Alexander McCall Smith

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In "No Place to Park" by Alexander McCall Smith, the narrator shows us what the caharcters are thinking or feeling by using dialogue and reported thoughts. Whose thoughts and feelings are reported directly in the narration? Whose thoughts and feelings are reported through dialogue? Why?

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The only character whose thoughts are reported directly by the narrator is George Harris. The story is mostly told from his point of view. In fact, he is one of the very few characters who is even given a name. Because the narrator only lays out Georges thoughts, the reader...

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The only character whose thoughts are reported directly by the narrator is George Harris. The story is mostly told from his point of view. In fact, he is one of the very few characters who is even given a name. Because the narrator only lays out Georges thoughts, the reader naturally identifies more closely with him than with any of the other characters. The narrator describes George'sfrustration with the writing process, his feelings and anxieties about surfing, and his professional aspirations. George does not necessarily express these feelings out loud or through actions. Therefore, the narrator serves as a crucial intermediary between George's character and the reader.

That being said, the narrator does directly report a little bit on the thoughts of the audience at the writers's festival. We are told about their strong stomach for gore and their love of the macabre. We are told that

They were a group bound together by a fascination with the gory details of behaviours in which they themselves would never engage. These people would never commit murder, not in their wildest dreams. Nor would they mix with people who did such things, no matter how fascinating they might find their company on the page. But they loved to read about murder, about the sudden, violent termination of human life, and of how it was done.

This serves to set the scene and give the reader some insight into what makes people interested in murder stories. However, very little other attention is given to them once the main action of the story gets going.

We know what the other characters are thinking and feeling based on their words and actions. The book critic is clearly frustrated with the crime writers's fascination with murder and gore based on his words at the festival. We also learn some of the thoughts and feelings of the traffic cop, but only through his actions and dialogue. This police officer clearly does not have sympathy for farmers the way that George does.

"They forget that they’re in a city," joked the officer he was with. "They think they’re still out in the bush and can park anywhere! We sort them out for sure!"

The narrator lets the reader in a little further by remarking that "George noted the vindictive edge to his remark." The author only lets us observe the parking officer from the outside. We clearly are not meant to identify with him as much as we do with George.

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