Study Guide

Rats Saw God Literary Qualities

Rob Thomas
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The most striking element about Rats Saw God is its unusual structure: the bookwithin-the-book approach. Rather than telling the story in straight chronological order, Thomas has decided to cut back and forth between the present and the past. In some ways, the book is constructed like a mystery novel. The "crime" is what happened to Steve in Houston. The flashbacks are the clues. In writing about Rats Saw God, Richard Peck argued that a "straight narrative line would have diminished cause and effect, actions and their consequences."

Moreover, this structure sets up a series of contrasts between Steve's life in California and his life in Houston. Each life has the same elements: a parent, a girlfriend, a school setting, a supportive faculty member, a set of friends, but Steve is not the same person. Finally, the structure which gives so much weight to Steve's diary entries allow Thomas's...

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This section contains 645 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Rats Saw God Study Guide
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