Is the point of view in "A Dog's Tale" by Mark Twain objective or omniscient?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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There are several ways in which literary critics think about the types of narrators in fiction. The first way is to divide them by person:

  1. First person narrators use first person pronouns such as "I", "me", and "my" to describe themselves.
  2. Second person narrators describe the characters of the story in the second person as "you". Although this is a common voice for non-fiction (especially "how-to" articles or manuals), and sometimes used in video games, it is quite rare in fiction.
  3. Third person narrators describe the characters of the story using third-person pronouns such as "she", "he", or "they". 

Narrators are also classified by the limitations of their knowledge, by whether they directly address the reader (breaking the illusion of the story), and their degree of reliability or objectivity.

"A Dog's Tale" by Mark Twain is narrated in the first person by the dog of the title, Aileen Mavourneen. The point of view is limited rather than omniscient, as the dog narrator only has access to information she experiences or overhears; she does not describe the internal thoughts of other characters in the story. 

As a narrator, the dog is reliable in so far as she does not lie, and she tells the truth as she understands it. Her understanding, however, is quite limited. In general, the term "objective" would apply only to a third-person narrator, not a first-person one, as the first-person point of view is inherently subjective, viewing the elements of the story through the experience of one character.

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