William Trevor: “The Blue Dress”

(1292 words)

Of the twelve short stories in William Trevor’s Beyond the Pale and Other Stories (1981), there are two narrated in the first person, the title story “Beyond the Pale” and “The Blue Dress”. In the first of these, the use of an unreliable first person narrator becomes obvious in the process of reading, whereas in “The Blue Dress” the question of the narrator’s reliability is the central theme; it remains undetermined even after the reading is finished. The opening paragraph traces the movements of this indeterminacy in the narrator’s knowledge:

My cinder-grey room has a window, but I have never in all my time here looked out of it. It’s easier to remember, to conjure up this scene or that, to e…
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Berg, Mari-Ann. "“The Blue Dress”". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 January 2010
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=28519, accessed 26 September 2016.]