How successful is the opening chapter of Wise Children?
The first chapter of Wise Children is paramount to introducing the key themes and characters of the novel. Why is London like Budapest? A. Because it is two cities divided by a river This quote establishes the clear set division between the ‘legit. Side’ of the family and the ‘illegitimate side’ which includes Dora and Nora the twins, the duality of these two sides is vital to understanding this quote and why the narrator would use it. The novel is an acount of the life of Dora Chance ‘I am at present working on my memoirs’ so, included in the introduction are hints to the future of her life and the fragmented, uneven pace and style of her writing is unique. The language is very colloquial and allows us to see a very personal side to Dora that would not have been evident had the style been more formal. This chapter gradually builds up an image of Dora’s life and the copious family members using a vague storyline interrupted by detailed and long tangents to fill in the gaps.
The chapter is successful in the sense that the reader is introduced to the main character and narrator – Dora and her sister Nora. Dora gradually builds on the characters not by introduction but by mentioning them in passing ‘we’ve been storing Wheelchair in our basement for well nigh 30 years now’. Other names from her present are Tiffany the god-daughter, Melchior the Father and Tristram the nephew. There is also a brief mention of Dora’s background, how she was brought up by ‘Grandma’ having been abandoned her father Melchior Hazard. Peregrine Hazard is the Uncle who posed as their father to save face and the older generation of the family is described in the form of Ranulph Hazard and a short account of his life.
The scene is set in 49 Bard Road the house which Dora grew up in and the descriptions give’s an indication of the living conditions ‘ the house smells of cat, a bit, but more of geriatric chlorine’ which contrasts...