Text Analysis of Cloud Atlas

Published: 2021-09-11 18:30:12
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Category: English

Type of paper: Essay

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Cloud Atlas is a novel, created by David Stephen Mitchell, popular around the world. The reason why it becomes so famous is not only because the author writes the subtle plot out, but the novel has artful structure and narrative techniques. In this text analysis I only focus on the main of them. Firstly there will be introduction of the author, the whole novel and the specific chapter. After that, the words go on with the style and techniques. There will be a conclusion for the whole paper lastly.

Cloud Atlas; novel; technique; stylistic;

1. Introduction
1.1 Introduction to the author and Cloud Atlas
David Stephen Mitchell, born in 1969, is an English novelist and has two (of seven) books shortlisted for the Booker Prize, one of which is Cloud Atlas. Time magazine chose him as the only literary novelist in their 2007 list of the one hundred most influential people in the world, following the publication of his fourth novel, Black Swan Green.
Although it might seem unbelievable that a famous writer could have language difficulties, David Michel indeed grew up with stammer, and he is even a proud patron of the British Stammering Association. When being interviewed at the influence of stammer to his writing, he said, “The writer that I am has been shaped by the stammering kid that I was, and although my stammer didn’t make me write, it did, in part, inform and influence the writer I became.”
Another noticeable experience of David Mitchel is that after obtaining a degree in English and American Literature followed by an M.A. in Comparative Literature, he moved to Hiroshima, Japan, where he taught English to technical students for eight years and luckily met his beloved Japanese wife. The life in Japan has shaped his attitude and style of writing remarkably, such as the character of humble and polite, and of course, the theory of samsara, which was thoroughly and brilliantly displayed in Cloud Atlas.
Cloud Atlas is David Mitchell’s third novel, wrote in 2004, and was made into a movie in 2012. It has positive reviews from most critics, for had managed to successfully interweave its six stories. Kirkus Reviews called the book "sheer storytelling brilliance." Laura Miller of the New York Times compared it to the "perfect crossword puzzle," in that it was challenging to read but still fun. In its "Books Briefly Noted" section, The New Yorker called the novel "virtuosic."
1.2 Structure and theme of Cloud Atlas
The book consists of six different stories that happen from 19 century to a distant, post-apocalyptic future and uses six type of narration. The whole book is just like a giant Russian doll: There is a naive clerk on a nineteenth-century Polynesian voyage; an aspiring composer who insinuates himself into the home of a syphilitic genius; a journalist investigating a nuclear plant; a publisher with a dangerous best-seller on his hands; and a cloned human being created for slave labor. These five stories are bisected and arranged around a sixth, the oral history of a post-apocalyptic island, which forms the heart of the novel. Only after this do the second halves of the stories fall into place, pulling the novel’s themes into focus: the ease with which one group enslaves another, and the constant rewriting of the past by those who control the present. Cloud Atlas complicates a understanding of epic by drawing together six pivotal fictions of development to convey a fractured yet interlocking narrative of global transition, capitalist crisis, and post-apocalyptic development on a planetary scale.

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