What Are the Benefits of Having Franny Within the Novel?
In the book The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, a girl named Susie is raped and murdered by a serial killer. The story follows Susie as she enters Heaven and later returns to Earth to watch over the people she knew in life. In the story, Susie meets an “intake counselor” in her first version of Heaven. This intake counselor’s name is Franny.
Franny, like others who enter Heaven, adopts a similar role as she had on Earth during her lifetime. In the book, she serves primarily to help Susie better understand the afterlife and adapt accordingly. She has a strong understanding of the afterlife and assists Susie by providing welcome advice and warm support. Franny holds a very important place in the story. She serves as Susie’s guide; much like Lord Henry in The Picture of Dorian Gray (Wilde, 1890). Though far more positive, of course.
Having a character like Franny allows the protagonist (Susie) to enjoy the help of a supportive individual who understands her and can shed light on her situation.
Franny also serves as a useful proxy agent through whom the author can disclose important details about the structure of Heaven she devised for the story. This technique helps to improve the overall clarity of the story by avoiding unnecessary intrusion of the author’s voice and has been used in many other works of fiction, such as Orwell’s O’Brien in 1984 (Orwell, 1949).
With a character like Franny in this story taking up space in what is already a somewhat convoluted plot, it can be harder to establish minor arcs and maintain the intended message…
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