An Analysis of Roddy Doyles Writing Style
Roddy Doyle is an Irish novelist from Dublin, Ireland, who has written several award winning anovels. Through the use of a variety of literary techniques, Doyle has been able to delve into the thoughts and minds of his characters, so that the reader can easily empathize with them. Specifically, through the use of vernacular language, detailed imagery, and stream of consciousness in two of his novels, The Woman Who Walked Into Doors and Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, Roddy Doyle is able to successfully depict what occurs in the minds of both abused women, and adolescent boys, respectively.
In The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, Roddy Doyle tells the story of a recovering alcoholic who has been in an abusive marriage. This woman, Paula Spencer, struggles throughout the novel to gain control of the confusion her life has become. Through his use of the vernacular, detailed imagery, and stream of consciousness, Doyle is able to show the effect that abuse has on its victims.
Ever since she was a child, Paula Spencer was treated with disrespect. She attended a grade school which classified her as an idiot. As Paula described it, All the classes are named after Irish musicians. We were just 1.6. We got the worst room the worst teachers, the dopesIt was a fright, finding out that I was stupid (Doyle Doors 28). This use of vernacular language is seen throughout this novel. Doyles technique of writing in the vernacular is very effective in getting his point across, plain and simple. In this case, Doyle is able to effectively show the psychological abuse Paula suffered as a child and what effect it had on her. This is most likely where Paulas disrespect for herself stemmed from, and most likely what lead to her tolerance of the physical abuse yet to come.
At a young age Paula married a man named Charlo Spencer. It was quite apparent from the beginning that Charlo was not the right man for Paula. However, she married him anyway, and over their seventeen years of marriage Paula Spencer was severely beaten by her husband. The entire novel is about how Paula tries desperately to sort through her confusion. Since Doyle tells her story in the vernacular it is very easy for the reader to relate.
Doyles language and first person narrative perfectly catch Paulas erratic thoughts, as she tries to sort out the tangled
strands of her memory, and tries to recover those which are
Paulas use of vulgar words throughout the novel is helps express the anger, pain and confusion she is feeling. Doyle does not try to clean up the language. His use of the vernacular in Paulas thoughts and speech conveys the anger and pain that an abuse victim feels. For instance:
They were all the same; they didnt want to know. Theyd never ask. Heres a prescription; now fuck off. The young ones were the worst, the young ones in CasualtyI should have boxed her ears. A kid in a white coat, playing. Shouting at the nurses. A fuckin little child with no manners(Doyle Doors 190)
Here Paula is describing the doctors who she sees every time she needs medical attention after she has been beaten by Charlo. It is apparent through her choice of words that she is angry and also that she wanted help, but didnt quite know how to get it. Her frustration with her situation is evident in her choice of words. Not only does Doyle do an excellent job in showing the abuse through his use of the vernacular, but he is also able to vividly describe the abuse to the reader through detailed imagery, conveyed through the thoughts of Paula herself.
Throughout the novel, Paula Spencer vividly describes the episodes when Charlo beats her. The images her descriptions give the reader make it very clear how painful and frustrating it is for abuse victims. For example:
He pushed me back into the corner. I felt hair coming away; skin fighting it. And a sharper pain when his shoe bit into my arm, like the cut of a knife. He grunted. He leaned against the wall over me. I