The point of view
The way in which a story is told often relates to the meanings and purposes of the story. As we consider the narrative points of view in Alfred Bester’s “Fondly Fahrenheit” (1954). The choice of point of view in the story contributes greatly to the reader’s experience and understanding of the narrative events and the overall meaning of the story. Readers of science fiction are often prepared to read bizarre and bewildering stories, hence they are constantly looking for clues as to when and with whom the storyline will be based. The plot is founded on a rich playboy, James Vandaleur, and his luxurious robot with a human appearance known as “android”, and the involvement of the two personalities in a murder spree. Vandaleur’s losses his family wealth when his father dies, the android is the only thing he is left with, he manages it to works properly in order to sustain his lavishly livelihood. However, when heat exceeds a certain temperature the android becomes unpredictable, and begins to sing in the foundry where it works and when his human supervisor start to investigate its unnatural character in this new environment the android pours molten metal on him. The android is eventually damaged in a high speed chase. Vandeleur continues with the murders purchasing a less expensive version of the robot. This paper will focus on the importance of narrative point of view and how this choice in Alfred Bester’s “Fondly Fahrenheit” affected the reader’s experience and understanding of the narrative events and the overall meaning of the story.
A point of view is the mode of narration author choses to use to tell his story. The narrator’s voice is usually clear and direct and we often don’t find the need to analyze it. However, at the mention of the point of view of any story three categories immediately come to mind. The most common is the first person: first person point of view will involve the use of either “I” or “We”. Third person entails a limited point of view or omniscient. Alfred Bester’s in his book “Fondly Fahrenheit” makes a bold statement using four different pronouns in one sentence “He doesn’t know which one of us I am these days, but they know one truth. (Bester, 284).All of a sudden, the words became provocative and the point of view becomes completely visible. Furthermore, we aim to understand the significance of the situation or alternate reality. Bester uses pronouns to make us aware of the existence of an alternate reality, and simultaneously providing clues about the reality of that nature. Such indications are essential to our comprehension and satisfaction, although not easily recognized they are always available.
The classification of persona can seem pretty simple and easy but it doesn’t explain all that we need to understand. The First person narrators are often reflective and instantaneous. Omniscient narrators are speculative and tend to tell the stories. On the other hand, internal narrators seem more distance than close. The art of view pointing is based on certain words described by authors as tools of view pointing. Generally, these are simple words that we use unsuspectingly in our verbal speeches. The purpose is to study the role played in the stories in which they appear. From Henry Kuttner’s “Home is the Hunter” “There’s nobody I can talk to except myself. I stand here at the head of the great waterfall of marble steps dropping into the reception hall below, and all my wives in all their jewels are waiting, for this is a Hunter’s Triumph my Triumph, Honest Roger Bellamy, Hunter” (Kuttner, 210). Considering the example above in the first person point of view, Kuttner’s pronouns have some sort of personality and possessiveness, creating an honest character at the implied center.
an A-level paper for you.
Bester’s story doesn’t fit into any particular genre; the story narrates the tragedy from exploitation of an android in the working class society to some extent social satire. It may be considered a science fiction story or horror. The most stimulating fragment is that at the beginning the story is about an android killer but soon after the story shifts into a tale exploring identity issues and psychological problems. The reader experiences difficulty in identifying the point of view of the story teller. This story has at least four points of view.
In Bester’s tale there is a description of the android which is organic with synthetic tissue as compared to a robot which is plain machinery. Notwithstanding the distinction given some aspects and statements reflected Asimov’s robotics laws, depending if the android has some robotic features. (Asimov, 477).In view of artificial intelligence the fundamental inquiry would be based on the mechanism of the mind to feel, love and enjoy life(Kenter,68) .However, the story has more than the tale of a faulty homicidal android. The core of the story is the ability of an android to project its mental illness upon its owner a human being. In fact we find Vandaleur consulting numerous experts about the issue of projection.
The following paragraph entails various points of view: “Vandaleur rushed to Dallas Brady’s workshop, stared once, vomited and fled. I had enough time to pack one bag and raise nine hundred dollars on portable assets. He took a third class cabin on the Megaster Queen which left that morning for Lyra Alpha. He took me with him. He wept and counted his money and I beat the android again.”(Bester, 290). The third person is represented in the first sentence, trying let the reader know about Vandaleur. The second sentence vandaleur tells of what he did being the 1st person point of veiw. The person who reads experiences the story through Vandaleur’s perception. There is third person point of view in the third sentence and in the fourth when the android explains what happened to it using the first person point of view. The final sentence is a mix of two points of view, the first person for both the android and vandaleur.
The narrator constantly shifts from being an onlooker in the course of the action, to being both the android and its owner. The book incorporates both the third person and the first person point of view scattered throughout the parts. Sometimes the author uses “we”; symbolizing both the android and its owner to emphasize the persona. He also uses they and them which suggests that he is neither but just a person observing from a distance and has consciously become independent of both the android and Vandaleur. Bester’s skillfully uses five points of view throughout the story
In summary, it is extremely difficult to tell the point of view of the narrator straight away. Regardless, the story is very well narrated especially when explaining the fact that vandaleur personality has been absorbed into the machines consciousness, or they are both absorbed in each other’s personality. Whatever the case may be, the point of view of the first person keeps changing between the two personalities or involving both personalities. Perhaps, all the credit should go to Bester’s talented writing which ensures that the reader is not as confused as it seems. Any person who reads it is able to follow through the story even when the point of view shifts randomly, sometimes within the same sentence. The plot of the tale has a twist but is entirely exhilarating.
- Bester, Alfred. “Fondly fahrenheit.” Starlight, qv (1954): 45-65.
- Silverberg, Robert, ed. Robert Silverberg’s Worlds of Wonder. Warner Books, 1987.
- Anderson, Susan Leigh. “Asimov’s “three laws of robotics” and machine metaethics.” Ai & Society 22.4 (2008): 477-493.
- Abrahm, Paul M., and Stuart Kenter. “Tik-Tok and the Three Laws of Robotics.” Science Fiction Studies (1978): 67-80.