If we heard the story of Icarus from God :. Third-Person Omniscient Narrator.
Third-Person Omniscient Narrator
Each success validates our view that the universe is benign and desires for us what we desire for ourselves. Each failure comments on the unworthiness of the aspirer. As Icarus plunged into the ocean, the witnesses, dozens of them, felt in their hearts that his fall was right and just. “Who did he think he was?” sniffed the ship’s captain. “Quite right!” thought the
Ploughman, pausing long enough in his labors to enjoy the plume of water that heralded Icarus’ death. Only Daedalus wept, though he did not dare pause to wipe away the tears.
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Everything was in confusion in the Oblonskys' house. The wife had discovered that the husband was carrying on an
intrigue with a French girl, who had been a governess in their family, and she had announced to her husband that she could not go on living in the same house with him. This position of affairs had now lasted two days, and not only the husband and wife themselves, but all the members of their family and the household, were painfully conscious of it.”—Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Look at the authority of the opening sentence—that irrefutable, simple declarative sentence. Then look at the freedom the narrator enjoys—moving from individual brains to collective ones and stating the case the way all see it.
“ irrefutable, simple declarative sentence. Then look at the freedom the narrator enjoys—moving from individual brains to collective ones and stating the case the way all see it.It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings
or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.‘My dear Mr. Bennet,’ said his lady to him one day, ‘have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?’ Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.” –Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
In this example, observe the unassailable (and time-sanctioned) social truth uttered by the all-knowing narrator, who can sweep into a family breakfast without hesitation.
Consider this section from Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” as Sarty considers the tiny fire his arsonist father has prepared as the family makes camp en route.
“Older, the boy might have remarked this and wondered why not a big one; why should not a man who had not only seen the waste and extravagance of war, but who had in his blood an inherent prodigality with material not his own, have burned everything in sight. . . older still, he might have divined the true reason: that the element of fire spoke to some deep mainspring of his father’s being.”
The Omniscient Narrator has stepped in; the Voice creates connections that Sarty isn’t capable of, now or maybe ever, and does so in the service of expressing Ab Snopes’ world view.
The impact of this option can be devastatingly powerful when an author uses its inherent freedom to investigate the world views of multiple characters and resists the temptation to supply interpretations. Toni Morrison’s Beloved manages both of these things.
His eyes dazzled by sunlight, his heart radiating joy, Icarus flies up and up, away from the squalid earth. He will fly to Olympus and take his place. Then hot, searing hot, droplets against his skin. A white blur whips past his eyes; a soft hissing sound whips past his
ears. Was that . . a feather? He hears that hiss again and again. Droplets of hot wax sting his back, his legs. The wooden framework bound to his arms with leather shudders, and he feels the first failure of a wingbeat. Feathers loosed from the wax spread across the sky; he can barely breathe. He cannot see, but he can feel the plunge that will have only one end. He knows. He screams for his father.
Third-Person Dramatic Narration
If you consider how the experience of seeing a film is different from the experience of seeing a play, you will see why the technique is called ‘dramatic.’
A film is easier to view because the action is filtered through a director, an actor, and a cinematographer. You always know where to look; you are always cued how to view an event through close ups, wide shots, etc.
When you see a play, you have to work harder to understand what you’re seeing. You must decide where to look. There are no filtering perspectives; there is only the action.
Hence comes the term what you’re seeing. “Dramatic Narration”—because this reading experience is the most like watching a play (not because it’s more serious than the others or can’t be funny.)