This is going to probably be the shortest Breakdown I have done since the concept is relatively simple. Why is it so simple? Probably because it happens all the time, intentional or not.
As it reads exactly on the tin, an unreliable narrator is a narrator whose validity is called into question. Naturally, this applies to all of us in the real world since our memory is not infallible. There are bits of information that we will either forget, or distort due to things like confusion, or other factors. In fiction, the memory of a character is usually perfect, and when it is not, it is acknowledged. This is because we would not be able to have a very grounded story if we must constantly question what we are witnessing on the basis of this pitfall rather than being an intentional element.
This trope has been the basis of many twists and alternative interpretations, but me listing any examples would probably spoil the story, and there are so many examples that I am sure you know at least one case of this tropes. Why am I bringing this up? Well, that is because it applies to Volume 0 of my own serial.
It seems to me that an unreliable narrator is present mostly in first-person perspective stories. While the origin story is written in first-person, the rest of my story is not. One of the reasons is because with first-person narrations, we are bound to what they see alone, and as I mentioned earlier, people will distort what happened, intentionally or not. This would normally be the part where I exposit that Braeden’s horrible life was not as bad as it seemed, but nope! It was worse. Much much worse.
I think the most interesting thing about this trope is that it can so easily tie into a character’s personality, whether through seeing how they may misunderstand things, or understanding why they may hide certain facts. While I prefer characters to show their personality rather than me tell you, Braeden is the type of guy to downplay his problems as to not burden others. For that reason alone, I would suggest to my readers to look into the story through real world lenses, and question the deeper implications of everything.
Until next time.