Unreliable Narrator

Here was the assignment:

Shifty Voice. Write a short sequence using a narrative voice that is “unreliable.” After you complete the selection, explain what techniques you used to “undermine” the voice you used.

No title

She was a little scared to be alone but she would be okay, the woman told her sister, the last of her visitors. She closed the door her and locked it tight. The house was empty and quiet, except for the crackling of the fire.

She went into the kitchen to pour herself a glass of Riesling. Thank god her sister and friends put away all the food. The funeral exhausted her and she didn’t have the energy to do it herself. She would have let it sit out and toss it in the garbage the next day. Normally, she’d never think to waste a scrap of food. She could forgive herself. After all, she buried her husband that day.
The woman brought her glass upstairs and set it down on her bedside table. She removed her earrings, pearl necklace, and let her hair down. She removed her dress and put on her husband’s robe. She loved the way it smelled. She went to the bathroom to remove her makeup.

She got into bed and pulled her journal from the top drawer. She opened it and closed it immediately. Who could write at a time like this. She set it down and picked up the glass of wine. As she did, she accidently knocked over the photo of her deceased husband. It startled her.

She picked up the photo and looked at it for a moment. The photo was taken ten years before. The two of them had been dating six months. She was madly in love with him. Her eyes welled up with tears. She set the photo down and grabbed a tissue to dry her eyes.

She took a sip of wine. She picked up the phone from the table. She paused before dialing.

Someone answered at the other end of the line.

“I’m free,” the woman side. “We can finally be together.”


I tried to write a story where the character is very sympathetic. She suffered a loss, which we can all understand. In the end, I undermined her point of view by making her less sympathetic, suggesting she was happy that her husband died if not involved in his death.

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