Presentation on theme: "Elements of Literature Point of View: Who Tells the Story?"— Presentation transcript:
1 Elements of Literature Point of View: Who Tells the Story? by John Leggett
2 OverviewNarrator - The person telling the story who may or may not be a character in the story.First-person - Narrator participates in action but sometimes has limited knowledge/vision.Second person - Narrator addresses the reader directly as though she is part of the story. (i.e. “You walk into your bedroom. You see clutter everywhere and…”)Third Person (Objective) - Narrator is unnamed/unidentified (a detached observer). Does not assume character's perspective and is not a character in the story. The narrator reports on events and lets the reader supply the meaning.Omniscient - All-knowing narrator (multiple perspectives). The narrator knows what each character is thinking and feeling, not just what they are doing throughout the story. This type of narrator usually jumps around within the text, following one character for a few pages or chapters, and then switching to another character for a few pages, chapters, etc. Omniscient narrators also sometimes step out of a particular character’s mind to evaluate him or her in some meaningful way.Limited – Narrator is not all-knowing.
3 Who’s Talking? You’ve probably noticed, in your life as well as in books, that who is telling a story has a lot to do with what gets told. The standpoint from which a story is told is called point of view. There are three points of view you’re likely to come across in your reading and use in your writing: third-person omniscient, first person, and third-person limited.
4 The Know it allIn a story told from the third-person omniscient point of view, the narrator is outside the story and knows everything that happens and everything that goes on in the minds of all the characters: As the musher lay trying to recover, he realized how much trouble he was in. “The dogs could be miles away by now,” he thought, wincing. Above the gully, Obeah growled and pulled the team around. He knew they had to get back to their musher—but how? The omniscient narrator can describe the thoughts and feelings of different characters in the story. This narrator may also reveal information unknown to some or all of the characters—including what is happening in several places at the same time. This point of view reminds the reader of an important truth: that there is more than one side to every story.
5 Me, Me, MeThe first-person point of view is the “I” point of view. Writers normally use the first person when they tell stories about their own lives. If you’ve ever written a letter or kept a diary, you’ve almost certainly written in the first person. Like nearly all autobiographies, Gary Paulsen’s Woodsong is told from the first-person point of view of the writer: “Shock and pain came in waves and I had to close my eyes several times. All of this was in minutes that seemed like hours, and I realized that I was in serious trouble.”
6 Me, Me, MeIn fiction narrated from the first-person point of view, the “I” who speaks is not the writer but a character in the story. That character is usually the main character, but not always. If Paulsen rewrote Woodsong as a novel, he might choose to tell it from the first-person point of view of his lead dog: I was having the time of my life tearing down that new trail at the head of the team. All of a sudden I noticed how light the sled felt. I looked around, and there was our musher lying on the ice down in the gully.
7 Reliable Narrator? Just like people, narrators can lie or exaggerate. In a first-person point of view, the Narrator is a character, so is still subject to all human flaws.So ask yourself:Fact or opinion?What’s his/her personality?Is there any motive to lie?
8 He Said, She Said In the third-person limited point of view, the story is also told from a single character’s standpoint—but here the character is referred to in the third person, as he or she: Shock and pain came in waves and Paulsen had to close his eyes several times. All of this was in minutes that seemed like hours, and he realized that he was in serious trouble.
9 He Said, She Said This point of view is popular with fiction writers because it allows them to give the reader information that the character would be unlikely to provide—such as a description of his or her own appearance.(“I have beautiful, shiny black hair and big brown eyes with long lashes” sounds a little strange unless the character is supposed to be conceited.)
10 He Said, She Said When you read a story told from the first-person or the third-person limited point of view, you share the thoughts and feelings of a single character and know only what he or she knows.Most writers of fiction published today tell their stories from the point of view of one character to help make the stories realistic.After all, we each go through life seeing things from only one person’s point of view—our own.