Touch Me, by James Molone
Touch Me, by James Moloney employs choice/selection of detail to encourage/invite readers to feel empathy and sympathy towards Xavier Mclachlan, the key protagonist of this teenage novel. This is how Moloney positions the reader to respond, however the unique feature of this novel is what Moloney does with the detail he selects for his novel. The selected material is conveyed using 3rd person limited omniscient point of view and portrayed through not only Xavier Mclachlan, but also his love interest in the novel, Nuala Magee.
Moloney uses these mechanics to create the construction of the structure of this novel. The teenage target audience relate and respond through Xavier Mclachlan. Moloney portrays Xavier positively as an honest determined individual, and invites the reader to follow his life experiences that revolve around rugby and relationships. The point of view, which works as a vehicle for the selection of detail, plays an extremely important role in the construction of this narrative. It allows Moloney to convey the story in many ways that work positively for the novel and intrigue the reader.
Whilst Moloney thinks he has discovered a perfect formula for involving teenage readers into this novel, there are some negative side effects of using this limited omniscient point of view. The adjustment Moloney has made to the traditional 3rd person point of view technique is an original addition to this book and it adds the extra ingredient that is needed to make Touch Me a unique novel. Alternating between Xavier and Nuala, who move in and out of limited point of view allows the rugby passages to reinforce and assist the real game that is being played.
The story of Xavier Mclachlan, and the unique relationship he has with Nuala Magee. A positive feature which has positive effects on Touch Me, is the use of having both Xavier and Nuala alternating in the 3rd person limited point of view. Moloney does not employ this technique that often, but it works perfectly, and in a positive way because it allows further development of the Nuala character, where as before we only had Xavier’s point of view on Nuala and her actions. The readers are now more informed about why Magee is like she is.
The prologue belongs to Nuala, even though we do not know it at the time, because it does not say Nuala anywhere in this feature of the book. Then when the first chapter begins, we are forced to temporarily abandon the story we were following as we are now introduced to Xavier Mclachlan. It is quite obvious that the reader will know that Xave and the mysterious girl in the prologue will meet somewhere in this narrative, and that girl is Nuala. Xavier is Moloney’s priority choice. Read the analysis of Eveline by James Joyce
For example, if Xavier was not present to tell us what was going on, Nuala would have to tell us, but if Mclachlan was there, Moloney would get him to control the story and therefore informing the reader what was happening. This type of scenario is evident when Nuala is seeing the school councilor on page 31 – 34. “She was pleased with the tone she managed in her voice, innocent, yet demanding”. This is an example of where the third person point of view (limited) follows Nuala. We know this because Xavier is not anywhere to be seen in this portion of the novel.
Using the alternating point of view option works positively in another way that creates dramatic irony. For example, on page 198, where the reader knows the mystery behind Nuala’s pregnancy, but Xavier does not. This definitely grabs the readers attention, and intrigues us as we want to see what happens when Xavier solves/overcomes one of many conflicts in this narrative. Overall, using third person limited point of view allows other characters to become developed, simply for the reason of expressing a particular attitude, that contributes to the readers evaluated opinion of Xavier.
Also, the readers are encouraged/invited to relate to Xavier, possibly feeling empathy and even sympathy for him during many occasions. This has a positive effect of causing the readers to respond in a positive way to Mclachlan and therefore tot he narrative of this novel, as the reader will continue to turn the pages. Moloney can not help but concentrate mainly on the relationship between Xavier and Nuala, other than mainly on the sport Rugby. This is because Moloney obviously realises it would be boring to simply talk about a sport, so Moloney talks about a character in this sport, Xavier Mclachlan.
There are also several other reinforcing characters such as Alex Murray, and Scott Watson. Now there is more of an opportunity to tell a story that the reader will eventually become emotionally involved in. This is because the reader can relate to these characters. Moloney does not stop there, he brings in the character of Nuala Magee to challenge Xavier and his way of life (Rugby) even further. Mclachlan eventually finds himself thinking about Magee more often than Rugby. This is the male/female relationship of the story, accept with a twist.
Nuala is dressed a little like a man, Moloney uses the rugby to intrigue the male readers, and the relationships with Nuala, and friends such as Alex, to intrigue the possibly more sympathetic female readers. However, the Rugby is just there to gain attention from the people who like the sport at the start, eventually they will be so interested they will eventually have to follow the real game between Mclachlan and Magee. This is the formula Moloney uses, and to ensure the Rugby and love story is told effectively, he uses limited third person point of view, sometimes following Nuala, but mostly concentrating on Xavier Mclachlan.
