Distinctive Voice

How does Claudia and Harry’s use of language create distinctive voices that communicate their unique experience of the world?

Distinctive voice refers to language that gains recognition, reflects a specific personality and experience. The inevitable power of language usage and techniques is emphasised in the expression of a distinctive voice, taking the audience on a journey, connecting with their intellectual and emotional faculties. Through “The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender” Marele Day creates a two very distinctive voices that radiate throughout the novel. The protagonist Claudia Valentine is a1980’s styled hard-boiled detective figure who defies and challenges the stereotypical values of a detective being a dominant male figure. Claudia is juxtaposed in the novel by the antagonist Harry Lavender, a villain who is explicitly connected to the crime underworld of Sydney, he never physically present in the novel but is always seen as a aloof figure. Through these two main distinctive voices and their unique experiences, Day shows an expression of concern towards the decay of Sydney as a city as well as constantly questioning and challenging the idea of appearance versus reality.

Claudia sees and experiences the world from the perspective of a factual, observant and well-educated personal investigator. She is blunt, direct and at times very promiscuous, showing a range of stereotypical hard-boiled detective attributes. While doing so she also juxtaposes herself and her façade by being presented as a compassionate and loving mother. Day uses a range of language techniques to allow the audience to connect with Claudia in this manner, the most significant one being the continual use of internal monologue, this allows the audience to relate and understand Claudia on a subjective and personal level. Through the internal monologue Claudia’s life as a personal investigator is exposed by continual use of descriptive language and observations from Claudia...