Impact of Janina’s Narration in Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

The narrator of Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, Janina, tells the story in a way that twists the minds of the readers. The use of an unreliable narrator results in many different perspectives on the story. We are introduced to Janina and immediately are put in her mind to see the old, innocent woman we think she is. The way Tokarczuk chooses to have Janina be the narrator really alters the reader’s view of the events in the story and causes us to believe Janina is innocent for most of the story.

In addition, in class, we discussed how being in Janina’s mind caused us as readers to be missing a lot of important information and resulted in us just thinking she was a crazy old lady with insane theories. Her belief that the animals killed all those people also made us think that she was just a madwoman and could not be capable of the murders.

All in all, the unreliable narrator really enhances the plot twist at the end because from the beginning of the novel Tokarczuk wrote in a way so that the readers would sympathize with her outlook on life and belief in animal rights.

2 thoughts on “Impact of Janina’s Narration in Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

  1. Ben K

    This was a thought that I also had while reading the book, and I thought it was really interesting how the plot twist towards the end made me more deeply consider Janina as a character leading up to it.


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