I Heard the Owl Call My Name

by Margaret Craven

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What are the features of Craven's style in I Heard the Owl Call My Name?

The features of Craven’s style in I Heard the Owl Call My Name include nuance, empathy, and symbolism.

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One of the features of Margaret Craven’s style in I Heard the Owl Call My Name is imagery. Craven’s nuanced style infuses her novel with a picturesque, pastoral quality. She calls a small island “lovely as a jade jewel.” She notes “two carved killer whales, topped by a full moon.” Craven’s detailed writing arguably brings to life the beauty and wonder of Mark Brian’s new environment.

Craven’s nuanced writing links to another feature—it's informative. Craven provides extensive information about the characters, their whereabouts, and what they're doing. She notes the speed of the boat, the time of the day, landmarks, the history of the village, and so on. This feature can make some parts of the book feel like a travelogue or a travel guide.

Another style of Craven’s writing is empathy. It’s possible to claim that Craven’s narrative tries to present the challenges and struggles of the villagers in a relatively mindful manner. She touches on themes of race, assimilation, and identity. With Gordon, she explores why someone might want to leave their home. Through Keetah, she illustrates why someone would feel the need to return to their place of origin.

Another feature of Craven’s style is symbolism. Several of the events that occur in the story seem to carry a greater meaning, including the owl that Mark encounters before he dies in a landslide.

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