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Narrative Voice and POV

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  1. Narrative Voice and POV Ariana Mazzucchelli Brandon Clayton Troy Nickens

  2. Terms of Focus • Narrative Voice • First-Person • Third-Person Omniscient (Objective or Intrusive) • Third-Person Limited (can be Stream of Consciousness) • Second-Person

  3. Narrative Voice • The voice for the author, in the form of various convictions and values by which he or she judges characters and events as well as evokes judgments in the reader, stands behind every fictional narrative.

  4. First-Person • When the point of view can be identified by the pronoun that the narrator uses to recount events: “I” (or, occasionally, “we”). • Classification: Narrative • Ex. “She put me into new clothes again, and I couldn’t do nothing but sweat and sweat and feel all cramped up.”(Huck Finn)

  5. Third-Person Omniscient • The narrator can enter the consciousness of any character, evaluate motives, explain feelings, recount the background and predict the outcome of situations. • Classification: Narrative • Objective: The narrator’s presence is merely implied. • Ex. She was afloat in the boat on the water with the moonlight on it. Nick went back and lay down with his face in the blanket by the fire. He could hear Marjorie rowing on the water. (The Assistant,1957) • Intrusive: The narrator offers philosophical or moral commentary on the characters and the events he depicts. • Ex. There is little doubt that Osborne believed all he said, and that the girls were quite earnest in their protestations of affection for Miss Swartz. People in vanity Fair fasten on to rich folks quite naturally (Vanity Fair, 1848).

  6. Third-Person Limited • Restricts the point of view to the understanding and experience of one or, in some cases, of a few characters. • Classification: Narrative • Ex. “As he sat there, living over his life with her and evoking alternately the two images in which he now conceived her, he realized that she was dead, that she had ceased to exist, that she had become a memory (Henry V).” • Stream of Consciousness: Used to replicate thought process of the character with little or no intervention by the narrator. • Ex. “Those races are on today. How long ago is that? Year Phil Gilligan died. We were in Lombard street west. Wait, was in Thom’s. Got the job in Wisdom Hely’s year we married (The Sound and Fury, 1929).”

  7. Second-Person • Narrator addresses the audience directly using the pronoun “you”, and assumes that the audience is experiencing the events along with the narrator. • Classification: Narrative • Ex. “Had you gone for a Sunday afternoon ride that day you might have seen him, close to naked, standing on the shoulders of Route 424, waiting for a chance to cross (The Swimmer, 1964).”