Who Has The Best Point-of-View?

How many are there?!

Every author has their own style of writing. This style can seriously affect a novel’s overall tone depending on how successful or unsuccessful the author’s style is towards the target audience. One factor which contributes to an author’s style of writing would be the point of view of the novel. There are standard points of views which we are all subjected to memorizing in high school and sometimes earlier grades, yet there are different variations of these traditions views which can emerge in more complex pieces of text.

The three most common point of views (that we study in school) include:

a)First Person

b)Second Person

c)Third Person (limited, subjective multiple view points, or omniscient)

Point of View can change everything......

Point of View can change everything……

Connection Time!

If you’ve been following my blog you should know that I’m currently reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. If anyone has previously read this novel, you will have surely noticed that the novel is in the third person with subjective multiple view points. Big words, I know. This basically means that the author changes the point of view (between characters in this case) in some repetitive or formal pattern through out the novel. This can be a risking move on the author’s side depending on how well he/she is able to integrate the switch into the novel while creating a sense of suspense but not completely interfering with the plot of the novel it’s self.  I personally believe that Khaled Hosseini does an excellent job with this point of view in this novel. The switch between the perspectives isn’t distracting to the actual story, and it is spread throughout the novel in an even way which does not make it confusing for the reader at all. Hosseini changes the point of view between two main characters Mariam and Laila when ever one part of the novel ends (ex: part 1, part 2, part 3). Additional to the fact that these changes does not negatively affect the plot, it still manages to create a sense of suspense and tension within the novel that keeps the reader wanting to continue reading to find out how and if the two will end up running into each other. Since the two point of views are telling the story at the same time, there are times where the reader wants to see what the thoughts of the other character are, but are limited to the thoughts and actions of only one.

The two points of views in this novel are shared between the characters Mariam and Laila. Part 1 of the novel is from Mariam’s point of view, part 2 from Laila’s, and part 3 goes back and forth between the two. There are times in the novel when the two characters cross each other yet the novel does not change perspectives.

For example:

a) (Part 2, page 100) Laila’s father, Babi, is taking her to school when she notices Rasheed’s, Mariam’s husband’s, blue Benz, and even refers to Mariam as “his reclusive wife”.

b) (Part 2, page 125) During Ahmad and Noor’s funeral, Laila notices Mariam. “Rasheed’s wife, Mariam, came in. She was wearing a black hijab. Strands of her hair strayed from it onto her brow. She took a seat along the wall across from Laila”.

Although we can not read the thoughts that Mariam is having during these events and points in the story, this all adds to the suspension in the novel of wanting to know how the two are connected and when the perspective is going to switch again.

I found this quite hilarious and relative.

I found this quite hilarious and relative.

As Promised…

Here are the rest of the translations up until chapter 22:

Chup Ko Shut up

89

Hamwatans Expression: Brothers

92

Sofrah table cloth except put on the floor to eat on

93

Ghazals a form of Hindu poetry that fits well with classical music

99

Inqilabi Revolutionary

101

Moalim teacher

102

Sahib boss

102

Awal first

103

Numra number

103

Badmash naughty

105

Aroos Bride

115

Shokr e Khoda Expression: Praying to God for your good fortune

115

Shorwa Type of food

116

Mozahem Expression: I don’t want to be intruding/imposing/getting in the way

116

Panjpar Type of card game in the middle east. Panj means 5.

117

Giryanok Cry baby

118

Aush Type of food

120

Pakol Type of wool hat for men

123

Fatiha Type of wake

124

Shaheed dead

128

Pajalusta Means ‘you are welcome’ in Russian. Tariq was probably saying this sarcastically to the soviet’s driving by.

131

Badar Brother

132

Kaka Jan Respectful way of addressing someone (male) who is older than you but very close to you and your family, almost like an uncle.

135

What Language Is This?!

As a summative task in my ENG4U class, we were assigned different books and groups and have been reading them for close to a month now. The book that I am reading is called A Thousand Splendid Suns. This title might seen familiar because it is by the same author as the very famous The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini.