The way in which Moloney has Constructed his novel, allows both male and female readers of the teenage target audience to get involved in not only rugby or the love story, but both of these aspects of the novel. The alternating third person limited point of view works as a vehicle for this technique with the selection of detail reinforcing this unique structure of construction. The novel may allow boys to relate to the competitiveness of Rugby and the question on what is sport really about? This question is answered through Mclachlan’s values and attitudes he adopts from Nuala.
Also, the majority of girls will be able to sympathize with what Nuala has been through. This, however does not mean someone or everyone who reads the book can not like/enjoy both aspects of this narrative, or attempt to show an interest in it. In fact, this appears to be what Moloney is trying to achieve with his formula. It is clear that this strategy for the structure of construction of this novel has been successful for Moloney, as it has one many, many awards as is evident on the blurb for this book.
Nuala Magee is feisty, troubled and dangerous, where Mclachlan is constructed with the honest, caring and determined type of values and attitudes most readers are familiar with. This is so that readers, like Magee, also think of Xavier as the “pick of the basket”. Although readers are aware of Nuala’s rebellious attitude, it does not stop us sympathizing with the hard times she has experienced in her life. Nuala helps Xavier see the light as Xavier gains a new sense of what is right, as he sees things from a different perspective now.
Mclachlan is not going to compromise what he has learnt from Nuala for his ridiculous rugby law, which is to win at all costs. Nuala forces Xavier to learn that his way is not the only way. Of course this information would not have been possible to convey and portray as successfully as it has been if it wasn’t for the third person limited narrative tool that has been employed with both of these protagonists. James Moloney choose third person limited point of view for many good reasons that enhance the emotional powers of this novel and basically keep the reader interested enough to continue reading right through to the end.
That is the primary goal of every book after all. This creates money and Moloney’s message is consumed from many around the globe. Although Moloney has created a very successful novel, it was impossible to include every element of narrative that interests readers and triggers a response; either positive or negative to various parts of the narrative Touch Me. We do relate to Xavier, and even Nuala, but we do not form as strong a personal relationship with them as we would if Moloney had chosen first person point of view.
This is because neither character is talking directly to the readers, telling us exactly what they are feeling. This is one negative effect of using third person limited omniscient. Xavier himself does not talk to the reader directly as to what is going on inside his head, this could create a slightly un – realistic atmosphere, and this problem could be eliminated simply by using first person point of view. However, using 1st person does not solve everything, bias is created in Touch Me, thanks to the point of view Moloney uses.
However, this negative effect would have been even stronger if first person had been used. For example, when Xavier was dropped from the Rugby team. The readers are encouraged to take Xavier’s point of view, but if we knew the coaches side of the story, it would most likely not have been such an easy decision to make as to who’s side of the story you agreed with. Another example is when Xavier thinks he killed Alex Murray, which is not the case, but Xave convinces himself of this, and even though the reader is aware of what is really going on, we are receiving in – accurate information.
This bias effect can only be overcome if plain third person point of view was used. This would also prevent another problem, which is lack of detail of other characters in the narrative. However the bias may be considered positive to have in this novel because it could get readers more emotionally involved with one characters point of view, whether it be right or wrong, as long as a reaction is present within the readers mind. In Conclusion, in James Moloney’s Touch Me, the positives far outweigh the negatives of using third person limited omniscient point of view.
Moloney makes up for the vast majority of negatives by employing the alternating point of view technique that takes the narrative to a new level of excitement. Touch Me, the title of the book can be interpreted as touch Rugby, touching someone emotionally and physically. All of these elements of the narrative are covered and reinforced by the third person limited point of view, as many of these elements take place in the form of individual vs. individual, individual vs. self, and individual vs. ociety. Moloney constructs Xavier and Nuala so they have a unique respect for each other, and are as much in love physically as they are mentally. This is definitely forms a major part of the message that is being directly conveyed and portrayed through mainly Xavier Mclachlan. This is the overall meaning and therefore purpose of this entire book. The remainder of the message is clearly that winning is not everything, value life over everything else, and one persons way of life is not the only way.
Overall the narrative of this novel is about the competitiveness of rugby, and people opening up and being completely themselves. Xavier tries to accomplish this by breaking away from traditional stereotypes, but soon discovers what happens when he is not “in” with the cool crowd. It took a very stubborn individual to over power the criticism Xavier received when he went out with Nuala, but Mclachlan did it. Xavier eventually chooses to stay open, and be himself, he is not abandoning his newly acquired beliefs, and he goes back to see Nuala to tell her this.
This is the overruling purpose/point of the novel, and it is told superbly in detail though the third person limited omniscient point of view. Selection of detail influences how readers respond to texts, and in this novel genre Touch Me, James Moloney has positioned the reader to respond/react and relate through his unique version of point of view. This is Moloney’s mechanic, which acts as a vehicle for the selection of detail, and characters are most definitely the tools which aid in operating the vehicle.
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