Posted by RachelE on June 28, 2011
“Narrative theorists often use the oppositional pair overtness and covertness to characterize a narrative voice” (Jahn N1.9). Overt narrators have a distinctive voice in the story, while covert narrators have a largely indistinct voice (Jahn N1.9). In The Lamentable Journey of Omaha Bigelow into the Impenetrable Loisaida Jungle by Edgardo Vega Yunqué, the narrator has a highly distictive voice in the story. When a narrator is covert, the reader doesn’t sense the narrator in the story, but when the narrator is overt, the reader realizes that the story could not be told and the novel wouldn’t be possible without the narrator. The narrator helps and addresses the reader throughout the story, saying things like, “Oh, a little note before going on” (Vega Yunqué 84), or “Oh, now you’re pissed because this is a political novel. Duh! You don’t think I’d go to all this trouble simply to entertain you, do you? Anyway, deal with it” (Vega Yunqué 149). The reader gets the sense that there are some things in the story that wouldn’t be understood without the narrator, or that the narrator adds a transitional element to the story making it flow more smoothly. The narrator makes him- or herself known in the story and clearly addresses the reader as the one telling the story, making the narrator overt.