The telling of the story had to be done with the help of a narrator, and I relied on the first-person narrative. I designed the speaker as a perceptive and unobtrusive character who witnesses the life of these characters and try to learn more about it from different versions that are but mutually conflicting. Though Benjamin and his son Shane were the characters that came to my mind at first, Shane emerged only a minor character in the end. I thought it would do better to create interest in Shane through the narratives of his stepfather Benjamin and his sister Susan, and leave him just a little time to explain his own difficulty to understand his behavior.
Benjamin emerged as the main character, who is either present or talked about, all through the story. The attempts by the narrator of the story to understand Benjamin through his missing fingers occupies the major portion of the story. The difficulty I had faced in the beginning was to sustain the interest in Benjamin’ s missing fingers from the beginning till the end.
At the same time, I needed to retain suspense and tell a story that held some new information at every turn. I had to do this without losing a balanced narrative pattern. I tried to use the narrator’ s experiences as a new lecturer in the college to provide sufficient diversion, as a sub-text, to the main narrative. I wanted Benjamin’ s identity crisis to be transferred to the readers through the narrator’ s understanding of it, step by step. Character delineation was another major issue which I approached carefully. I needed to avoid presenting unnecessary characters and did not mention the name of the Head of the Department because of this.
I just described him as “ the graying, bespectacled, gentlemanly boss” , because his presence was merely instrumental in establishing the ambiance of the department. Likewise, none of the colleagues or students that the narrator encounters in the college is given names, to maintain the focus only on Benjamin and his family.
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