The narrative technique of Plumb : an essay presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in English at Massey University

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Prior to the publication of Plumb in 1978, Maurice Gee had published four novels and some short stories which had been collected and published under the title A Glorious Morning, Comrade (Auckland University/Oxford, 1976). The novels show Gee experimenting with various techniques. In My Father's Den (Faber, 1972) has two significant narrative levels. Paul Prior is involved in the police inquiry into the death of Celia Inverarity. The emotional shock of these events leads him on a search of his past, to discover that the forces which shaped his personality are also responsible for the destruction of Celia. In Games of Choice (Faber, 1976) Gee uses a more straightforward narrative form. Kingsley Pratt, the novel's central character, is driven to brief reminiscences, but the novel is entirely dominated by the action of 1970, as the Pratt marriage breaks up. We are told enough about Kingsley's childhood to give us an idea of his background, but the action of the past never achieves the status of a significant narrative in its own right. When he came to write a novel based upon the life of his grandfather, James Chapple, Gee developed a highly complex narrative form and a very distinctive narrative style. In terms of narrative technique, Plumb is different from anything Gee had tried before, although it makes use of two narratives separated by time, as did In My Father's Den. The narrative structure and style of Plumb are suited to its narrator, a man of education, who is capable of great insight and of great blindness. In the course of this study I will examine the structure and style of Plumb, as well as the nature of Plumb himself, as character, narrator and artist.
Gee, Maurice -- Criticism and interpretation, Gee, Maurice. Plumb, Gee, Maurice. Meg