POINT of VIEW From whose perspective...?
1st Person POV • I, me, my, we, our…
First person Narrator • Uses “I” • Story is told from a main character’s POV
First person Narrator Benefits: • Readers see events from the perspective of an important character • Readers often understand the main character better
First person Narrator Detriments: • The narrator may be unreliable—insane, naïve, deceptive, narrow minded etc... • Readers see only one perspective
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)
First person Narrator • There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft, or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his two motor-boats slit the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On weekends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight... --F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)
2nd Person POV • You, yours, your, yourself
2nd Person POV • A second-person POV is rare • Uses “you” and presents commands • Often the narrator is speaking to him/herself
2nd Person POV • “Wash the white clothes on Monday and put them on the stone heap; wash the color clothes on Tuesday and put them on the clothesline to dry; don't walk barehead in the hot sun; cook pumpkin fritters in very hot sweet oil; soak your little cloths right after you take them off; when buying cotton to make yourself a nice blouse, be sure that it doesn't have gum on it, because that way it won't hold up well after a wash; soak salt fish overnight before you cook it;” --Jamaica Kincaid, “Girl”
2nd Person POV • You are not the kind of guy who would be a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy. You are at a nightclub talking to a girl with a shaved head. The club is either Heartbreak or the Lizard Lounge. All might come clear if you could just slip into the bathroom and do a little more Bolivian Marching Powder. Then again, it might not. --Jay McInerney, Bright Lights, Big City (1984)
3rd Person POV • Omniscient • Limited • Objective
3rd Person POV: Omniscient • Omniscient = all knowing…the narrator can see into the minds of all characters
3rd Person POV: Omniscient A poor man had twelve children and worked night and day just to get enough bread for them to eat. Now when the thirteenth came into the world, he did not know what to do and in his misery ran out onto the great highway to ask the first person he met to be godfather. The first to come along was God, and he already knew what it was that weighed on the man’s mind and said, “Poor man, I pity you. I will hold your child at the font and I will look after it and make it happy upon earth.” • --Jakob & Wilhelm Grimm, “Godfather Death” (1812)
3rd Person POV: Limited • Narrator can see into ONE character’s mind.
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: 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: Limited • Although she had been around them her whole life, it was when she reached thirty-five that holding babies seemed to make her nervous--just at the beginning, a twinge of stage fright swinging up from the gut. “Andrienne, would you like to hold the baby? Would you mind?” Always these words from a woman her age looking kind and beseeching--a former friend, she was losing her friends to babble and beseech--and Andrienne would force herself to breathe deep. Holding a baby was no longer natural--she was no longer natural--but a test of womanliness and earthly skills. • --Lorrie Moore, “Terrific Mother” (1992)
3rd Person POV: Objective • Narrator only describes and does not enter characters’ thoughts.
3rd Person POV: Objective • Like a video camera, the narrator reports what happens and what the characters are saying.
3rd Person POV: Objective • The narrator adds no comment about how the characters are feeling.
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: 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)
3rd Person POV: Objective "You should have killed yourself last week," he said to the deaf man. The old man motioned with his finger. "A little more," he said. The waiter poured on into the glass so that the brandy slopped over and ran down the stem into the top saucer of the pile. "Thank you," the old man said. The waiter took the bottle back inside the cafe. He sat down at the table with his colleague again. "He's drunk now," he said. "He's drunk every night." "What did he want to kill himself for?" "How should I know." "How did he do it?" "He hung himself with a rope." "Who cut him down?" "His niece." "Why did they do it?" "Fear for his soul." “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” by Ernest Hemingway
POINT of VIEW Remember, Point of View = Who is telling the story and how much they contribute. The end.