Writing Techniques in Sailor Song

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Perhaps the cover art for Sailor Song best reveals Kesey's techniques in this novel. It is a red and yellow bull's eye splattered with black ink. There is some sense of a pattern, of the author's attempt to hit the center of the bull's eye, but splatters upon the narrative produce chaos. As a number of reviewers suggest, the novel is "crazily plotted"; they use such adjectives as "funky," "quirky," and "madcap" to describe the story—a story that includes a funeral service for the dog Marley conducted by a fraternal organization called The Loyal Order of the Underdogs, a sea lion trained by giving it bubblegum, a bawdy ditty about Polarpussy, a bare-breasted motorbike rider, and a bloated corpse with a bowling ball dangling from its crotch.

Moreover, Kesey's shifts in point of view can be dizzying. Most of the narrative is related in the third-person omniscient...

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This section contains 278 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Sailor Song Study Guide
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