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How does the point of view affect the reader's perception of the story? If a different...

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mvalenta1 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 1, 2009 at 7:59 AM via web

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How does the point of view affect the reader's perception of the story? If a different point of view was used, what would the reader gain or lose?

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lehawagner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted February 2, 2009 at 8:34 AM (Answer #1)

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It really depends on the story itself.  For example, if "The Lottery" was written from a first person narrative, then the surprise purpose of the lottery would be revealed immediately at the story's beginning through the fear and anxiety of the narrator.  Because it is written in limited omniscience, the suspense is able to build.

First person narratives usually allow the reader to connect more quickly to the narrator, and thus the narrative he/she is telling.  Be careful though! With this narration, you run the risk of being lied to, or having events and/or other characters misconstrued.

Third person limited is where the narrator is not usually a character in the book, although some authors have crafted in this way.  This narrator knows the scene as a whole and can describe each character fairly objectively.  They usually only delve deeply in the motivations and thoughts of one or a few main characters though.  This can be more beneficial than the omniscient narrator because you don't need to follow the thoughts and processes of minor characters.

Third person omniscient is when the narrator knows, sees, and usually reveals all.   This narrator can tell the reader the thoughts, intents, actions and consequences of not only the main characters, but also the not-so-important ones.  This narration helps to get a great and reliable overview of each person in the story, but it is hard to convey any mystery or suspense with this narration.

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