A Journal of the Plague Year

Constructing Authenticity

In A Journal of the Plague Year, Daniel Defoe uses several methods to

create convincing history out of fiction. In developing a false journal

entry, Defoe creates authenticity primarily through the narrator, H.F..

The style and language of H.F.'s supposed journal play a large part in

constructing authenticity. But beyond these aspects of the narration is

the development of H.F.'s own story. Although the personality of this narrator is not always strong or clear, Defoe succeeds in strengthening the authenticity of the "journal" through aspects of H.F.'s character. Defoe explores H.F.'s emotions and motivation to make him more real. He must convince the reader that there is a living person behind this story, with reasons for writing it down, and a place in its events. The existence and credibility of this human presence are central in Defoe's quest to construct authenticity.

Many stylistic aspects of the novel contribute to a sense of reality. The

outpouring of disgusting, painful, and tragic information creates an

effect that mimics the overwhelming emotional trauma of the plague. By

providing answers in advance to any plausible questions with this excess of information, Defoe almost invites the...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 723 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4158 literature essays, 1401 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in