Click here for a short summary of the novel

Click here for a short summary of the novel

If anyone has even picked up a copy of this book, you would right off the bat realize that a lot of the words are in Pashto, and there are no footnotes or glossaries to explain what the words mean. Being from Iran, Pashto and Farsi are two close enough languages that I am able to understand what all of the words me, further on in this post, I will write out all of the words up until where I have read and translate them into English. I’ll continue to do this if I find any new words as a read further into the novel.

Before I get into translating the words, I just want to explain a bit what kind of an effect the use of Pashto words has on the novel and on the readers. By using Pashto, it gives the novel certain advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages would be that anyone who did not have a basic understanding of Farsi, Pashto, or even Arabic, would find it a bit irritating. I’ve talked to some of my peers and teachers about this book and after their questions of asking whether or not there is anywhere that the author explains the words, they all assume that the words in Pashto are probably not that important and that you would be able to get the gist of the sentence either way. I would have to disagree with this. For some reason, the majority of the words which are written in Pashto seem to be the most important words and, if you weren’t able to understand them, would cause the reader to loose the complete feel of the text. One of my teachers suggested that this was done in an attempt by the author to try and keep the novel’s audience individuals from that region; however, I don’t see why that would be the case because the author, and his novels are globally known.

Click here for a short biography of Khaled Hosseini, the author of A Thousand Splendid Suns

Click here for a short biography of Khaled Hosseini, the author of A Thousand Splendid Suns

There are two big advantages that would come with having certain words written in Pashto. The more minor one would be that, as anyone who speaks a second language would know, it can be very difficult, and frustrating, at times to try and translate certain words and/or expressions between two languages where the expression/word doesn’t actually have an exact translation. For example, the word Sabzi is a type of plant/herb/vegetable (see, even I can’t describe it) that is eaten/put into different dishes in the the Iran/Afghanistan region but there is no exact translation for it in English. Because of this, it would be easier for Hosseini to leave some of the words in Pashto because it would be easier than having to change certain sentences around completely in order for them to make sense just because of one word. The major advantage which I found with having certain words in Pashto is that, it shows how authentic this story is and how much of a reality it is for people (mainly women) living in that region and how much they have to struggle in their daily lives.

Here is a list of only some of the Pashto words translated into English

Pashto

English

Page #

Noor Light

Dedication

Harami Bastard Child

3

Kolba  Hut

3

Jinn Demon

3

Dil Gut

6

Didi Expression: You see?

6

Kinchini whore

8

Shahnai Indian Oboe

9

Dohol Type of drum played in the Middle East

9

Jo Dear

11

Shalqam Type of Stew

15

Sabzi plant/vegetable/herb that can be eaten

15

Arbab Leader

15

Kichiri Rice

15

Dishlemeh Type of sweet

15

Akhund A Muslim Cleric

15

Namaz Prayer

15

Alef Letter of the alphabet : A

15

Beh Letter of the Alphabet: B

15

Seh Letter of the Alphabet: C

15

Mashallah Expression: oh my god

21

Aneh yes

25

Nay no

25

Gari Kind of carriage

29

Dokhtar Girl

30

Bia Come

32

Fahmidi Expression: Do you understand?

41

Surrah  

40

Ayat Miracle

40

Khastegar Expression (there isn’t really a word for it in English): Someone who asks a woman for her hand in marriage

43

Moochi Shoe Repairman

43

Nikka Swearing ceremony of a wedding

45

Agha Respectful way of saying man

48

Meem Letter of the alphabet :M

49

Reh Letter of the alphabet :R

49

Ya Letter of the alphabet :Y

49

Tabreek Congratulations

49

Tashakor Expression: Thank you

55

Salaam Hello

60

Daal Kind of food

62

Aftawa  

62

Logari Kind of music

65

Hamshira Sister

66

Chapans Traditional coat for men

67

Poostin Type of coat

67

Qurma kind of food

71

There are probably 100 more words, so I will continue to post the rest in my other blog posts.