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What point of view is "My Shadow" by Robert Louis Stevenson written in?

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lopezraad4 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted February 26, 2012 at 9:43 AM via web

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What point of view is "My Shadow" by Robert Louis Stevenson written in?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 27, 2012 at 3:44 AM (Answer #1)

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"My Shadow" is an 1885 poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, collected in his anthology A Child's Garden of Verses. The poem concerns a child whose shadow often acts of its own accord, changing shape or vanishing. The poem, which on analysis shows simply the changing nature of a real shadow, shows the wonder and imagination of a small child who presumes that in the "magic hour" before dawn, when there is light but no direct source, his shadow has "stayed at home," rather than simply being invisible until the sunrise.

The poem is written in first-person present tense, except for the last stanza, which switches to past tense for effect. The prime indicator is the singular personal pronoun "I" referring to the narrator, showing that the poem is from his point of view.

He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
(Stevenson, "My Shadow," poetryfoundation.org)
Both the present tense ("I see him," instead of "I saw him") and the singular personal pronoun ("I") show the poem's point of view. We do not see any events from the point of view of the "other children" mentioned, nor from "nursie," who is presumably the narrator's nanny.

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