The Incendiaries Themes & Motifs

R. O. Kwon
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Unreliable Narrator

The central motif of the novel is its use of the literary technique of the unreliable narrator, Will Kendall: the author uses Will’s admissions of his own unreliability, ironically, as a way of bolstering his reliability. Throughout the novel, Will is it at pains in his narration to remind the reader that he is not certain about the specifics of some of the events he is recounting, often highlighting gaps in his knowledge and questioning the accuracy of his own memory: “But I’m wondering if that can be right, if I met Julian in his lilac bishop’s garb when I also first heard about John Leal, or if I’ve combined multiple Colonial visits” (16); “I’ll emphasize this lack of alcohol because, teetotal as I soon felt, I should be able to retrieve more of what followed. Instead, for the most part...

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This section contains 2,794 words
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Buy The Incendiaries Study Guide
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