Shaping by Narrative Structure
The narrative structure that Egan uses is a major part of the story because it gives multiple views of the same person or event, and it accomplishes that by switching perspectives.
The perception of many characters fluctuate due to the changing perspective, and in the book, Bennie Salazar is the most prominent example of this. In Chapter 2, “Gold Cure,” the readers get an intriguing view of Bennie. He seems like a sad, middle aged man, who has to take gold flakes in his coffee in a sad effort to remain sexually potent. The readers are able to see this because the chapter is centered around Bennie. They get to see what goes on in his personal life, and what problems plague him. The readers’ perception is shaped due to the style of writing used by Jennifer Egan.
In Chapter 6, “X’s and O’s”, an old friend of Bennie’s, Scotty Hausmann, goes to visit Bennie. Scotty had been not as well as Bennie, so there seems to be quite a difference between the two. The readers get the perception of Bennie being a high-class member of the record industry. This is because Chapter 6 has a first person point of view from Scotty’s perspective. Bennie seems like such a step above the rest of society as Scotty sees it. This is a sharp contrast to the view that the readers were introduced to in Chapter 2. This is how the perception of the reader’s is changed by the use of changing perspective by author Jennifer Egan.
Egan’s narrative structure forces the reader to shift perceptions of specific characters, and in this case, Bennie. This is accomplished to detailing experiences, opinions, and descriptions from multiple perspectives.