Maziarczyk G. “I am with you”: second-person narration in Ron Butlin’s novel “The sound of my voice”

The article analyses the use of second-person narration in Ron Butlin’s first novel “The sound of my voice”. On the basis of narratological studies the author identifies the major features of this experimental narrative mode, in which the protagonist and the addressee are a single character addressed by the second-person pronoun. Butlin’s work employs you in reference to the protagonist, a 34-year-old alcoholic, and the figure of the narrator becomes visible only towards the ending of the novel. The communicative structure of the work reflects the unstable mental state of the protagonist. Second-person narration embodies his split personality, in which “I” and “you” represent different aspects of the same man. His long monologue dramatizes his recovery from self-destructive behaviour through self-acceptance and coming to terms with the past. By putting the reader in the position of a co-witness to this process, “The sound of my voice” develops an evocative depiction of a fractured self.