3

In Star Wars: Queen's Shadow, there is a conversation between Padmé and Sabé:

“Do you like him enough?”, Padme said.

“I don’t know,” Sabé said. “We’ve talked about it, so it’s not like I’m leading him on. And I warned him. A lot. And he’s known me, us, for a long time.”

“You’re protecting him.” It wasn’t quite a question. As usual, they walked the line of their peculiar bond with perfect symmetry.

“I don’t want to be callous,” Sabé said. “So in a way, I am protecting myself, too.”

“I don’t know what I’d do,” Padmé said. “I’ve guarded my heart against everything for so long, always aware of the dynamics and the flow of power. I’ve been lucky to find so many people who understand that and give me that space. I’m afraid that if someone breaks through, I’ll let them, and it would be catastrophic.”

“It’s not a reactor leak,” Sabé said.

Padmé never spoke to her about matters of the heart, largely, Sabé suspected, out of respect for privacy. She wondered who Padmé was thinking of that made her do it now, or if Padmé was merely intrigued by the prospect of whatever she imagined Sabé was getting up to. She wasn’t the jealous type, but she’d always been curious, and Sabé rarely did anything first.

“Maybe you should let someone break through a little bit,” Sabé suggested. “To see how it goes.”

Now I think that "she" in the bold sentence refers to Sabé herself, but due to the mentioning of "Sabé" in the same line, it seems to refer to Padmé! To which one of them "she" refers?

4
  • There seems to be a shift in writing style. Sabé seems to be the person saying all this. But that last sentence then is a bit odd. It would have been much clearer to have Sábe instead of she in that last sentence followed by the two she's.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 9 at 15:57
  • The sentence is honestly just kind of clumsy. It's giving Padmé's history as an attempt to justify Sabé's guesses about her mental state in the previous sentence, but because the "jealousy" section is a non-sequitur it's very difficult to make that connection. The only way to really make it is to notice the mirroring between "intrigued" and "curious".
    – YonKuma
    Commented Feb 9 at 16:12
  • Even as a native speaker, I find it confusing to have a sentence start with "She" after just having named two different female characters in the previous clause. I would have worded it "Padmé...she'd...Sabé" to clarify.
    – dan04
    Commented Feb 10 at 0:05
  • 1
    Yes it's confusing because the sentence starts with "She wondered" which is a co-reference to Sabé in the preceeding sentence. But in the middle of that sentence there's another co-reference "she imagined Sabé" where "she" is a co-reference to Padmé. So then the next She should really be another co-reference to Padme - but I think it's actually a co-reference to the following Sabé. Its poorly written and the bolded sentence should start with Sabe (or Padme if that was the intention, in which case it needs more editing) Commented Feb 10 at 3:59

2 Answers 2

5

She wasn’t the jealous type, but she’d always been curious, and Sabé rarely did anything first.

When we name someone and then use a pronoun, it usually refers to the same person. Subsequent uses of the same pronoun can usually be assumed to mean the same person, so long as nobody else has been named between times.

John loves football and he plays whenever he can.

But in your example, the pronoun comes first and then Sabe is named. This is normally done to differentiate or 'switch' between persons who may share the same pronoun. So, it seems pretty clear that 'she' refers to Padme.

14
  • What you say is true but the narrator is Sabé, which then makes it odd.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 9 at 16:08
  • 2
    @lambie Sabe is not the narrator. If she were, it would say "I suspect", and not "Sabé suspected". You're confusing the narrator with the 'narrative perspective'.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Feb 9 at 16:10
  • There is such a thing as third-person narration, and as such, she is the third-person narrator. You are describing: first-person narration.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 9 at 16:17
  • 3
    @Lambie "In third-person point of view, the author is narrating a story" masterclass.com/articles/…
    – YonKuma
    Commented Feb 9 at 16:23
  • 2
    @Lambie First-person narration is literally defined by the conceit that a character is narrating a story about themself. Third-person narration is defined by the conceit that no character is narrating the story.
    – YonKuma
    Commented Feb 9 at 16:36
1

Padmé never spoke to her about matters of the heart, largely, Sabé suspected, out of respect for privacy. She wondered who Padmé was thinking of that made her do it now, or if Padmé was merely intrigued by the prospect of whatever she imagined Sabé was getting up to. She wasn’t the jealous type, but she’d always been curious, and Sabé rarely did anything first.

In my opinion, although this passage is not a stunning example of clear writing, it doesn't make much sense for "She" here to refer anyone but Padmé.

The paragraph appears to be in what I've seen called 'third-person limited' narration: Sabé isn't the narrator, but the narrator seems to be describing Sabé's thoughts. The complication is that here, Sabé's thoughts are speculation about what Padmé thinks: "[Sabé] wondered who Padmé was thinking of [...] or if Padmé was merely intrigued [...]"

Then, the following sentence explains why Padmé might be intrigued: because Padmé "[ha]d always been curious, and Sabé rarely did anything first." The fact that Padmé "wasn’t the jealous type, but [ha]d always been curious" is part of Sabé's train of thought here. Because Padmé is not "the jealous type", Sabé expects that Padmé will not feel jealousy about the relationship between Sabé and the man that she is talking about, but Sabé thinks that Padmé might be curious about it.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .