Point Of View In Fiction

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Point of View.

Who sees? Who speaks? Why?
Point of view, in literary terms, is the perspective from which a narrative is told. The choice of point of view in fiction is probably the single most important decision a writer must make. This choice will bend and shape the narrative, control the storytelling and fundamentally affect the way the reader will respond to the characters. Percy Lubbock called point of view the “relation in which the narrator stands to the story” (Craft Of Fiction 1955 [1921]: 251). Focalization, a term coined by Gerard Genette (1972) as a replacement for the terms ‘perspective’ and ‘point of view’ and can be defined as a selection or restriction of narrative information in relation to the experience and knowledge
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But is it first of all the author’s story? The task of the writer is to make the reader believe that it isn’t. Norman Friedman says in his essay Point of View in fiction- the development of a critical concept’ – “the prime end of fiction is to produce as complete a story-illusion as possible. Given material potentially interesting, concentration and intensity, and hence vividness, are the results of working within limits, albeit self-imposed, and any lapse thereof is in all probability the result either of not establishing a limiting frame to begin with or of breaking the one already …show more content…
The ‘I’. We see the fictional world through the character’s eyes. Holden Caulfield in the Catcher in the Rye or Charley in Willy Valutin’s wonderful Lean on Pete, are good examples of first person viewpoint. They are both protagonists also as the first person narrator needs to be present in the key scenes in a story. This latter is also one of the disadvantage of first person viewpoint. The protagonist may not always narrate. In Sherlock Holmes, Watson narrates, though Sherlock is the protagonist and this works well because Watson doesn’t know everything – unlike Sherlock, so the ‘whodunit’ aspect of the story is intact. In Wuthering Heights, Lockwood and Nelly are the narrators, and Cathy and Heathcliff the protagonists. These are what are termed ‘displaced narrators.’ Patrick Kelly’s A Hard Place is told in first person, as is my own WIP. Linda’s Black Shadow is narrated in first person using two

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