Thursday, September 2, 2010

Using Point-of-View

The voice behind a story is called point of view.

Point of view is the perspective from which a story is told. There are a variety of ways to employ the use of point of view. For example, an author may choose an objective approach, using 'he' and 'she during storytelling', and using 'I' only in conversations. Such narration is known as third-person point of view.

Second-person point of view is when an author refers to the audience as though they are part of story, saying "You get up in the morning, and there you are, perfectly happy!" It is hard to properly use second-person point of view without interrupting the flow of the story, and so, it is rarely used in literature.

However, other authors might describe the story's events from a first-person point of view, using several 'I' statements to that effect. Popular novelist Stephanie Myer used the first-person point of view for two of her main characters in her series of Twilight books. One main character explained major plot points, and another main character went on to narrate the remainder of the last book in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn.

In William Faulkner's short story, A Rose for Emily, point of view has an even more diverse outlook. His story is told in a plural point of view, also known as alternating point of view. The whole town narrates the story, with the word 'we' used to describe the collective narration of A Rose for Emily: "One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair." Any point of view in a story that derives from the norm can be called alternating point of view, like when two types of narration are used in the same story, switching from third to first-person point of view.

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