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POINT of VIEW. From whose perspective...?. Who should tell the story? And how might it be different according to the storyteller?. What is Point of View?.

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point of view


From whose perspective...?

what is point of view

Who should tell the story? And how might it be different according to the storyteller?

What is Point of View?

An automobile accident occurs. Two drivers are involved. Witnesses include four sidewalk spectators, a policeman, a man with a video camera who happened to be shooting the scene, and the pilot of a helicopter that was flying overhead.

what is point of view1
What is Point of View?
  • The point of view is the perspective (the eyes) through which the audience perceives (sees) the story.
understanding the narrator
Understanding the Narrator
  • The narrator is the story-teller.
  • The narrator has a persona, which means personality, opinions, or attitudes that can influence what is said and how it is said.

POV = Identify the narrator

March of the Penguins

1st person pov
1st Person POV
  • I, me, my, we, our…
first person narrator
First person Narrator
  • Story is told from a main character’s POV
first person narrator1
First person Narrator


  • Readers see events from the perspective of an important character
  • Readers often understand the main character better
first person narrator2
First person Narrator


  • The narrator may be unreliable—insane, naïve, deceptive, narrow minded etc...
  • Readers see only one perspective

First person Narrator

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of stuff, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.  In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.”

--J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)


First person Narrator

  • True--nervous--very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?  The disease had sharpened my senses--not destroyed--not dulled them.  Above all was the sense of hearing acute.  I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth.  I heard many things in hell.  How, then, am I mad?  Hearken!  and observe how healthily--how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

--Edgar Allan Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart” (1850)

2 nd person pov
2nd Person POV
  • You, yours, your, yourself
2nd person pov
2nd Person POV
  • A second-person POV is rare
  • Uses “you” and presents commands
  • Turns the reader into the character
2nd person pov1
2nd Person POV
  • As you walk up the hill, you realize that the atmosphere's just too quiet. There's no sound from the cardinal you know is almost always singing from the top of the maple tree. You think you see a shadow move high up on the slope, but when you look again it's gone. You shudder as you feel a silent threat pass over you. You feel cold, like a cloud just passed over the sun.
3 rd person pov
3rdPerson POV
  • he, she, they, them…
3rd person pov
3rd Person POV
  • Omniscient
  • Limited
  • Objective

3rd Person POV: Omniscient

  • Omniscient = all knowing…the narrator can see into the minds of all characters
3 rd person pov omniscient
3rd Person POV: Omniscient


  • godlike narrator; he/she can enter character's minds and know everything that is going on, past, present, and future.
  • Will be a narrator outside the text
3rd person pov omniscient
3rd Person POV: Omniscient
  • Advantage: very natural technique; author is, after all, omniscient regarding his work.
3rd person pov omniscient1
3rd Person POV: Omniscient
  • Disadvantage: not lifelike; narrator knows and tells all
3rd person pov omniscient2
3rd Person POV: Omniscient

As the girl walked up the hill, she realized that the atmosphere was just too quiet.

            The cardinal tipped his head back and drew breath to sing, but just as the first note passed his beak he heard the crack of a dead branch far below his perch high in the maple tree. Startled, he looked down, cocking his head to one side and watching with great interest while the man rattled the blades of grass as he tried to hide himself behind the tree.

            As the man saw her start up the hill, he moved quickly into the shelter of the huge old maple tree. If she saw him now, everything would be ruined.

            She thought she saw a shadow move high up on the slope, but when she looked again it was gone.

            The man thought if he could stay hidden until she came within range, she'd have to talk to him. Wouldn't she?

            The girl shuddered as she felt a silent threat pass over her. It felt like a cloud creeping over the sun.

3rd person pov limited
3rd Person POV: Limited
  • Narrator can see into ONE character’s mind.
3rd person pov limited1
3rd Person POV: Limited
  • All characters have thought privacy except ONE.

3rd Person POV: Limited

  • Gives the impression that we are very close to the mind of that ONE character, though viewing it from a distance.
3rd person pov limited2
3rd Person POV: Limited
  • Sometimes this narrator can be too focused or may impose his/her own opinions with no grounds.
3rd person pov limited3
3rd Person POV: Limited
  • The girl he loved was shy and quick and the smallest in the class, and usually she said nothing, but one day she opened her mouth and roared, and when the teacher--it was French class--asked her what she was doing, she said, in French, I am a lion, and he wanted to smell her breath and put his hand against the rumblings in her throat.

--Elizabeth Graver, “The Boy Who Fell Forty Feet” (1993)

3rd person pov objective
3rd Person POV: Objective
  • Narrator only describes and does not enter characters’ thoughts.
3rd person pov objective1
3rd Person POV: Objective
  • Like a video camera, the narrator reports what happens and what the characters are saying.
3rd person pov objective2
3rd Person POV: Objective
  • The narrator adds no comment about how the characters are feeling.
3rd person pov objective3
3rd Person POV: Objective
  • The narrator offers no comment on the mood of the setting—no mention of awkwardness, ease, tension etc...
3rd person pov objective4
3rd Person POV: Objective
  • The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green.  The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock; in some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 26th, but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o’clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.

            --Shirley Jackson, “The Lottery” (1948)

point of view1


Remember, Point of View =

Who is telling the story and how much they contribute.