Narrator & Voice Unit 3
Narrator & Voice • Narrator – who tells the story • Controls everything we know about the characters and events • Point of View – vantage point from which the author tells a story • Three main types of narrators and points of view: • Omniscient Point of View • First Person Point of View • Third Person Limited Point of View
Omniscient Point of View • Omniscient Point of View • The narrator is not a character in the story • The narrator almost never refers to himself or herself • The narrator is able to tell us everything about every character, including how each one thinks and feels (omniscient means “all knowing”) • Often is written in third person, using “he” or “she”
Omniscient Point of View • Example of Omniscient Point of View: • One day a young woman looked out her apartment window and saw a man playing a saxophone. “Cool,” she thought as she swayed to his tune. A big brown dog joined the man and howled along with the music. Then a man in pajamas yelled from another window, complaining that the noise woke him up and he was going to call the police. This man, who worked the night shift and had to sleep all day, liked cats better than dogs anyway. The young saxophonist left.
First Person Point of View • First Person Point of View • The narrator is a character in the story (unlike omniscient point of view). • The narrator talks to us, using “I,” the first-person pronoun. • Readers get a personal view of what is happening from a first-person narrator, but we know ONLY what he or she thinks and experiences and is able – or chooses – to tell us. • Persona– a mask or a voice for a first-person narrator. • Readers should always question whether a first-person narrator is credible (can be trusted). • An unreliable narrator is biased and does not (or cannot) tell the truth.
First Person Point of View • Example of First Person Point of View: • Oh, Man! Just as I was finally dozing off, he starts playing that stupid saxophone. I’ve already been fired from one job because I fell asleep on the night shift. Now it’s going to happen again. I don’t know which sounds worse, that tone-deaf saxophonist or that yowling dog. I’m going to call the police.
Third Person Limited Point of View • Third Person Limited Point of View • The narrator zooms in on just one character but talks about the character in the third person, using he or she. • Readers learn one character’s reactions to everything that happens in the story, but what we know about other characters is limited.
Third Person Limited Point of View • Example of Third Person Limited Point of View: • He found a good spot in front of Park View Apartments and started playing soulfully on his sax. He wanted an audience and needed money. After one song, he spotted a cute girl at a window, applauding madly. A dog howled with the music, but the sax player let him stay, hoping the dog might attract some donations. Then he heard a man yelling about calling the police – clearly not a music lover.
Narrator & Voice • Tone • Attitude a speaker or author uses toward a subject, character, or audience. • Tone can be described in a single word – typically an adjective. • Examples: joyous, somber, humorous, serious, angry, mellow, ironic, etc…. • If you change a story’s point of view, you may change the tone as well. • For example: how might the tone of the saxophonist’s story be different if the young woman were telling the story instead of the man in pajamas?
Narrator & Voice • Voice • The writer’s use of language and overall style • Voice is created by the writer’s tone and choice of words (diction). • You can often identify the author of a piece of writing from the voice • The narrators voice can affect our view of characters and plot, and shape the tone of the story as a whole. • Writers will often switch voices on purpose, or their voice may change over time, but usually a writer’s voice remains the same from work to work • In fiction, narrators can also be said to have a voice, which is created by their manner of speaking, word choice, and tone.