Point of view

Point of View means that the story is told through the eyes and mouth of a certain person; the story can change considerably, depending on who is telling it.

First person narrator. Story is told from the inside; narrator is a participant in the action. Narrator is often the protagonist or minor character; we see only what he/she sees, in the way that he/she sees it.Advantage:  first person narrator has immediacy and a sense of life. Disadvantage:  the author may be frustrated in that he/she can only include things that the narrator would be expected to know; also, we are locked within the mind of the narrator.

Third person narrator. Usually a nameless narrator who can be identified with the author. Omniscient narrator:  godlike narrator; he/she can enter character’s minds and know everything that is going on, past, present, and future. Advantage:  very natural technique; author is, after all, omniscient regarding his work. Disadvantage:  unlifelike; narrator knows and tells all; is truly a convention of literature.

Viewpoint character:  third person narration that is limited to the point of view of one character in the novel; may be a protagonist or a minor character.

Objective viewpoint:  limited narrative, like a drama; narrator can only describe words and actions that can be seen objectively and cannot get into character’s thoughts.

Combination of narrative techniques is possible in a novel.

Tense of narration is important; action narrated in the present can be more dramatic than past tense narration.

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