Point of View in the Novel Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller

  • Added:
    Jan 26, 2013
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In this story Barbara is a first person narrator and she is recounting the scandal with her friend (Sheba) has gotten herself into. The central character wasn`t the woman at the heart of the scandal, but her note-maker and friend who tells the story itself. She takes actions, makes judgments and has her opinions. That`s why she is not always allowing the readers to be able to understand the other character`s thoughts, feelings or understandings. Barbara`s point of view affects a theme. It`s no accident that she calls her diary “Notes on a Scandal”.

Barbara is a lonely woman in her early sixties deluded and obsessed. That`s why the theme of the story is loneliness, obsession and delusion. It`s really a tale of two obsessions, of two women in the grip of their own self-destructive, uncontrollable passions. Barbara`s dark humor and cynicism reveal a suspenseful story of loneliness, of the human yearning for connection. She successfully describes this age of isolation and disconnect, where people live in huge cities, but everyone at one time or another yearns for companionship. That`s why she is not always allowing the readers to be able to understand the other character`s thoughts, feelings or understandings.

Barbara`s point of view is deeply unreliable. However, that is one of the exciting factors in reading this novel. The reader is forced to figure out what actually happened versus Barbara`s narrative of what happened. Barbara`s point of view affects a theme. It is no accident that she calls her diary “Notes on a Scandal”. Barbara is a lonely woman in her early sixties deluded and obsessed. That`s why the theme of the story is loneliness, obsession and delusion.

It`s really a tale of two obsessions, of two women in the grip of their own self-destructive, uncontrollable passions. Barbara`s  dark humor and cynicism reveal a suspenseful story of loneliness, of the human yearning for connection. She successfully describes this age of isolation and disconnect, where people live in huge cities, but everyone at one time or another yearns for companionship

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