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Jood A. (Time-Shift)

Time-shift is reoccurring in both ‘Paradise of the blind’ and ‘The Art of fiction”. The element of time-shift makes the story more interesting as well as provide the reader with information about the book. The use of time-shift helps the reader make connections while reading the book. Reading a part of the story may be confusing however after a flashback or other element of time-shift is presented, it will allow the reader to better understand and fill in the gaps of the story. The element of time-shift also reveals that there may be a narrator who is telling the story in third-person. Time-shift allows the reader to make connections of causality and irony between parts of the story that occur throughout the entire book. Time-shift can allow the reader to completely change their interpretation of something that they had previously learned while reading. The main character in paradise of the blind, Hang, uses the element of time-shift when narrating the story to express events that occurred both in her childhood and future events as she gets older.

The first chapters of Paradise of the Blind open up with the use of time-shift. The narrator, Hang, begins the first chapter of the book by speaking about her childhood. When Hang is debating whether to visit her Uncle in Moscow or not she gets a flashback to her mother. She remembers something that her mother told her, “To live with dignity, the important thing is never to despair. You give up once, and everything gives away…compassionate”(Huong, 14). Hangs mother has passed away therefore it is known that this is the past and therefore an element of time-shift. She mentions her upbringing and memories that she had shared with her mother. The narrator uses the element of time-shift because she begins by telling her story in present time however uses the elements of time-shift to tell her story in a different time-period.  Hang needed to explain this part of the story because if she did not, the reader would not understand the importance of helping her Uncle.

In chapter three Hang says, “Ten years later, I was born in a brick hut, under a roof patched together of tar, tiles, and rusty sheet metal” (Huong, 40). “Ten years later” displays the use of the time-shift, flash-forward. And during the rest of chapter three Hang continues to tell several memories that she shared with her mother when she was a young child. Following in chapter four she says, “They years went by.”(Huong 66). It is evident that Hang is using time-shift to jump from one time frame to another. The element of time-shift helps her make this change in time noticeable.

The chapter of Time-shift in The Art of Fiction is very exciting to read because of the use of time-shift in it. The novel of “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” does not go in the basic chronological order as most time-shift stories do but instead goes back and forward all throughout the story. The time frequently jumps to present time to when the girls are adults and them jumps back to their high school years. The story does not only take place in the girls’ high school years but also shows glimpses of the girls’ adult life. There is a reoccurring event of the story which is Miss Brodie and Mr. Lloyd kissing in the art room. It is mentioned in the lines said by Monica, “I really did see Teddy Lloyd kiss Miss Brodie in the art room one day” (16, Lodge). The time-shift fills in gaps for us when reading. If the time-shift did not occur the reader would not discover what actually happened and the different perspectives of all the characters of the book.

Time-shift is greatly used in both ‘Paradise of the Blind’ and in ‘The Art of Fiction’. The element is used in both stories to help change the time frame in which the story is told. By using either “Flashback” or “Flash-forward” the narrator is able to change the time-period in which the story is being told.  There is a clear correlation between the two stories. They both display flashbacks or time-shifts that add to the story and give explanations throughout the books. The presence of the time-shifts allows the reader to make connections that they could not make from just one time period. In both stories, the narrator jumps back and forth with one time period to another, there is not only one time period. The story begins in present time and when a certain event is mentioned the story shifts the story back to past time to describe the event in more detail and connect the story together to keep the reader on track.


1 Comment

  1. axsadeem says:

    first I want to say good job on your blogpost its great! also I have always liked books and movies related to time shit and ever sense I started reading Paradise of the Blind I liked the opening chapter with a time shit, so reading your blogpost on analyzing time shit and its meaning and importance to the character and book in general was very interesting. Also, the way you connected two different stories was very smart and great. now I understand why authors use time shit, it allows the reader to make connections that they could not before. Good job !

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