As we discussed in class when we first started reading Escape from Alcatraz, Bruce began his novel with a style that led us to believe we would be reading an account of Frank Lee Morris’s escape attempt. However, after the first chapter, the story line took a turn toward the historical perspective of Alcatraz. We read about the history of the island from its discovery to various escape attempts. Somewhat suddenly at Chapter 15, Bruce begins in on his history of Morris and his relationship with his mother and Chapter 16 begins the telling of Morris’s time on Alcatraz. I thought this was a weird turn because I had almost forgotten about the suspense he had built up about Morris in Chapter 1. The account of his escape attempt spans two chapters and is very detailed; so detailed, in fact, that I almost prefer the historical accounts of the island in Chapter s 2-14 rather than the escape story.
Originally, I had wished for Bruce to go back to Morris’s story after reading Chapter 1, but during Chapters 15 and 16, I found myself wishing for the abridged version of the escape attempt. I think Bruce could have left out some of the more insignificant details and still managed to tell the story in its entirety. Also, I think the change in writing style throughout the novel is strange. During chapters 2-14, I feel Bruce writes mostly as though he is writing a historical novel. His account of Morris’s escape is not written from a historical perspective, but rather as a dramatic or thrilling fiction novel. The sudden change of styles struck me as incongruous and I think he should have stayed with one style.