Denis Johnson Writing Styles in Tree of Smoke

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Point of View

The book is written in third person from a somewhat limited perspective. The point of view varies from one character to the next, depending on where the action is taking place. For example, the reader sees events from Skip's perspective when he is in Damulog where the priest is killed. Skip doesn't know the identity of the assassin, meaning the reader doesn't yet know. That piece of information is revealed much later.

Some of the characters provide reliable perspectives while others provide skewed perspectives. For example, James is planning to enlist in the Army in 1966. He doesn't want to wait until he's 18 and begs his mother to sign for him. She agrees but it turns out that the Army won't take him, even with his mother's permission. James rants about his mother during this scene and calls her “old,” “worn out,” and “stupid.” He fears...

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This section contains 1,045 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Tree of Smoke Study Guide
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Tree of Smoke from BookRags. (c)2016 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.
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