Susan Sontag Writing Styles in The Way We Live Now

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The story's point of view is the most striking stylistic element of Sontag's story. It is told in the third person, through the voices of a large group of friends as they share information about a friend who has AIDS. No one character's perspective dominates the narration and the large number of characters creates a kaleidoscope effect. Within a single sentence, the perspective often shifts several times. The characters frequently disagree with each other and one of them, Quentin, objects to the constant references to the group as "we."

However, the experience forges a collective identity. The many individual voices that make up the group create a constantly shifting point of view, but the collective identity that they share lends the multiple points of view a certain unity. The fact that the friends are speaking to each other is more important than which particular friend is...

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This section contains 569 words
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Short Stories for Students
The Way We Live Now from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.