How are narration and point of view related?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Narration is how a story is told. The point-of-view is the perspective the story (or text) is told from. Essentially, both terms are often used in conjunction with the other. One can state that the narration is told from a first person point-of-view, or a first person point-of-view can also be called the perspective the story is narrated from.

That said, point-of-view is categorized in three main ways: first person, second person, and third person. Narration is what is told, but point-of-view is who is telling it.

A first person narration is told by a person or character involved in the story (normally the main character). The story is told using the personal pronoun if "I" (we or us can be used in dialogue).

A second person narrator is very uncommon. Essentially, the narrator is telling the reader's story. This point-of-view needs to be mastered prior to using given it can alienate some readers if the topics are gender specific. Second person point-of-view uses the pronoun "you."

A third person narration is told by a narrator who is (normally) not in the story (or text). There is the third person limited narrator (where the narrator is not in the story, but knows all about the main character and little about other characters) or the third person omniscient narrator (where the narrator is not in the story, but knows everything about all of the characters).

lfree3431 | Student

Narration and point of view are related in many ways. First, a narrator is a character in a selection and describes the events. You can tell that a selection is told from a first person point of view because the narrator uses such pronouns such as I and we. In a selection told from the first person point of view, the information must be limited to what a character experiences or knows. A selection told in first person often has a heightened intensity, however because the narrator is experiencing the events that he or she is describing. Selections can also be described from a third-person point of view. In this case, the narrator is usually not a character. The third-person point of view is indicated by the use of pronouns as he, she, it and they. If a selection is told from a third-person omniscient (all-knowing) point of view, the narrator is able to relate everything about all characters-their experiences, thoughts, and feelings. In a third person limited point of view, the narrator chiefly presents the perspective of only one character.


Source: Mirrors & Windows: Connecting wtih Literature, Level II, Common Core State Edition, Minnesota: EMC Publishing, LLC, 2012.

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