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The Connection Between Audience And Author

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Category: English

Autor: anton 08 December 2010

Words: 1267 | Pages: 6

In the world of literature, various authors often utilize an assortment of unique writing tools to develop a strong relationship between him/herself and the reader. This relationship between author and audience is the most important that an author must consider when writing his/her literature. Especially true in detective fiction, authors are frequently searching for matchless ways to keep their audience involved and searching for the next piece of evidence. This is particularly the case when dealing with the two stories My Brother Jack, by Garry Disher, and A Mystery of the Sand-Hill, by R. Austin Freeman. In many ways these two stories are very similar; the use of a side-kick, by way the detective investigates and puts evidence together, or how there is one central problem that everyone is commonly working towards are just to name a few. However, these two stories are not so comparable at all. And although the two stories differ in general ways, the main, less obvious, yet, more defining difference is the author’s use of his audience in context.

If too personal, the addressees may get the wrong idea about a particular author. If too general, the story will make no sense and be too hard to follow along with. If too complicated, only the most attentive readers will even attempt to deal with the story. If too easy, the reader will not feel challenged, thus, killing the spirit of the classic mystery novel. Both authors, Disher and Freeman, are masters at keeping their stories just gripping enough to keep the reader wanting more. However, they both have different ways of doing so.

R. Austin Freeman, author of A Mystery of the Sand-Hills, goes with the simpler and more traditional approach to detective fiction. The Sand-Hills story describes the main detective in the second person – his sidekick, or friend, being the narrator. Freeman takes his audience through the story clue by clue as the detective uncovers them; much like the traditional detective story would. In doing this, the reader does not have to do any actual detective work him/herself as everything is put on the table for them as it is found in text. Freeman’s short story may be thought of as a poorer detective film in which the viewer does not have to make any conclusions on their own. Much like the movie Along Came a Spider, based on the best selling novel by James Patterson, the audience while reading Sand-Hills is shown every clue in a chronological order, consequently, no twist evolves in the story.

On the other hand, Garry Disher, author of My Brother Jack, conveys his story in a completely different sense. My Brother Jack is written in the first person, unlike most of the detective stories that one might come across. Although this seems like no big deal to some, it actually has a very important place in the story. Because the whole story is written in the first person, Disher can hint different things about his main character easier and more effectively – like the fact that the (unnamed) narrator is schizophrenic. While Disher does not come right out with the idea, he implies it throughout the story so that his audience can make the judgment for themselves – much like the award winning movie Fight Club. Disher does this throughout My Brother Jack as he uses his audience to make decisions for themselves. In doing this, the author keeps the reader more wrapped up in the story and keeps his readers guessing throughout. Although Disher incorporates every aspect of the “normal” detective story, even including the love interest, he does it in his own, unique way that keeps his audience more applied to what they are reading.

Once analyzing both of the two stories, it is obvious that the methods used by the differing authors are both unique and effective. Although one is definitely more creative than the other, the question then arises, which method is superior? It may be difficult for one to see how the two differed in using their audiences, however, how can one decide which is the better method? How can one say that one method is better than the next without looking into the matter? How can one defend his or her argument for each? These are all questions that one must ask when looking at the two different methods.

As previously stated, it is evident that one method is more unique; however, does unique mean more effective? Some may argue yes, others may argue no. In looking at the Sand-Hills story a less attentive reader might find this story to be very interesting and difficult to follow. However, it is not. Stories like Sand Hills are far too straightforward for an English professor to read. It is much like Freeman viewed his audience as below average readers. Granted Freeman gets his story down and published, however is it really something that a graduate student at UCLA couldn’t have written himself? Freeman does not establish authority in the story, which might be a problem for many works of detective literature written in this manner. Because the second person is being told by the constantly uncertain sidekick, there is no way authority can be established by Freeman in this story. Another low point from writing in this manner is the fact that characters are constantly communicating with one another, rather than to the audience. In doing this, the author bores the reader more and more as they are just trying to read between the lines, not doing anything thinking for themselves.

Garry Disher’s My Brother Jack, however, is a work of art in the detective fiction realm. By writing in the first person, and constantly keeping the reader guessing who this main character actually is, the audience is completely wrapped up into the story by the end of the second paragraph. Because the assiduous reader can make educated decisions, like the main character and narrator being schizo, he/she is constantly wrapped up in the writing. Knowing that the narrator, Jack, and Wyatt are one in the same, it seems that the author/narrator is constantly talking to its audience. In doing this, the author has established complete authority, and demands the attention of his audience for the rest of the story. With this authority, Disher spins the story to craft the audience as the real detective. While acting as detective, the audience is glued to their seats as they do not want to skip a word for the remainder of the text.

As one can certainly see, the old fashion approach to detective fiction, which is narrated by the detective’s sidekick, is in no way, shape, or form as compelling as one written by mastermind Garry Disher. Again, much like the movie Fight Club, Disher keeps his audience entertained from start to finish, utilizing his authority over the reader; while at the same time, keeping the story up for interpretation. Because the audience is more utilized in Disher’s form of writing, one can conclude that it is a much more effective way to detective fiction. Using the audience as the main detective, while supplying them with hidden clues throughout the text, keeps the addressees attached to the reading. Much like any good movie, a twist must occur, however in “new age” detective literature, the reader must find this twist for themselves.

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