In this paper we look at the question “In what ways are people, their experiences and concerns brought to life through distinctive voices?” There are many characteristics of a distinct voice: tone, mannerism, morality, prejudices, hopes, flaws, abilities, and manner of responding to circumstance and environment, concerns. We look at several of these experiences and concerns of Claudia Valentine.
Marele Day (1947- present) is an Australian author. She wrote the Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender (1988) as a Who-Dun-it crime investigation novel. Her purpose was to write a novel, which was representative of Australia. We get the first glimpse of Australia in the first page: “Clothes were strewn all over the place and through the French doors roared the sights and sounds of Sydney.” The first characteristic of the voice of Claudia Valentine is that she is a cynical person. In the first few lines of the book, she says, “as I got out of bed I realized I wasn’t the only one in it. There was a good-looking blond in there as well. I did not recall issuing the invitation but I must have. No one gets into my room, let alone my bed, without one” (Day 1). The first several pages do not reveal whether the narrator is male or female, yet the narrator refers to “a good looking blonde,” “a hot then cold shower,” “the black suit, and “black shoes,” “the flower shop,” (Day 1-2), custome leads ut to believe she is a male figure. In the first two pages we get a picture of a person who is always on the go, has a wit, is efficient, sneaky, logical, brash, kind, sarcastic, doesn’t live according to social standards, cool and precocious. We feel as we turn the pages that the person doing the actions is well in control. It is Claudia Valentine. She speaks with authority and candor Claudia Valentine is on a mission. She lives her life exteriorly unkempt, yet interiorly organized. Claudia shows a mind for observation and detail; she sums up a person immediately. Her memory of others is a science. Claudia knows the City of Sydney and what keeps it going: “without contacts in this city you’d be dead. And sometimes dead even with them” (Day 3). Claudia is cautious: “’Just a minute, I’ll check with my secretary.’ Silently I counted to ten then spoke into the phone again. ‘It seems to be all right for later on this afternoon, Marilyn’” (Day 3).
Claudia Valentine has a distinct voice, which identifies her as a cool, collected, observant and precocious detective. She defines her actions well and calculating, goes against social standards and takes complete control over her life. Claudia blends in with her surroundings, but does not let her surroundings control who she is professionally.
In summary, a persons distinct voice can be defined by a combination of interior attitudes coupled with exterior actions, manners of speaking and acting, thinking and deliberating, speech patterns, tone of voice, and social and private attitudes towards the animate and inanimate. A distinct voice is always developing. To the degree that those interior and exterior habits are developed within a cultural milieu, distinct voice becomes more pronounced. For Claudia Valentine it is being a murder detective in Sydney, Austral
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