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← First person vs. Second person vs. Third person - Rebekah Bergman

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Mostrar Revisión5 creada 06/25/2020 por lauren mcalpine .

  1. “I am an invisible man.”
  2. “Mrs. Dalloway said she would
    buy the flowers herself.”

  3. “You are about to begin reading
    Italo Calvino's new novel.”

  4. These three opening lines,
    from Ralph Ellison’s "Invisible Man,"

  5. Virginia Woolf’s "Mrs. Dalloway,"
  6. and Italo Calvino’s
    "If on a winter’s night a traveler,"
  7. each establish a different point of view.
  8. Who is telling a story,
    and from what perspective,
  9. are some of the most important choices
    an author makes.
  10. Told from a different point of view,
    a story can transform completely.
  11. Take this fairytale:

  12. "Rapunzel, Rapunzel,"
    the Prince called, "let down your hair."
  13. Rapunzel unbraided her hair
    and slung it out the window.
  14. The prince climbed her tresses
    into the tower.
  15. Rapunzel is typically told like this,
    with the narrator outside the story.
  16. This point of view is called third person.
  17. But Rapunzel can also be told
    by a character in the story—

  18. a first person narrator.
  19. The tail end of Rapunzel’s locks
    plopped down at my feet.
  20. I grabbed on and began to climb… ugh!
  21. I couldn’t untangle myself.
  22. Strands came off all over me,
    sticking to my sweat.
  23. In a first person narrative, the story
    can change dramatically

  24. depending on which character
    is the narrator.
  25. Say Rapunzel was narrating
    instead of the prince:
  26. I hope he appreciates how long it takes
    to unbraid 25 feet of hair, I thought.
  27. OUCH! I'll be honest; I thought my scalp
    would stretch off of my skull.
  28. "Can you climb any faster?" I yelled.
  29. In second person, the narrator addresses
    the story to the reader:

  30. He calls your name. He wants you
    to let your hair down.
  31. You just finished braiding it, but hey–
    you don't get a lot of visitors.
  32. Third person, first person,
    and second person perspectives

  33. each have unique possibilities
    and constraints.
  34. So how do you choose a point
    of view for your story?
  35. Constraints aren’t necessarily
    a bad thing—

  36. they can help focus a story
    or highlight certain elements.
  37. For example,
  38. a third person narrator is necessarily
    a bit removed from the characters.
  39. But that can be good for stories
    where a feeling of distance is important.
  40. A third person narrator
    can be either limited,
  41. meaning they stick close to one
    character’s thoughts and feelings,
  42. or they can be omniscient,
    able to flit between characters’ minds
  43. and give the reader more information.
  44. A first person story creates closeness
    between the reader and the narrator.

  45. It’s also restricted
    by the narrator’s knowledge.
  46. This can create suspense
  47. as the reader finds out information
    along with the character.
  48. A first person narrator
    doesn’t necessarily
  49. have to represent the character’s
    experience faithfully—
  50. they can be delusional or dishonest.
  51. In Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel
    "The Remains of the Day,"
  52. Stevens, an aging British butler in 1956,
    recounts his many years of service,
  53. but fails to acknowledge the flaws
    of the man he serves.
  54. The cracks in his narrative eventually
    draw the reader’s attention
  55. to the under-acknowledged failings
    of the culture and class system
  56. he inhabits.
  57. Justin Torres’s novel, "We the Animals,"

  58. begins with a plural
    first person narrator:
  59. “We were six snatching hands,
    six stomping feet;
  60. we were brothers, boys, three little kings
    locked in a feud for more.”
  61. Partway through the story,
    the point of view shifts
  62. to first person singular,
    from we to I, as the boys come of age
  63. and one brother feels alienated
    from the others.
  64. Second person is a less common choice.

  65. It requires the writer to make the reader
    suspend disbelief to become another “you.”
  66. Placing the reader
    in a character’s perspective
  67. can build urgency and suspense.
  68. Sometimes, though,
  69. second person is intended to distance
    the narrator from their own story,
  70. rather than bring the reader closer
    to the story.
  71. In these cases,
  72. second person narrators refer
    to themselves as “you” rather than “I.”
  73. Writers are constantly experimenting
    with fresh variations on point of view.

  74. New virtual and augmented
    reality technologies
  75. may expand the possibilities
    for this experimentation.
  76. By placing people at a particular
    vantage point in virtual space,
  77. how might we change the way
    we tell and experience stories?