How would the story have been different with a third person narrator?

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The use of the first-person narrative in Octavia Butler's Kindred achieves three main impacts: a contextual limit to the narrative itself, a deeper connection to the character, and, most importantly, an emphasis on personal importance and impact over large-scale cultural implications.

First-person narrative features the narrator as a character in the story, recounting first-hand experiences as they unfold in the eyes of that speaker. This limits the reader to what that speaker perceives and how they interpret those events, and it shapes the scope of the narrative in a way that forces the reader to walk in the speaker's shoes, so to speak.

With a first-person narrative, the reader is not afforded exposition, multiple perspectives, or any other element that hasn't been directly experienced by the narrator. In Kindred, the impact of this is best exemplified by the ways in which each flashback influences Dana's understanding, and subsequently the readers' understandings, of the history of slavery,...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 918 words.)

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