Wells Tower’s “The Brown Coast”

The “Brown Coast” is the first story that we have read of Wells Tower that is not written in the first person.  I actually really like third person narration because I feel like you get more about the characters and events that are going on.  Opinions are not biased, because the characters are not telling you them themselves. And you are not in only one mind, but you have the potential to be in the mind of many.  Sometimes it is really nice to know what the collective is thinking.

But, there are disadvantages as well, as I have learned so far this semester.  With a first person narrator you can get reflection on back story, things that have already come to pass.  While you can get this with third person narration it is different and does not mean as much.  Hearing the character reflect on something that passed lets the reader also know the emotional state that they are in at the present and how they were at that certain point in time in the past.  But, there are disadvantages and advantages to both, so I guess that you just have to pick and choose what is best for the story that you are trying to tell, and what you are willing to give up depending on the narration that you choose.

My favorite passage, well paragraph really, from this story is actually the ending one, on page 27:

“Claire and Derrick returned the smile and wagged their hands.  And Bob Munroe was smiling, too, even as he dropped back his arm and, with a loose-limbed underhand stroke, lofted the slug into the blue-gold morning air.  It was a good, soaring toss and it might have dropped the creature into the pretty young woman’s lap had not a surge of warm wind rolled off the land and pushed the sailboat from the shore.”

I like this paragraph so much because, for one thing it is beautifully written, and it just captures the moment so well.  The lines flow really nicely together, and have a rhythmic quality that I believe is not captured as much in this story as it could be.  I think that it is a really nice ending to the story.

I wonder how the story would have changed had Tower decided to write it in first person; what would have been lost as well as what would have been gained.

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