Narrator and point of view

“Clara’s Day” by Penelope Lively is a third-person narration. The narrator is outside the plot and uses the main character’s point of view to convey the events.

Using Clara’s point of view encourages readers to empathise with her and better understand her motives and actions. For example, Clara’s perspective on the school while she is naked helps us understand her desire to feel free and at peace:

She walked along the corridor to her form-room, which was also quite empty, with thick gold bars of sunlight falling on the desks and a peaceful feeling, as though no one had been here for a long time nor ever would come. (p. 50, ll. 24-27)

Similarly, Clara’s perspective on the people she sees from the bus helps suggest the fact that Clara feels she lives in a sexualised society, which makes it hard for a teenager to ignore: “…everywhere there was flesh – brown backs and white knees and glimpses of the hair under people’s arms and the clefts between breasts and buttocks. In the park, the grass was strewn with sunbathers….” (p. 53, ll.16-19)

Also, her attitude towards Stan helps convey that Clara feels uncomfortable around him because he is the only male figure in her life, and perhaps because she feels strangely attracted to...

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