Adam Mars-Jones’s novel Box Hill: A Story of Low Self-Esteem (New Directions, 2020) explores a relationship between two men: naive eighteen-year-old Colin and his decade-older lover Ray. Told from the point of view of Colin, whose self-deprecating remarks diminish his image and idolize his partner, readers are brought into his view of the world. In one scene, Colin refers to his partner’s sweat as “an elixir” and his own as “no more than a waste product.” Mars-Jones uses Colin’s unique voice to develop his character as well as mimic his role in his relationship with Ray, setting up his emotional arc. Inspired by this narrative technique, write a story in which your narrator has an extreme view of themselves, whether narcissistic or self-deprecating. What effect does this have on how your story develops?
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