A novel should leave the audience (regardless of age) feeling enriched as well as providing a sense of reader satisfaction. The sense of enrichment and satisfaction felt will differ between various audiences and will greatly depend on the subject matter and fictional methods used by the author. In The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy includes themes such as childhood, growing up and being a twin. Death, relationships on all levels, love, hate, politics, religion, tradition, culture, abuse, misused authority, the end justifying the means, the caste system and the values of society are also presented. These issues are woven into a story, which does not follow conventional chronological order. The story is about twins Rahel and Esthappen who live in Kerala, India and is set in the 60's through to the present.
It tells of their growth and how their lives are affected by people and events around them with a focus on them being twins. This theme of twins may also be used to convey the idea that humans can almost be two people in one. Generally audiences are curious as to why people do things and the author goes into much detail with the characters, which is to the novels' advantage as great insight into humanity is given. Much of the subject matter found in The God of Small Things is common to many novels and indeed may be included in children's novels. One of these beings Philip Pullman's, Northern Lights. Here we have the story of Lyra, a young girl who sets out on a journey / adventure to the North to save her friend Roger and her father Lord Asriel.
The setting is an alternate world, similar to ours but not quiet the same. The subject matter here includes once again the themes of childhood and growth (this time the growth of Lyra). This alternate world theme is creatively used and can be a clever and responsible tool to encourage discussion of various issues by younger audiences as they are of another world but may still relate to our world. The theme of being a twin may be present in the use of daemons, which every human in the novel has. These daemons are also used to represent the soul and the complexity of humans. This may help younger readers understand that people can be both good and bad and can also experience many emotions at once.
Many of the issues are common to both novels and one of the more obvious ones may be the questioning of authority and especially its misuse - God of Small Things, Page 8 'Inspector Thomas Mathew seemed to know whom he could pick on and whom he couldn't'. In Northern lights Page 374 the misuse of authority by the 'Church' is brought to light - 'But they were cutting... Why did the Church let them do anything like that'. This is presented in a responsible manner as the author does not force it on the audience but only makes them aware. Death is also dealt with and in the adult novels is covered in more depth. In The God of Small Things the audience see death through the eyes of Rahel and the author manages to convey how the child does not fully understand the concept of death - page 5 'She noticed that Sophie Mol was awake for her funeral'.
The reason this works goes back to the insights into human nature provided. In Northern Lights (which is aimed at children in year six and over) death is covered in a more gruesome manner which fits in with the nature of the story. However in some children's novels death is mentioned briefly and kept simple. In Michael Morpurgo's, The Butterfly Lion a children's novel, Bertie relates why he cannot take the lion back to Africa, Page 66 - 'Because my mother died'. This is probably all children need to know and any more may be too much to cope with for the younger audience. The issues presented in the first two novels however do not take over the storylines and it is here in the storylines that they differ.
The God of Small Things has an interesting storyline however it does not include the high level of adventure and excitement found in Northern Lights. This may reflect the different audiences for which the books may be written although Northern Lights has generally appealed to adult audiences too. Similarities and differences may also be drawn from the fictional methods which the authors adopt. Being taken back and forth in time in The God of Small Things challenges the audience as memory is important here and during various later chapters, events and people from earlier chapters need to be remembered. This is also true of The Butterfly Lion. The story begins with Morpurgo, a boy in boarding school and then goes on to tell the story of another young boy Bertie who lived in Africa and jumps from past to present.
This adds to the fantasy aspect of this novel. The use of timeshift in The God of Small Things conveys the idea that life isn't just simple and straightforward and that people are complex and gives a sense that all the characters and events in the novel are somehow linked. The author also uses this to introduce stories relevant to some of the characters other than the twins such as Chapter 13, where the story moves to how Chaco and Margaret Koch amma met. This takes the audience away from the main storyline and creates a multilayered effect where there are other stories going on. Glimpses of what has happened are also given such as Ammu's death - Page 15 'After Ammu died', and the reader is spurred to read on and find out how and why this has happened. Northern Lights is mostly written in ongoing narrative chronology, timeshift is however used briefly in Chapter 3.
This works for the novel as it delays the main story thus creating more suspense but it also gives the audience a little more insight into the relationship between Lyra and Lord Asriel. Timeshift appears to be closely linked to providing a multilayered novel and adds depth to both adult and children's novels. The plots in the first two novels mentioned are genuine and this works for these books as the subject matter cannot otherwise be treated seriously. However in some novels parts of the plot are contrived in order for the story to continue to the end. The novel then relies upon the 'what happens next' factor to see it through. Examples are Man and Boy by Tony Parsons and Border Crossing by Pat Barker (both adult novels).
