Is there a link between a distant narration (as in the narrator not conveying his/her thoughts and feeling on an action or subject, as tragic as it may be) and offering criticism? In other words,...

Is there a link between a distant narration (as in the narrator not conveying his/her thoughts and feeling on an action or subject, as tragic as it may be) and offering criticism? In other words, is the narrator being cold and distant towards the characters and their miserable lot a manner to offer critique on society?

I am analysing the book "Yellow Street" by Veza Canetti, and I'm finding the narrator being kind of cold hearted, when for example, a woman is being raped by her husband or when he beats their child. 

Thank you in advance

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One reviewer writes of Veza Canetti's Yellow Street that it

captures the despair, poverty, enforced idleness, and crumbling moral values of those years just before the political catastrophes that led to World War II. 

It would seem, therefore, that Canetti writes in the style of Realism, and, perhaps, even Naturalism. These movements are objective in narration without bias. Instead, the author writes in a reportorial passive voice so that the reader may form his or her own interpretations as well as sense the real implications of the culture represented in the narrative.

In his essay "Man as Natural Mechanism," Theodore Dreiser, a Naturalist, writes,

Of one's ideals, struggles, deprivations, sorrows and joys, it could only be said that they were chemic compulsions, something which for some inexplicable but unimportant reason responded to and resulted from the hope of pleasure and the fear of pain. Man was a mechanism...and a badly and carelessly driven one at that.

It would seem that Canetti writes with an objective observation, yet her work exhibits in it some doubt about human objectives since she employs irony and "sardonic humor." Also, the ways in which some personages are characterized is in conformity to the class struggle that Canetti, who was raised in Marxist Communism, perceives. So, perhaps, the scene involving the abusive husband is meant to express this class struggle and the ills resulting from it. 

Sources:

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