Today’s Standard • Contrast points of view (e.g., first and third person, limited and omniscient, subjective and objective) in narrative text
Point of view is the vantage point, or angle, from which a story is told. There are three basic points of view: first-, third- and second-person. • First-person point of view: the narrator is someone who takes part in the action of the story. Narrator uses pronouns such as I, me, my, we, and our to describe the action and tell about thoughts and feelings. • Example: When I went to bed that night, I thought about how bad it was in my house, how much I loved Stuart, and how glad I was that Smedley and Ms. Finney were at school. • Paula Danziger, The Cat Ate My Gymsuit
Third-person point of view: The narrator is someone who observes the action of a story but doesn’t take part in the events. Narrator uses pronouns such as he, she him, her, they, and them. Narrator describes the action and the characters but does not include his or her own experience. Example: When Meg woke to the jangling of her alarm clock the wind was still blowing but the sun was shining; the worst of the storm was over. She sat up in bed, shaking her head to clear it. Madeleine L/Engle, A Wrinkle in Time Second-person point of view:The narrator addresses the reader using the pronoun you. Directions and instructions often use this point of view. Example: After you have chosen the materials, you can begin designing the costume.
Omniscient (all knowing) point of view: The narrator knows everything about the characters and their problems. The narrator can tell what the characters are thinking and what is happening in several places at the same time. The narrator does not take part in the story’s action, but rather, stands above the action like a god. Example: Without, the night was cold and wet, but in the small parlor of Lakesnam Villa the blinds were drawn and the fire burned brightly. Father and son were at chess, the former, who possessed ideas about the game involving radical changes, putting his king into such sharp and unnecessary perils… W.W. Jacobs, The Monkey’s Paw Limited point of view: The narrator is not all knowing and can only tell the story from one, or more, person’s perspective. The narrator cannot tell what all characters are thinking.
Objective: Not emotionally involved, not voicing personal opinion, unbiased. Examples: newspaper articles or TV news reports. Subjective: Gives opinion, has personal investment or connection. Examples: editorials in the newspaper, a persuasive speech..
Practice A. Read the following paragraph and identify the point of view from which it is told: Heavily bundled against antarctic cold, Lisa Zidek and Jackie McCray walk over slippery rocks on a barren coast, carrying buckets of fish and a clipboard. Suddenly the water is torn by penguins, zooming up onto shore as if they’d been fired from submarine cannons. Opening their beaks wide and pointing them straight up, they waddle quickly up to the women. David Berreby, “Where the Wild Things Are” The following paragraph is written in third-person. Rewrite it as a first-person narrative. The young boy slipped the mask and snorkel over his face, took a deep breath, and dove into the cool green water. After the morning’s snorkeling lesson, he was eager to explore the coral reef. As he swam along the rocky ledge, he spied a pair of brightly colored parrot fish. Below him a manta ray fluttered across the ocean floor. The boy felt a reef, he spotted something larger and more ominous. He recognized it instantly—a shark!
Write a paragraph about the following incident: A students first day of school, entering the classroom. using the following points of view. First person (you are the student). Third person limited (from the teacher’s perspective) Omniscient (god like view of the classroom and it’s occupants)