Point of View
The novel's point of view appears simple but in fact is quite complex. The narrator proper is Jean Baptiste Charbonneau but after introducing the novel in the first-person, limited, point of view, he transitions to an alternating sequence of narratives-within-the-narrative. These interleaved chapters are narrated in the voices of Sacajawea and William Clark. While both these individuals were closely associated with Jean Baptiste, they also were deceased by the time he wrote the novel. Thus it can be seen that the presentation of their narratives in the novel is a meta-fictional device that yields an intimate familiarity to the events at the cost of some awkwardness of construction. The novel asserts that events may only be described by eyewitnesses to those events—but this is in fact not the methodology adopted by the novel where events are described in the words of eyewitnesses but not by...