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Discourse presentation and point of view in "Cheating at Canasta" by William Trevor

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Publication date2019
Host publicationStyle, Rhetoric and Creativity in Language: In memory of Walter (Bill) Nash (1926-2015)
EditorsPaul Simpson
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins
Number of pages11
ISBN (electronic)9789027261953
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameLinguistic Approaches to Literature
PublisherJohn Benjamins
ISSN (Print)1569-3112


This chapter examines the closing section of William Trevor's short story, "Cheating at Canasta" (2007). Focussing on shifts in narrative viewpoint in the passage, the chapter teases out the complex transitions in viewpoint features, showing how Mallory, the story's focaliser, engages in changing perceptions of, and reactions to, his immediate environment. Viewpoint transitions at the level of narrative style, it is argued, engender parallel shifts in the character's changing cognitive purview, including memory, response and flashback as well as his internal assumptions and hypotheses. The author shows how a subtle understanding of the passage (and indeed the story as a whole) can enable an appreciation of the quality of the writing, concluding that stylistic analyses help to show not just how we understand literary texts but also why and how we appreciate them.