Tomilya Simmons 10/5/11 Period 1 Point of View Notes p238 Point

Tomilya Simmons
Period 1
Point of View Notes p238
Point of view
a. Point of view: who tells the story
b. Determines how the story is told
i. “Who tells the story?” “How much is this person allowed to know?”
and “To what extent does the narrator look inside the characters
and report their thoughts and feelings?”
c. 4 basic points of view: Omniscient, 3rd person limited (major or minor
character), 1st person (major or minor character), and objective
Omniscient point of view
a. In third person by a narrator whose knowledge and prerogatives are
b. Free to peer inside the minds and hearts of characters
c. Can interpret behavior and comment on the significance of their stories
d. They know all (can tell us as much or as little as they please)
e. Most flexible p.o.v. and permits the widest scope
f. The most subject to abuse; the narrator may come between the readers
and the story or the continual shifting in perspectives may cause a
breakdown in unity if coherence
Third person limited point of view
a. Told in the third person but from the viewpoint of one character in the story
i. pov characters are filters through whose eyes and minds writers
look at the events
ii. Authors may move inside and outside pov characters but never
leave their sides
iii. We’re told what the character’s see, hear, think and feel; authors
possibly interpret the character’s thoughts and behaviors
iv. Major or minor character, a participant or an observer
b. Limited to pov characters’ perceptions and show no direct knowledge of
what other characters are thinking or feeling or doing, except for what the
point of view character knows or can infer
c. Approximates more closely than the omniscient the conditions of real life;
offers a readymade unifying element since all of the story is the
experience of one characters
d. Offers an additional device for characterization, since what a p.o.v.
character does/doesn’t find noteworthy and the inferences drawn about
other characters’ actions and motives may reveal biases or limitations in
the observer
e. Also offers limited field of observation because we know only what the
p.o.v. character knows, and there may be difficulty having the character
naturally cognizant of important events
f. Stream of consciousness: a variant of 3rd person limited pov that presents
the apparently random thoughts going through a character’s head within a
certain period of time, mingling memory and present experiences, and
employing transitional links rather than strictly logical
First person point of view
a. The author disappears into one of the characters
b. Either major or minor, protagonist/observer
c. Offers, sometimes, a gain in immediacy and reality
d. No opportunity for direct interpretation by the author and danger that
narrator may be made to transcend their own sensitivity, knowledge, or
powers of language in telling a story
e. Offers excellent opportunities for dramatic irony and for studies in limited
or blunted human perceptiveness conventional
Objective point of view (aka the dramatic point of view)
a. The narrator disappears into a kind of roving sound camera that can
record only is seen or heard
b. Cannot comment, interpret, or enter a character’s mind
c. Readers are placed in the position of spectators at a movie or play and
must draw inferences without direct interpretation from the author
d. Relies on external action and dialogue (purest example of objective pov)