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Sample Essay on Lively’s Moon Tiger

Sample Essay on Lively’s Moon Tiger

Lively constructs Moon Tiger in such a way as to take seriously her narrator’s attitudes, though of course there are limits to what she can do. The historian cannot somehow step outside her own voice, but she can try to alter her own voice, to give voice to others. So, the book flickers back and forth between points of view. We will be given the memory of one event as told by “I” (who is nearly always Claudia), then after a space in the text, the same event will be told through a conventionally omniscient third-person narration, then it will be told through a third-person narration limited to one character, and then told through another limited third-person perspective. With respect to chronology, the book moves entirely unsequentially, shifting to various earlier scenes according to the present associations in Claudia’s mind.

According to the writers from essay and geology help student service the novel is, then, in its structure a synchronic history, one in which the narrow, cause-and-effect sequence gives way to a kaleidoscope of voices, times, places. But having said all this, it is important to notice that Lively does not simply reject the idea of chronological history she condemns those who do. So does life; it has its core, its centre”. As the historian cannot step outside her own voice, so she cannot simply step outside chronology. Another way of saying this is that it is not possible to avoid valuing certain events more or less than others. In fact, postmodern versions of history claim that chronological history, simply in its narrative structure, always inscribes value as if it were somehow intrinsic to reality, rather than a construction of language and desire. This inbuilt, imaginary “moment of unmediated presence” is the absolute value of desire, but it is a kind of fantasy: through it we can believe that we are, ultimately at least, solidly real selves.

Claudia gives much time to discussing Jasper’s history, in particular the faded Russian aristocratic father whom Jasper rejects as a failure at life and at parenting. When Claudia points out both certain facial features as well as the “rather dramatic past” with which Jasper’s father has endowed him, Jasper simply denies it. “I am what I make myself,” he claims. A “thousand turbulent years of history … has nothing to do with me”. Of such an attitude about the past, Claudia says that “Jasper will have none of either nature or nurture because Jasper is sublimely egotistical, and the egotist of course sees himself as self-propagated”

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