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Narratives Or Points of View In Telling A Story

The point of view is how the writer is telling the story or what is called narrative. Is it by one of the characters? By a power that knows all sides of the story? By the author?


There are mainly 4 points of view depending on the first person, second person, and two types of the third person. Let’s do one at a time.

I. First-person

The first person means the pronouns “I” and “We”. You can write the story this way either by writing it like you are speaking to someone about what you did today or by a character’s point of view.


Examples:


"It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived." To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

"I cannot but conclude that the Bulk of your Natives, to be the most pernicious Race of little odious Vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the Surface of the Earth." Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

"I could not unlove him now, merely because I found that he had ceased to notice me." Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

"And I like large parties. They're so intimate. At small parties there isn't any privacy." The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

"I'm nobody! Who are you?

Are you nobody, too? Then there's a pair of us -- don't tell! They'd banish -- you know!" I'm Nobody! Who are You? by Emily Dickinson

Pros:

- You can address the reader. -You can lie or misdirect as it is a person talking -Have more real emotions as if the reader is feeling what the narrative is saying such as describing smells, what he sees, touches and so on

Cons:

-You can only express one point of view -Describing the teller of the story is a bit cliche because explaining how you look isn’t the same as someone else describing you -The teller of the story don’t know all sides of the story

II. Second-person

This narrative is rarely used is using the pronoun “you” to tell a story that makes it hard.

Examples:

"My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." - John F. Kennedy

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

"Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive." - Elbert Hubbard

"Hitch your wagon to a star." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." - Henry David Thoreau

Pros:

-Puts the reader in the situation

-You can talk to the reader freely

Cons

-Difficult to use

-Can be dangerous as if you are saying what a person should think or feel

III. Third-person

The third-person narrative is by using the pronouns “He”, “She”, They”, and “It”. As mentioned in the start, there are two main types of third-person narrative, which are omniscient and limited. This is the most used way of writing stories.

a. Omniscient

This is like a higher power that knows everything. What is fun about this is that the reader will find out the information before the character and will want to know how does the character reactors when they find out. This is less used than limited.

Examples:

"Just then another visitor entered the drawing room: Prince Andrew Bolkónski, the little princess’ husband. He was a very handsome young man, of medium height, with firm, clearcut features. Everything about him, from his weary, bored expression to his quiet, measured step, offered a most striking contrast to his quiet, little wife. It was evident that he not only knew everyone in the drawing room, but had found them to be so tiresome that it wearied him to look at or listen to them. And among all these faces that he found so tedious, none seemed to bore him so much as that of his pretty wife." Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace

"It was hardly a year since they had come to live at Tipton Grange with their uncle, a man nearly sixty, of acquiescent temper, miscellaneous opinions, and uncertain vote. He had traveled in his younger years, and was held in this part of the county to have contracted a too rambling habit of mind. Mr. Brooke's conclusions were as difficult to predict as the weather: it was only safe to say that he would act with benevolent intentions, and that he would spend as little money as possible in carrying them out."George Eliot’sMiddlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life

Pros:

-You can go to different characters thoughts and feeling

-You can tell everything you want about the story

-You cannot tell who will survive the story as if other narratives die; the story will end

Cons:

-Hard to build sympathy

-You cannot lie

-Having a lot of characters can be confusing

b. Limited

Limited is by saying a point of view of a person at a time. It is the most common way of telling a story.

Examples:

"Something very painful was going on in Harry's mind. As Hagrid's story came to a close, he saw again the blinding flash of green light, more clearly than he had ever remembered it before — and he remembered something else, for the first time in his life: a high, cold, cruel laugh.

Hagrid was watching him sadly." Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

"It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened. No. Wrong word, Jonas thought. Frightened meant that deep, sickening feeling of something terrible about to happen. Frightened was the way he had felt a year ago when an unidentified aircraft had overflown the community twice. He had seen it both times. Squinting toward the sky, he had seen the sleek jet, almost a blur at its high speed, go past, and a second later heard the blast of sound that followed. Then one more time, a moment later, from the opposite direction, the same plane." The Giver by Lois Lowry


Pros:

-You can show the characters mistake assumptions

-You can’t tell who will survive

-More intimate than omniscient

Cons:

-You can give only the information the main character know

-Less engaging than the firs-person

-Having many characters can be confusing

More information about narratives

You can change the narrative along the way. You might have a reason to move from first-person to third-person in chapter 5, for example. You must be careful, though. Transitioning can be dangerous.

To choose the best narrative for your story, you can right the main scene in all of the narratives and see which one conveys the feelings and information you want the reader to have.

I hope this article helped you. I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments, don’t forget to like this article, and share it with your loved ones.

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