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Explain the difference in effects between a 1st person and 3rd person narrator. (Please exemplify these points of view with the stories "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck, "I Stand Here Ironing"...

Explain the difference in effects between a 1st person and 3rd person narrator.

(Please exemplify these points of view with the stories "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck, "I Stand Here Ironing" by Tillie Olsen, and "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe)

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The perspective, or vantage point, from which a story is told, point of view has a significant effect upon the narrative.  If a character within the story tells the story, then the reader views that narrative from the subjective view of the character.  This point of view know as first person narrator can be anywhere from fairly realistic to very unreliable.  In Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," for instance, the reader learns of Fortunato only from the the avenging Montesor who controls the narrative, relating the story with no diversion, no explanation, and little emotion. And, with such a narrator, the elements of mystery and horror are intensified while Poe allows the reader no interpretation of his narrative, deciding what to reveal and what to hide.  While a third person narrator would have been better able to have presented a more balanced story since he/she could not perceive what goes on in the minds of the characters, the gothic effects of Poe's story would have been minimalized.

In Tillie Olsen's story that employs the first person narrator, the narrative assumes the stream-of-consciousness motif.  With this mode of first person,"I Stand Here Ironing" becomes much more the narrator's story than it is the daughter's, although the school official has come to talk about the daughter.  Interestingly, this internal monologue of the mother allows the narrative to vacillate in time as she examines her conscience and assesses both her actions as a mother and the behavior of her daughter. As in Poe's story, the focus is predominantly upon the narrative and other characters feelings and thoughts are in the shadows of those of the narrator.

In contrast to the first person narrator, the third person narrator is a voice from outside, rather than inside, the story.  If the knowledge of the storyteller is limited to the internal states of one character, than the story teller has a limited point of view. However, if the story teller's knowledge extends to the internal states of all the characters, then the storyteller has an omniscient point of view.

In John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums," the story is told from the limited third person narrator; this narrator reports the actions of the characters, but he cannot discern their thoughts or their motivations.  This perspective helps to establish the mood of the story by recreating the situation of Elisa and Henry, who hear each other's words, but having to guess at their meanings.  The reader must determine what happens; for instance, when the tinker praises the beauty of the flowers that Elisa is caring for, the reader, like Elisa, must discover that the tinker has been insincere and merely trying to win her over to a sale.  Then, later, when Henry admires how Elisa looks, and he tries to find the words that will please her, the reader shares her frustration at not knowing what Henry thinks.  Thus, the reader is more greatly drawn in to the narrative.  Yet, because the limited point of view does not reveal Elisa's...

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