Compare and contrast the use of third-person point of view in "The Story of an Hour" and "Hills Like White Elephants.”

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The narrator of "The Story of an Hour" is a third-person omniscient narrator, and the narrator of "Hills Like White Elephants" is a third-person objective narrator. A third-person omniscient narrator can report on the thoughts and feelings of all characters; a third-person objective narrator does not report any thoughts or...

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The narrator of "The Story of an Hour" is a third-person omniscient narrator, and the narrator of "Hills Like White Elephants" is a third-person objective narrator. A third-person omniscient narrator can report on the thoughts and feelings of all characters; a third-person objective narrator does not report any thoughts or feelings of any characters—they tell us, essentially, only what is visible from the outside. A third-person omniscient narrator is almost necessary for Chopin's story because almost all of the "action" takes place within the protagonist, Louise Mallard's, head. If the narrator could not tell us what she is thinking, then we would only hear her whisper, "'Free, free, free!'" We would likely completely misjudge her, thinking that she's some callous, awful individual who rejoices in her husband's death without understanding how repressed and compromised she has felt in her marriage. Further, we wouldn't understand why Louise really dies or the final irony of the doctors' diagnosis.

In the Hemingway story, on the other hand, so much of the story depends upon what the American man and Jig do not say to one another; we understand how emotionally alienated they are from one another because of everything that seems to remain unspoken. We feel the awkwardness that they feel because we know no more than they do.

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