How do point of view and narrative time overlap in “Bullet in the Brain”?

Point of view and narrative time overlap in “Bullet in the Brain” as Anders waits in line behind the two annoying women and after Anders is shot in the head.

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For a moment in which the two elements of fiction—point of view of view and narrative time—overlap in Tobias Wolff’s “Bullet in the Brain,” check out the first part of the short story. Anders’s ordeal begins with having to wait in a long line at the bank. To make matters worse, he’s stuck behind two women whose conversation he finds notably irritating.

In this instance, there’s a distinct point of view: Anders’s perspective on the chatty women. He thinks they’re “loud” and “stupid.” There’s also narrative time. One reason why the women irk Anders to such an extent is because time is passing but the line isn’t moving. The tension between the two elements puts Anders in a “murderous temper.”

Another moment in which point of view and narrative time overlap involves what happens after Anders is shot by one of the bank robbers. As the bullet strikes Anders’s skull, Anders takes the narrative back in time and shows readers what he remembers. His memories also reflect his point of view.

When he talks about Sherry, he’s moving the narrative to the time of his “first lover.” While he takes the narrative back in time, he provides his point of view. Anders tells the reader, via the third-person narrator, how Sherry’s frank sexual nature eventually came to bother him.

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