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Point of View

When the author chooses a point of view, they can significantly affect how the story is told and how much information the reader is given. The author can limit the amount of information a reader receives if they use a first person, but if he uses a third person omniscient, the reader can get information from the character's thoughts or feelings. Depending on the point of view, the author can give you limited or detailed information on one or many characters in the story. Depending on how the author wants you to interpret the story will decide what point of view is used.

There are three different types of point of view, first, second, and third person, and each has its own variation.

First person is when the story is being told by someone within the story. It involves the narrator as a character in the story who describes and tells what they see, hear, and know. They can not always be trusted, as they are just stating their thoughts and perspectives. They can be very biased in how they interpret and tell the story.

If the narrator is the main character it is called first person protagonist. The story is told by someone in the middle of the action and might not be able to interpret what is going on. If the story is narrated by a secondary character then the point of view is first person observer. The story is being told by an observer of the action rather than by the main character and is free to comment on the action. First person witness is another point of view which involves a second character that is narrating the main character's story as events occur to them but they almost no role in the plot.

The Second person point of view tells the story about another character (the reader) using 'You'. It is the least commonly used. It is used mostly in self help books for example 'How to become a writer'. The narrator speaks to the protagonist. "You woke up this morning, in a bad mood. Feeling sluggish, you decided to stay in bed and sleep the day away". This point of view is not too popular due to how easy it is to confuse the readers. The second person point of view tells the reader what they are to do or what they are to believe, which is just another reason it is so unpopular because people don't like being told what to believe.

Third person, also known as Objective or Dramatic point of view is when the narrator isn't a part of the story but is told by someone outside it. In one form of third person, the narrator can go anywhere in the story but can't see into the minds of the characters or comment on the story. In third person the narrator can either be Omniscient or Limited Omniscient. Omniscient point of view gives the narrator unlimited knowledge. An omniscient view, allows that person to know everything. They can see into the hearts and the minds of the characters and knows how each character thinks and feels about the circumstances, setting, problems and the other characters. They can see into the minds of any character and go anywhere in the story. This point of view is the most flexible, as the narrator can interpret behaviour and comment on the significant part of the story. In Limited Omniscient the narrator is limited to seeing into the mind of only one character. The narrator knows everything about this one character, even things they may not know about themselves.







First Person


I had never been on a roller coaster this big before. My biggest fear was that I would scream like a girl and my friends would laugh at me. John was in front of me laughing and joking; he didn’t seem nervous at all. Andrea and Julie were also smiling and laughing. I had to put on a brave face. This was my first date with Julie, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of her. All I could think of doing right now was to try to take the attention off my own nervousness, and so I said: “Hey John! Are you going to cry like you did on the Ferris Wheel?”

John blushed and looked a bit ashamed. I knew he didn’t cry on the Ferris Wheel, but he was easily embarrassed, especially around girls. He’s had that problem for as long as I’ve known him. Andrea and Julie giggled while John stammered a meagre self-defense. “Sh..shut up Alan...I didn’t cry!”



Third Person Objective (Camera View)


Alan stood fidgeting in the roller coaster line-up. John was in front of him laughing and joking; he didn’t seem nervous at all. Andrea and Julie were also smiling and laughing. Alan said: “Hey John! Are you going to cry like you did on the Ferris Wheel?”

John blushed and looked a bit ashamed. Andrea and Julie giggled while John stammered a meagre self-defense. “Sh..shut up Alan...I didn’t cry!”

Andrea grabbed John's hand and turned to go on the roller coaster. “Ignore him,” she said. “Let’s go.”




Third Person Limited


Alan had never been on a roller coaster this big before. His biggest fear was that he would scream like a girl and his friends would laugh at him. John was in front of him laughing and joking; he didn’t seem nervous at all. Andrea and Julie were also smiling and laughing. He had to put on a brave face. This was his first date with Julie, and he didn’t want to embarrass himself in front of her. All he could think of doing right then was to try to take the attention off his own nervousness, and so he said: “Hey John! Are you going to cry like you did on the Ferris Wheel?” Alan smiled inside at the look of horror on John’s face.

John blushed and looked a bit ashamed. He didn’t cry on the Ferris Wheel, but he was easily embarrassed, especially around girls. Andrea and Julie giggled while John stammered a meagre self-defense. “Sh..shut up Alan...I didn’t cry!”

Alan watched as Andrea grabbed John's hand and turned to go on the roller coaster. “Ignore him,” she said. “Let’s go.”




Third Person Omniscient


Alan had never been on a roller coaster this big before. He thought with a sense of dread that he would scream like a girl and his friends would laugh at him. This was his first date with Julie, and he didn’t want to embarrass himself in front of her. Please let me be cool, he thought, as he wiped his sweaty palms on his pants. He had to think of a way to ease his sense of fear and take the focus away from himself.

Julie glanced over at Alan and smiled warmly. I’m so glad he asked me to come with him. This is the best day ever!, she thought, not even noticing the drops of sweat beginning to form on Alan's forehead. She was just about to reach for his hand when Alan suddenly blurted, “Hey John! Are you going to cry like you did on the Ferris Wheel?”

John recoiled with horror. Why did Alan say that? It’s not true. He was only able to stammer a meagre self-defense. “Sh..shut up Alan...I didn’t cry!” His day had been going so well, and he and Andrea had been hitting it off great. Now Alan had ruined it, and there was no way Andrea would want to go on a second date.

Andrea giggled at first, but then her smile quickly turned to a frown. How could Alan be such a jerk?, she thought. She grabbed John’s hand and turned to go on the roller coaster. “Ignore him,” she said. “let’s go.”

Julie began to question the wisdom of coming with Alan. Maybe he’s not the guy I thought he was, she thought with some remorse.