Harry Lavender

Every text regardless of form or composer inherently presents different voices in their composition. Voices in such texts do not have to be continuations or extensions of the authorial voice; instead composers can use distinctive voices to recreate critical analyses of societies, promote a specific political agenda, or record or recreate social and cultural perspectives. In order for the voice to be ‘distinctive’ it is essential that the composer uses language techniques when they are creating a characters personality and voice. Composers like Marele Day in her text `The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender’ and Hart Hanson’s television series ‘Bones’ both explore the concepts of distinctive voices effectively.

‘The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender’ by Marele Day supports and subverts the traditionally male hard-boiled detective through inferential choices of language and a feminist, first person point of view presented by the female detective, Claudia Valentine. Day deliberately teases the reader in the novel’s opening by turning around the traditional, stereotyped tough detective from the genre. The situation of a hard night with a nameless blonde in the bed in a messy flat surrounded by strewn clothes, alcohol and cigarettes is a stereotypically that for a single male. However, it is after the pronoun “him” that we realise the narrator is female and the reader is forced to challenge their gender stereotypes.

Day uses various language techniques to typify Claudia’s distinctive voice. One example of this is the use of short abrupt, clipped statements. This minimalist style reflects her focus on tasks, not people, Illustrated in the lines, ‘Close by the bed was a bottle of Jack Daniels: empty. And an ashtray: full’ and in many of her conversations with people. Her interrogations allow others to speak and she rarely comments beyond a line. In her line of work this is a useful approach. It allows others to reveal without unintentionally smothering their...