Question: To what extent would you agree that plot should be valued more highly than style in a novel? In your answer you should refer to two or three novels you have studied.
In the novels Age of Iron, by J.M. Coetzee, and Blindness, by Jos Saramago, the authors use their style and plot to express their ideas and the theme. This is shown through the use of diction, time sequencing, and character development. These elements of literary style show how the style is used in order to enhance the plot in these two novels.
Both authors use diction in order to enhance different aspects of the novels. Saramago uses dictions in order to enhance the plot and develop a clearer image in the readers perspective. The lack of punctuation in Blindness creates confusion that makes it hard to clearly tell who is speaking. The sentences contain scant punctuation causing some to go on with a length of half a page. This contributes to the plot because the reader feels blind due to the lack of knowledge. At the beginning of the novel characters names are not even mentioned and the author just goes on by calling them by descriptive appellations. Once again, this creates an allusion that the reader is blind because he has a lot of description instead of actually just calling the character by its name. [T]he girl with the dark glasses shows a clear example of the diction used in order to create a blind feeling in the readers mind. Saramago describes everything throughout the book by the dialog of the characters, which makes the reader have a more real-life example of what is happening and how things are really perceived without seeing.
The tight and efficient diction in Age of Iron reveals Coetzees writing style. He uses more description than dialog in order to attain the readers attention towards his description. He uses select words that obtain a wide meaning. This letter is not a baring of my hear. It is a baring of something, but not of my heart. This description shows is a clear example of the multiple meanings that can be concluded from the uncovering of something that is unknown to the reader. Although Coetzees diction is tight, it leaves a wide range for the interpretation of the reader.
The time sequence used in Age of Iron is not chronological and has a lot of flashbacks and references that allude the reader to event that occur later on in the book. When Mrs. Curren says she thought: Now [her] eyes [were] open and [she could] never close them again, it is as if she is alluding the reader to the following events of the apartheid and that something is going to happen. Throughout the novel, Mrs. Currens death is foreshadowed by her thoughts and dialect. From the beginning of the novel, she mentions her disease briefly, but goes into more detail as the plot develops more. She [r]ead Tolstoynot the famous cancer story, which I know all too well  What chance is there, if I take a walk down to Mill Street, of finding my own angel  ? This realization foreshadows both the role of Mr. Vercueil as Mrs. Currens angel and also her death due to cancer.
In Blindness, many characters are developed in order to keep the suspense going on in the plot. Many of the characters are described briefly and not much is known about their personality, but some of the characters such as the Doctors Wife are known well and their personality is portrayed by their actions. When she calmly replied, Youll have to take me as well, Ive just gone blind this very minute, her over-protective side is shown by leaving everything behind and risking her life for her husband. The doctor says the fact that [he is] now blind is because [he] examined a blind man. Through his actions and dialect, the Doctors personality is depicted as somewhat selfish and close-minded. Most of the characterization is implied by dialect, and in the novel many characters are described. Saramago uses character development in order to add more action and suspense to the plot.
In Age of Iron, only some of the characters are described in depth. The only characters that are described in depth are Mrs. Curren and Vercueil. Age of Iron, being an epistolary novel, describes the characters personalities from Mrs. Currens perspective. Her constant dialect and interaction with Vercueil shows that she has an affectionate side towards outsiders. Vercueils fingernails [are] filthy, and she does not know what else he had been touching. Her acceptance towards how Vercueil really is shows her caring side as well as his unhygienic side. This also shows how the descriptions of the characters are concise and get to the point.
Style and plot can have an equal importance because they present an approach to different aspects of both novels. This is shown throughout the novels Age of Iron and Blindness in many aspects such as the use of diction, time sequencing, and character development.