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 10year old boy. Doyle effectively crafts the text to ressemble Paddy's thoughts by manipulating the novel's non-linear structure and language, while commenting on issues such as Paddy's familydisintegration, religion and the cruelty of children, which gives the reader a child's perspective of these matters.
In this extract, Doyle constructs Paddy's ten-year-old voice by using various linguisticdevices to simulate spontaneous speech and to create Paddy's childish idiolect. The impression the reader gets when reading the extract is that it's happening in the present, because of the strong use ofmovement verbs, "Jump up on the wall, grip the hedge, stand up straight". However, it is written in the past tense. The reader is reminded of this when the description of the race ends, "Once, MisterMcLoughlin had been cutting the grass when we all came over the hedge". This is very typical of spontaneous speech, and it vividly portrays Paddy's excitement at recalling the race.
This sense ofexcitement and speed is also evoked by other features. Doyle uses short sentences to build Paddy's narrative voice, "Land on the hedge, roll. Our house". This gives the text the effect of having acontinuous rhythm which parallels the children's running. It also enhances the impression of Paddy acting like a sports commentator. This is supported with deictic language, "McEvoy's wall into Byrne's",and by the ellipsis of pronouns, "Jump the hedge, roll, up and out their gate". This makes the narration faster and tense, like a race. The final sentence, "Winner", is written on a separate line,which conveys both his satisfaction at having won the race and his exhaustion from all the running.
Doyle's manipulation of language to capture Paddy's ten-year-old voice can also be seen...