Events such as Tom leaving his coat with Danny (Page 18, Border Crossing) and Harry leaving his mobile phone at home (Page 54, Man and Boy) are contrived. The events in Man and Boy may leave the more experienced audience feeling let down. In Border Crossing though events that are contrived may reflect the manipulative side of Danny. Contrived plots may be found in children's novels too such as The Butterfly Lion where Bertie's mother dies. This needs to take place for the story to continue and Bertie not to return to Africa. This story contains an element of fantasy and in this instance contriving events works.
Roy uses language to produce a descriptive style using lots of metaphors and similes - Page 1 'Pepper vines snake up electric poles' and 'The old house on the hill wore its steep, gabled roof pulled over its ears like a low hat'. This style gives a real sense of place and can be likened to The Butterfly Lion. Here Morpurgo also uses descriptive writing - Page 10 'A great stone lion bestrode the gateway'. There are a number of illustrations used in this novel and these support the descriptive style adding a sense of time as well as place. The illustrations are not clear and add to the fantasy of the novel and are also a clever tactic to get the young audience to ponder over text already read. In the children's novel Double Act by Jacqueline Wilson, the use of illustrations is also present however these add humour to the novel and are clear.
Arundhati Roy uses another method linked to language and that is running words together such as 'sourmetalsmell' and 'coffin-cartwheeler'. This adds to the originality of the novel and may be paralleled with the use of 'made up' words in Northern lights like an baric (which refers to an energy source). This also adds to the originality of the novel and to its authenticity. Roy uses language to convey various concepts for example the word 'returned' (Page 9), is brilliantly used to describe Esthappen being sent back to his father and also reflects that the twins are at the 'mercy' of the adults around them. Authenticity can also be added to a novel by inclusion of periods which have occurred in real life history. The use of this can be seen in The God of Small Things where reference is made to the Marxist history of Kerala and in The Butterfly Lion where reference is made to the First World War.
This inclusion works in both cases as the novel becomes more believable and may prompt further discussion in both audiences. The God of Small Things is told in the third person, advantageous in that the audience is provided with more than one viewpoint. The same can be said of Northern Lights. The Butterfly Lion is told in the first person and this is beneficial as it is aimed at a younger audience than Northern Lights. The younger audience may generally be more drawn in by a novel where the character / s actually appear to be talking to them.
Another example of this narrative can be seen in Double Act. Here the twins Ruby and Garnet tell their story in the first person. Intertexuality provides the audience with a means of relating to the characters and may also signify a similarity between the text mentioned and the novel in which it is mentioned. In The Butterfly Lion and The God of Small Things various well known texts are referred to - The God of Small Things, Page 59 'Jungle Book' and Butterfly Lion, Page 40 'Peter and the Wolf'. Love of Tokyo, Puff, Dust and Alethiometer are methods of symbolism which Roy and Pullman have used. This is a creative technique which gives the audience a sense of knowing the characters.
The use of this in Pullmans's novel helps the inexperienced audience to understand difficult concepts such as The Tree of Knowledge (Alethiometer). Linking beginnings and endings is a feature of The God of Small Things which begins with a detailed description of the area and nature and ends in a similar fashion. Northern Lights begins with Lyra finding out about the North and ends with her actually in the North. The audience experience a sense of fulfilment (coming full circle) and get closure.
This is important for both the adult and young audience. Roy and Pullman employ various techniques and include relevant issues in the novels discussed above, the story lines are strong and exciting however they are told in an honest manner and this may be what results in their success. The issues do not overshadow the stories but add to their value. This means that both the experienced and inexperienced audience benefit as although there are issues laid before them it is their choice as to whether they question them or just enjoy the gripping stories. The plots in these novels do not leave any loose ends which leaves the audience with a sense of not being cheated and conveys the message that the author does not underestimate the intelligence of the audience. It can be seen from analysis of these novels that young audiences require more sensitivity and responsibility on the part of the author as regards the subject matter and the manner in which this subject matter is relayed to them.
Both adult and young audiences alike however require gripping and exciting storylines to keep the 'what happens next' element going whilst relevance is still maintained and genuine plots that can explain 'why' are included. Authors can therefore not compromise in areas such as subject matter and fictional method and need to be equally creative and genuine when writing for both young and adult audiences. Word Count 2066.