The information provided in a backstory is often integral to the development of characters and plot within a narrative. In both 'Our Nig' and 'Washington Square', an account of the events prior to those of the central plot provide necessary context for a clear and cohesive tale. It is the history of the mothers of each Catherine and Frado that is most essential to character and plot formation. Aside from the maternal background of the heroine, 'Washington Square' offers the backstory of a few of the supplemental characters such as Dr. Sloper, Mrs. Penniman, and Morris Townsend. 'Our Nig', however, supplies only a very brief allusion to what Mrs. Bellmont is to be like, primarily utilizing the backstory of Frado and her mother. Such framework also imparts upon the reader character traits and motives and, though presented to different degrees, the backstory of each novel provides situational context, such as socio-economic status and milieu. Thus, a backstory is an effective tool in introducing certain ideas to the reader that will give a comprehensive understanding of the novel and the characters vital to moving the plot.
[...] Subsequently the reader is able to recognize the doctor as naturally bright, clever, and witty. It is with this intelligence that he is later able to see past Morris Townsend's charm and foresee Catherine's inevitable heartbreak. Another important piece of information discovered in Sloper's backstory is that of the death of his wife and son. The reader is told that following the death of his son he viewed Catherine as inadequate substitute for his lamented first-born” (James 5). A view that resulted in Catherine's “deepest desire [to be] to please [her father], and her conception of happiness was to know that she had succeeded in pleasing (James 11). [...]
[...] The Underrated Backstory: Backstory as it Effects Our Nig and Washington Square The information provided in a backstory is often integral to the development of characters and plot within a narrative. In both Our Nig and Washington Square, an account of the events prior to those of the central plot provide necessary context for a clear and cohesive tale. It is the history of the mother of each Catherine and Frado that is most essential to character and plot formation. [...]
[...] But as I shall strongly recommend it, as I have a great fun of respect and affection in my daughter's mind to draw upon, and as she has the sentiment of duty developed in a very high degree, I think it is extremely possible” (James 69). In this tactful assertion, the reader is explicitly reminded of Catherine's obedience toward her father, a consequence of her mother's death. Another key piece of information found in the history of Catherine's mother is that of the wealth that has been attributed to the young girl in addition to the large inheritance she is to receive upon her father's death. [...]
using our reader.