Narrative technique - Point of View

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author

The writer of the story, essay, novella, novel, etc.

narrator

The person telling the story (usually NOT the author)

narrative perspective

the point of view, ie. the vantage point or stance from which a story is told, the eye and mind through which the action is perceived and filtered

third-person limited

the narrator is limited to the knowledge and perception of one single character

first-person as protagonist

A character in the story tells the story, using the pronoun I. The narration is limited to this character's thoughts, feelings and perception

third-person observer

the narrator is not a character in the story, nor does he know the thoughts and feelings of the story's characters

third-person omniscient

Point of view in which an omniscient narrator (a persona with godlike knowledge) has the knowledge of thoughts and actions of all characters (past, present, future)

unreliable narrator

a narrator whose account of events appears to be faulty, misleadingly biased, or otherwise distorted

shift of point of view

a change in perspective from one character to another, or one perspective to another

first-person as observer

the narrator is a minor character in the story who plays the role of an eyewitness. His sources of information are what he hears and sees and what the main character tells him.

credibility / intimacy

terms usually associated with a first-person point of view

interior monologue

a narrative technique that records a character's internal flow of (unspoken) thoughts, memories, and ideas

character

a person who takes part in the action of a literary work

unlimited scope

usually associated with an omniscient point of view. A narrator with an unlimited scope has a "godlike" position and access to all characters' thoughts past, present, future

self-effacing author

a writer who presents the actions, thoughts, and dialogue of characters from an objective point of view, without personal or subjective commentary

authorial-narrative-situation

narrator may comment on the discourse/action in a way that transcends the scope of the characters in the story

figural-narrative-situation

narrator does not comment on the discourse/action of different characters, as he is limited to the critical insight of one or more specific characters

persona

a mask, or "second self" through which the author tells a story

naive narrator

a narrator not fully understanding all implications of his/her tale

fly-on-the-wall-technique

narrator is restricted to only those objects and details that can be seen and heard by an invisible witness

objective narrator

the narrator is impersonal, i.e. he/she reports from outside as a "hidden observer"

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