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Point of View
 

Point of View

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Definitions and information on literary point of view

Definitions and information on literary point of view

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    Point of View Point of View Presentation Transcript

    • Point of View
    • Narrative Why?
      • In literary fiction, the question of who tells the story, and therefore, how it gets told has assumed special importance. It can be used to:
        • Help create and shape characterization
        • Create suspense
        • Create structure
        • Convey theme/message
        • Many other purposes to be determined by the writer
    • How to Determine POV?
      • Asking the questions:
        • Who tells the story?
        • How much is the narrator allowed to know?
        • To what extent does the narrator look inside the characters and report their thoughts and feelings?
    • Types of POV
      • Third Person Omniscient
      • Third Person Limited
      • Objective (Dramatic)
      • First Person
    • Third Person Omniscient
      • Omniscient means “all knowing”
        • Narrator is free to go wherever they wish, to peer inside the minds and hearts of characters at will and tell us what they are thinking or feeling.
        • Narrator interprets and comments on behavior.
        • They know all. They can tell us as much or as little as they please.
    • Third Person Omniscient
      • Pros
      • Very flexible narration and provides the widest scope for telling a story.
      • Cons
      • It is the most subject to abuse.
        • Constant danger that the narrator is coming between the reader and the story.
        • The shifting of viewpoint from character to character can breakdown coherence and unity in the story.
    • Third Person Limited
      • The story is told in the third person but is limited to one or two characters in the story, or “Point of View” characters.
      • Narration may move inside or outside of the characters but may not move to other characters except through the eyes of the POV character.
    • Third Person Limited
      • Pros
      • More closely approximates real life: we normally are not able to understand/know the thoughts and feelings of everyone around us.
      • It becomes a unifying element in the story.
      • Allows the narration to create characterization.
      • Cons
      • Limited field of observation which can make sometimes lead to clumsy plot devices.
    • Objective/Dramatic
      • The narrator disappears into a kind of roving camera. The camera can go anywhere, but can only record what is seen and heard.
      • It cannot comment, interpret, or enter a character’s mind.
      • Readers become “spectators.”
    • Objective/Dramatic
      • Pros
      • Pure interaction between the reader and the text. The narrator is never allowed to draw conclusions so all inferences are made by the reader.
      • No opportunity for the author to offer direct interpretation.
      • Relies exclusively on action and dialogue.
    • First Person
      • The narrator is actually a character within the story itself.
      • Narrator tells the story in the first person.
      • May be a major or minor character, protagonist or observer. This choice is usually very important.
    • First Person
      • Pros
      • Most closely approximates real life.
      • Helps to eliminate barriers between the reader and the text that an intrusive narration can sometimes create.
      • Talented writers can use this to great effect in characterization and irony.
      • Cons
      • Allows no opportunity for direct interpretation by the author.
      • Constant danger that the narrator will exceed their own sensitivity, knowledge, powers of language, etc.
    • Exercise
      • For the following stories, identify the point of view and then write an exploration of why that choice was an effective choice by the writer.
        • Everyday Use
        • Miss Brill
        • A Rose for Emily
        • The Lottery