In the book, Everyday By David Levithan, the relationship between
the protagonist, A, and his object of his affection Rhiannon, to make the reader feel emotionally attached. The book is written from the perspective of a “person” who never inhabits the same body for more than 24 hours. The interesting part about the way this book is that this person must somehow figure out how to stay in touch with the girl he loves while dealing with the problem of always having to switch bodies. The book’s overall theme is mystery, making the reader wonder what comes next, what body the protagonist will end up in the next day. The book appeals to a teenagers dream of being able to be in their ideal body for one day,but also shows the downside, even nightmarish disadvantage of maybe getting the worst possible body to live in as well. When the body switches, the author is creating a new setting, and the reader automatically tries to figure out why the author chose this body and how it will affect the protagonists’ story.
When you begin the story, the author immediately immerses you in the protagonist’s world, making even the most simplistic elements of a story, like the backstory pop out. When the author says “sixteen years is a lot of time to practice. I don’t usually make mistakes. Not anymore.” The question that pops into the head of the reader is what kind of mistakes the protagonist has made, and practice for what? In my mind, I also ask the question, what kind of life do you lead when all of it is just “practice”? When you read further into the book, you notice the protagonist starts to talk more about his feelings and past experiences in other bodies when he opens up to Rhiannon. The first encounter between the two of them is by far the most meaningful and important part of the story, because this is where the love story begins.
“I am a drifter, and as lonely as that can be, it is also remarkably freeing. I will never define myself in terms of anyone else. I will never feel the pressure of peers or the burden of parental expectation. I can view everyone as pieces of a whole, and focus on the whole, not the pieces. I have learned how to observe, far better than most people observe. I’m not blinded by the past or motivated by the future. I focus on the present.”
Levithan uses the thoughts of the character to propel the reader into the head of the protagonist as he/she goes through his everyday routine with you. Right now, he is describing himself to the reader and the words he uses, like “drifter” draw the reader in because you never hear characters physical features being described as such. However this is a different story for this character because he is not just a human, he is just a being. This also supports the idea of using the relationship between the protagonist and Rhiannon to evoke feelings in the reader. This is what he’s like before he meets her, which is something I noticed evoked feelings of both interest and nervousness in me at every chapter.
“ He’s peripatetic and undependable, in as much as he pops up in a new town and a new flesh-and-blood vessel each morning. A. doesn’t have a real name, presumably because he doesn’t have a real existence: he’s not a person, at least not in any conventional sense, but a spirit, switching without choice from one teenage host to the next and, for just 24 hours, replacing its soul and consciousness with his own. Levithan’s novel asks: Can love possibly find a way around that?”
This shows the effect that the use of the main characters thought and their boundaries that they constantly try to push everyday. I chose this quote because it speaks about the emotions evoked when reading this book through the perspective of an ever changing protagonist.
The way the author uses the settings adds a deeper level to the book, not only making you want to know what happens with the protagonist and Rhiannon, but also makes you want to know whose body he’ll wake up in the next day. I think the one body that evoked the most emotion for me was when the author put the protagonist in a suicidal girl’s body.
“I flip to the end, past pages of dosages and special instructions. There are still blank pages at the back but before them is a page that reads DEADLINE, followed by a date thats only 6 days away.”
This is what I meant by change of setting. When David Levithan changes the body that the main character inhabits, he is essentially changing the physical background of the story. Everytime the protagonist goes to sleep he wakes up in a different body, and with each body brings a flood of different experiences which are meant to give the reader different emotions. In this particular body, the author puts the love story on hold and has the protagonist immerse himself in trying to save this body from doing what it wants to do. The girl wants to kill herself so the main character has to decide whether or not to break his golden rule which was not to tamper with other people’s bodies. The author purposely makes a character like this to make the reader feel torn and scared for the girl and what would happen to her after he left her body. The author also shows the reader that the protagonist truly isn’t in control of what bodie he/she inhabits to show in the end that being able to switch bodies all the time isn’t the best thing either.
Levithan’s use of the protagonist’s emotions & relationships with other characters helps the reader get inside the protagonists head and feel exactly what the author wants you to feel. When A meets Rhiannon, the reader feels uncertain about whats to come. When the story picks up, and the reader starts to get a feel for the character’s life in that certain body, the author switches it immediately, ultimately keeping the reader on his/her toes and eager to read the next chapter. When Levithan decided to use the protagonist’s disposition in a love story themed book, it added a mood of mystery to the protagonist’s profile, because the reader would never know who he’d be next. This book truly challenged the very thoughts of every teenager about their love life, asking the questions of if they could find true love if they looked a certain way and how it would affect the people they loved. This book pulled all of these questions together and at the same time added a creative and different conflict for the main character and Rhiannon to endure, making for a very unique and interesting story. The author sends the reader a final message to the reader that nothing is perfect, especially the life the protagonist leads.