Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha

Doyle's Manipulation of Language to Create Paddy's Voice: the Grand National Race

Roddy Doyle's novel 'Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha', set in 1960's Dublin, in the fictional suburb of Barrytown, is narrated in first person by Paddy, a 10 year old boy. Doyle effectively crafts the text to reassemble Paddy's thoughts by manipulating the novel's non-linear structure and making it reassemble spoken language, whilst commenting on issues such as Paddy's family disintegration, religion and the cruelty of children, giving the reader a child's perspective of these matters.

In this extract where Paddy is narrating a race with his friends, Doyle constructs Paddy's ten-year-old voice by using various linguistic techniques and devices to simulate spontaneous speech and to recreate Paddy's childish idiolect. The impression that is constantly given to the reader throughout the extract is that it's happening in the present. Firstly, because of the strong use of active verbs in the present tense, "Jump up on the wall, grip the hedge, stand up straight", which also help Doyle create tension in the extract and a sense of immediacy. However, though it may not be noticed by the reader at first glance, Paddy is narrating something which happened in the past. The reader is reminded of...

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