How can I rewrite a section of the novel from someone else's point of view other than Scout's?Harper Lee's  To Kill a Mockingbird

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The key to rewriting a section of a narrative from another character's point of view is to strive to maintain in the narration the personality of that character in order to attain verisimilitude.  So, in choosing another character as narrator, you may wish to select a section in which this character is deeply involved, and thus project this character's point of view based upon his/her dialogue, reactions, etc. that are provided for the reader in this section, or scenes.

For instance, if you wish to narrate the courtroom drama involving the testimony of the Ewells, you could choose Tom Robinson's point of view as he watches and listens to the father and daughter perjure themselves. And, from having read about his reactions and words when he is on the stand, you know that Tom is filled with trepidation about the verdict. Surely, he would express his fear and anger both regarding the falsity of accusations against him.  It seems likely, too, that he would be dismayed and disappointed in Mayella's refusal to disclaim anything that her father says.

Here is an example of how you could rewrite a section from Chapter 18 in which Scout narrates after Mayella testifies that Tom choked her and "took advantage" of her.  When Mr. Gilmer asks if she screamed, Mayella affirms that she did, "I hollered for all I was worth."  Then, she tells the prosecutor that she does not remember what happened except that she saw her father standing over her "hollerin' who done it? Who done it?" After hearing this, Scout reacts,

Apparently Mayella's recital had given her confidence but it was not her father's brash kind:  there was something stealthy about hers, like a steady-eyed cat with a twitchy tail.

Tom's reaction would probably be less distanced and more reactive:

Mayella's words have pinned me to a wall.  How could she just lie against me so? She seemed to be someone who needed sympathy and help, but she is as mean as her father. Has she not considered what can happen to me?

Another character that might prove interesting as the narrator is Boo Radley. Of course, since Boo does not speak, you will need to look at other forms of characterization such as his actions of sewing Jem's pants and leaving gifts for the children in the knothole, actions that indicate his desire for some communication with Jem and Scout. Clearly, he has a yearning for some meaning and love in his life. And, of course, there are several other characters who offer great possibilities.



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