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Narrative Techniques In Dan Brown’S The Da Vinci Code

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Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code is one of the most successful and controversial novels of our time. Other authors have jumped on the bandwagon writing novels on Christian topics or treasure hunts or simply discussing The Da Vinci Code. Even the film industry has profited by using Brown’s strategies (and topics) in the successful movie National Treasure and by taking advantage of the Grail publicity in TV productions like The Blood of the (Knights) Templar. But which strategies does Brown use to make the reader enjoy reading The Da Vinci Code? In my essay, I would like to focus on his use of narrative techniques.

The Da Vinci Code is told by a restricted third-person narrator. He tells the story from various points of view without ever giving away too much. The point of view varies from chapter to chapter depending on the character whose actions are in focus. Most chapters are told from Robert Langdon’s and Sophie Neveu’s points of view but there are also chapters which describe the situation from the minor characters’ points of view. An advantage of this is that the reader can see what is happening at two different places at the same time by reading two parallel chapters. This technique increases the suspense build up, because the reader can follow the police coming closer on their hunt for Langdon and Neveu.

All chapters follow a certain structure that is supposed to build up suspense and urge the reader to read on. Brown achieves this by leaving many questions unanswered or surprising the reader in the last paragraph of each chapter. This particularly applies to the chapters told from Langdon’s and Neveu’s points of view. There is an example for an open end in chapter 9, when Neveu makes Langdon call her mailbox:

�Mr. Langdon,’ the message began in a fearful whisper. �Do not react to this message. Just listen calmly. You are in danger right now. Follow my directions very closely.’

Why should he not react? Why is he in danger? What will her directions be? To find out, the reader has to read on - the suspense is kept for thirteen pages!

An example for a surprising ending is the end of chapter 37:

[Langdon:] �In fact, almost everyone on earth has heard the story of the Sangreal.’

Sophie looked skeptical. �I’ve never heard of it.’



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