Madeleine L'Engle Writing Styles in The Moment of Tenderness

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Point of View

Six of L’Engle’s eighteen stories are narrated from a first-person perspective; the rest are narrated by a third-person limited narrator, focalized through the story’s protagonist. In the stories narrated from a first-person perspective—“A Room in Baltimore,” “The Foreign Agent,” “The Foreigners,” “The fact of the Matter,” “Poor Little Saturday,” and “That Which Is Left”—an effect of immediacy is created which runs throughout the narrative. For example, “The Foreign Agent” begins with the line, “Well, in the first place he didn’t ask me the same silly questions everybody else does” (154). Immediately, readers ask: who is “he”? What kinds of questions did he ask, if not silly ones? What constitutes a “silly” question in this context? Readers enter the moment without understanding, heightening their attention and piquing their curiosity. In this way, L’Engle manages to make her stories not only...

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This section contains 1,717 words
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Buy The Moment of Tenderness Study Guide
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