the case of two dynamic characters like Emma and Dexter, the changes can be profound, and so to avoid confusing the reader with language that varies greatly in a first-person narrative, Nicholls uses a consistent, third-person and omniscient perspective.


While much of the plot of David Nicholl's novel "One Day" takes place around the world in far-flung places like Rome, India, and Paris, much of the novel occurs in England. In both ways, the settings work well to enhance the plot of the novel. The distance between Emma and Dexter romantically, can be metaphorically viewed as the physical distance between them: one is India, the other in England, one is in Paris, the other in England, and so on. Just as they cannot seem to connect emotionally for long, so too can they not stay in the same place for long. When they finally do connect in Paris, both of them head home and remain there. Such a joining can be viewed metaphorically as the closure of the emotional distance between them.

Language and Meaning

David Nicholls tells his novel "One Day" in language that is intelligent, poetic, and flowing. This is done because both Emma and Dexter are college-educated people who both have hints of idealism about them, be it about their own future or themselves. Youth is predominantly known for dreaming, and there is no shortage of dreams between Emma and Dexter. Dreaming and romance can be poetic things, and David Nicholls makes sure work of composing his prose with poetic touches. This serves to reinforce the tragedy of the plot, and to draw the reader further into the romance of Dexter and Emma, but relegating the reader to being a third-person observer.


David Nicholls structures his novel "One Day" into twenty-three chapters, organized into five general parts (with each part being a specific time period in the lives of Dexter and Emma), with the chapters of the first four parts being chronological. Each chapter in each of the parts details the events of each July 15, from 1988 through 2007. The final part of the book is a collection of chapters that alternate between July 15, 1988, and 2005, 2006, and 2007. Indeed, the fifth part of the novel, with references to the past, helps in a tragic way to compensate for the sudden death of Emma in the fourth part of the novel. The reader learns through these sad passages just how it was that Emma and Dexter began to talk regularly in the first place and that occurred with Dexter giving Emma his number to call.

This section contains 496 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
One Day from BookRags. (c)2017 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.
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