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Point of View

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Point of View
The Story’s Voice
What Is Point of View?
Point of view is the vantage point from which a writer tells
a story.
•A writer tells a story through the voice of a narrator. A
narrator may be an outside observer or a character in
the story.
•Everything you learn about the characters, events, and
places in a story depends on the narrator’s point of
Points of View
The three most common points of view are
•third-person limited
•first person
Omniscient Point of View
•In the omniscient point of view, the narrator plays no
part in the story but can tell us what all the characters
are thinking and feeling as well as what is happening in
other places.
•The omniscient narrator
•can tell us as much or as little as the writer permits
•may tell us what all—or only some—of the characters are
thinking, feeling, and observing
•may comment on the story’s meaning, characters, or
Omniscient Point of View
Just outside the auditorium entrance, students milled about nervously
and waited to be called in for the audition. A few had paired off to practice
their lines together, but most stood or sat alone engaged in their own
calming rituals. Ruth stood in the corner and talked to the wall in a low
voice. She would be graduating this year, and she desperately wanted to be
Juliet. She was trying to get just the right tone of voice for the balcony
scene. Gary, dressed in all black, paced back and forth in front of the
mirror- lined wall and periodically glanced at his reflection and smoothed his
dark hair. He was auditioning for Mercutio, but he was worried that Mr.
Glover would think he was too much of a “comedic” actor to give him a
more serious role. Janis sat with her back against the row of lockers, her
knees tucked up close to her body, and stared at the floor as she recited
the lines in her head. She didn’t really care what part she got as long as
she had a speaking role. She had been an extra in the last two productions
and was ready for more responsibility.
Third-Person-Limited Point of View
•In the third-person-limited point of view, the narrator
plays no part in the story but zooms in on the thoughts
and feelings of one character.
•The third-person narrator
•views the actions from the vantage point of a single
•can tell us only what that single character is thinking,
feeling, and observing
Third-Person-Limited Point of View
Gary paced back and forth in front of the mirror-lined wall. He glanced
toward Ruth and smiled. She looked so odd standing in the corner talking to
the wall. He admired the way she could totally immerse herself in a
character and ignore the outside world. He was too aware of what other
people thought of him. He sometimes played the clown, but only when he
knew that he could get a laugh. Mr. Glover said he tried too hard to
entertain people. Maybe that was why Mr. Glover always cast him in a
comic role.
This time, though, he wanted a chance to try his hand at more serious
acting. Mercutio’s character seemed the perfect role for him—sometimes
foolish and other times brooding and angry.
First-Person Point of View
•In the first-person point of view, the narrator is a
character in the story and tells the story using the firstperson pronoun I.
•The first-person narrator
•participates in the action of the story
•can tell us only what he or she is feeling, thinking, or
•may or may not be objective, honest, or perceptive about
what’s going in the story
First-Person Point of View
I stared at the wall and tried to remember what it felt like to be fourteen
and have a major crush on a guy. I’ve never felt love as intensely as Juliet.
Personally, I always thought that Juliet’s character was a bit too impulsive
and naГЇve. But, who was I to quibble with Shakespeare? I was willing to set
aside my personal opinions for a chance to play one of the most famous
female characters in drama. What better way to end my high school drama
career than to play the role of Juliet.
Before I could get the role, though, I would have to impress Mr. Glover.
I closed my eyes and pictured myself standing on the balcony as Juliet: My
heart is heavy because my love is my sworn enemy, and I’ll probably never
get the chance to see him again. My voice is sad and full of longing. “O,
Why Is Point of View Important?
•The narrator’s point of view determines what and how
much you learn about the story’s characters, events,
and places.
•It’s important to evaluate the credibility and knowledge
of the narrator. Ask yourself:
•How much does this narrator know and understand?
•How much does this narrator want me to know?
•How would this story be different if someone else were
telling it?
•Can I trust this narrator?
What Have You Learned?
Match these terms with the correct definition.
Third-person limited
First person
The narrator is a character in the story and
tells what he or she experiences.
_________________— The narrator is an observer and knows
everything about all the characters.
The narrator is an observer and describes
the thoughts and feelings of just one
The End
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