Peter Matthiessen Writing Styles in Shadow Country

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Point of View

Book I in Shadow Country is told by 12 first-person narrators, many of whom narrate more than one section. The collection of first-person narratives results in a community folklore style, creating a mythic quality around the primary subject, Edgar Watson. The narrators include: Erskine Thompson, Richard Harden, Henry Short, Bill House, Carrie Watson, Sheriff Tippins, Owen Harden, Sarah Harden, Mamie Smallwood, Tant Jenkins, Hoad Storter, and Nell Dyer. Notably, Edgar Watson is absent from the list of first-person narrators. By omitting Watson's first-person perspective in Book I, the author forces the reader to construct a character's identity all through hearsay. This omission makes Watson a dynamic and contradictory character, and mimics the way in which his neighbors learned about him: through word of mouth, rumor, and tall-tales.

Book II features a third-person narrator limited to Lucius Watson’s consciousness. The reader is never brought outside Lucius...

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This section contains 841 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Shadow Country Study Guide
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