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Please give me suggestions on how to improve this epistolary narrative based on The...

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rainbow224 | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted May 28, 2013 at 11:17 AM via web

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Please give me suggestions on how to improve this epistolary narrative based on The Lady of Shalott by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Part 1: 

14 May 1453

Dear father,

After regaining my memory, I have decided to write a letter to you.  Like a bird, I have been imprisoned in this tower, suffocated and tormented from my endless thoughts that run by day and night. A seemingly slow torture, I have endured it all those years, waiting. I am praying that you show mercy towards your own daughter as I have not committed any sins other than being a daughter of a sinner. In hope for you to realize that I was not the sinner myself, I waited patiently.

As the bright, blinding sun leisurely rises above the horizon, casting welcome shadows upon the earth, a light fog hovers gently just above the foliage as the sunlight penetrates its almost transparent existence. We all began the day with our normal routines and as I was young I had gleefully played along with other children my age, enjoying freedom as the day went by. Only little chores and simple tasks were required and so I was always willingly to do them. I could not have imagined our family nor our lives to be happier than what it was. 

 

 

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:20 PM (Answer #1)

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If this epistolary narrative is confined to Part 1, note the differences between the outside world and the Lady's prison inside. The outside world is described in vibrant terms: "fields of barley and rye" that clothe the fields; the people have the freedom to come and go as they please; the wind and river flow freely and lead to Camelot, an idyllic place. The Lady's prison is gray and still; a contrast to the flowing images of life outside. 

In the above narrative, the Lady recalls the freedom of her childhood. In the last part of Part 1 in the poem, the speaker notes that passersby only hear the Lady's song; they don't see her.

Only reapers, reaping early

In among the bearded-barley,

Hear a song that echoes cheerly

From a river winding clearly,

So, in the narrative, following the Lady's memories of childhood, she could mention how, now, only her song has the freedom to escape her prison and be part of the natural and social world outside. 

In Parts 2-4, it is revealed that the Lady can only look at Camelot indirectly, through a mirror. She weaves these images but eventually becomes tired of perceiving the world in this indirect, removed way. When Lancelot approaches, she can't resist taking a look and the curse is brought upon her. She decides to sail to Camelot and dies on the way. If the epistolary narrative continues with reference to Parts 2-4, the Lady should emphasize her frustration of being removed from the world. The Lady could also include a posthumous narrative (Part 4) describing her body floating to Camelot while she, a spirit, watches, once again removed from mortal life. 

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