John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir Writing Styles in The Thirty-Nine Steps

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Point of View

The narrative is unfolded in first-person, coming directly from the protagonist Richard Hannay himself. Though Hannay is, on the surface, calm under pressure and largely undaunted by his circumstances, this first-person approach provides the reader access to Hannay's interiority. As a contrast to his hard exterior, inwardly Hannay reveals doubts, fears, pain, and thought processes that would be difficult or impossible to present otherwise. In this way, Hannay has a rich inner life that separates him from some later spy heroes, such as James Bond.

The first-person perspective also lends a sense of immediacy to the proceedings. Instead of, say, operating in a third-person omniscient perspective, where the reader might be privy to the villains' scheming or the thoughts of Sir Walter Bullivant, we are solely and strongly allied to Hannay, seeing the world through his eyes. Because we only know what he knows, there is...

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This section contains 876 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Thirty-Nine Steps Study Guide
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