Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How to Write an Essay or Paper - Point of View

Another literary tool that you could analyze for a literary anaylsis paper would be Point of View.


Simply put, the point of view is the perspective from which the story is told. First, you need to determine what point of view is present in the literature you are analyzing. Here are the common choices:

First person - the narrator is generally the main character in the book and tells the story as "I" (I did this, I said, I felt)

First person plural - more rare, with the story told by "we" (we did this, we said that)

Second person - very rare - the reader is treated as a character and is referred to as "you." This type of POV works well for some non-fiction works. For example, if I was writing a How-to article, I could use this to say "First, you take the paint brush and apply paint. Then you do this and this and this." For fiction though, this POV isn't used often.

Third person limited - the narrator is outside the story but focuses on one character at a time. (He said, she said). While the POV may change between different characters, these changes would be separated by scene or chapter breaks.

Third person omniscient - the narrator is outside the story but doesn't focus on one character. The narrator knows all, sees all, conveys all.

Once you know which type of POV is being utilized in the piece of literature you are writing about, you can analyze how the use of the POV works in the story. Some questions you might ask could be:
  • Does the POV work well?
  • Why or why not?
  • Would it work better told from another POV?
  • Why or why not?
  • If the POV is third person limited, is the story told by one character or several?
  • If told by only one character, would the story have worked better told by more than one, or by a different character than the one chosen?
  • Why do you think the author chose the POV they did?
  • Does the POV limit the story? Intensify it? Create mystery? Create confusion?
Go through every aspect of the POV used in the story that you can think of, analyzing if it works well or not, using specific examples from the book and outside sources to back up your statements.


Diana Paz said...

Lots of good info here, thanks!