A Point about Narrators
For a novelist like me, a narrator is a subject of vital importance. Even though I am not one of those authors that give too much thought to a narrator before I create one, I do think about them in retrospect. Here I am making a point about narrators; especially about a certain kind of narrator. This is not my article on narrators; it is merely a point about narrators.
Narrators, in real life, are normally not bodybuilders simply because the bodybuilder has more art in body building than in narrating. His narratives are often contained in his body language. Of course, there can be exceptions. But exceptions don’t prove the rule. Good tellers of tales are people who have spent time thinking about, or reading, literature, history and philosophy on the one hand and science, logic and ethics on the other. Those who have thought at length about sports or battle-craft are people of another order, with a different kind of mindset. Today, social media is making us conscious of the necessity of remaining healthy and therefore people are involved with the upkeep of a good body. So, some of our narrators are those who have thought a great deal about bodybuilding; but still, by and large, this is not the case. I believe that the best narrator is not a strong man, but someone either physically weak or from a weaker section of the society who doesn’t have the traits of a dominating personality.
Often a child that will grow up, as the novel proceeds, is a great narrator; particularly one who has had to suffer and face difficulties. A woman, I believe, is an even better narrator. Not the wrestler-woman or the over liberated feminist, but one who has remained in the bounds of feminine limits, often distressed by what she has experienced.
Why is a weak character the best narrator, unless the author tells the story himself? The answer to this is not straightforward. It lies in that fact that conflict is at the base of a dramatic or narrative tale. A weak person is often conflicted because he has been dominated by stronger people. The tale of such a narrator shows one wanting to tell about the problems one has been through, and we want to know about them only because we might go through the very same problems unless we are fortunate to escape them. What he has to tell us is naturally more interesting; it takes us into someone’s tension, fear or uncertainty. A person of this category is not one we usually come across every day, and therefore such a person draws our attention more. A physically weak or emotionally insecure character can be a great narrator. An example of such a narrator is Rohit Ranbakshi in my story, “The Rape of Ranbakshi”, in the story collection, Marriages are made in India. Another such narrator is in my second story collection, Intriguing Women, which was published a few months ago. This woman narrator, in “A Visit to My Home”, is in a weak position because though she likes her husband, and he likes her, they are heading for a divorce.