True or False?: Point of view is the psychology or physical angle from which the writer views his subject.  

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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This is generally a true statement, depending upon what is meant by "psychology" in the statement.  If what is meant is whose "mind" is reporting, then yes, this is part of point of view.  And certainly, the physical vantage point is part of this as well.  Let's look at how this works.

When we see a story through the eyes of one character, we are getting the story filtered through the mind of that person.  The narrator picks and chooses the details he or she shares with us.  The narrator's opinion about the characters and the action usually comes through, so we have everything that happens based upon the narrator's opinion.  When we have an omniscient character, we are meant to see everything without that filter.  The action is narrated in a way that allows us to see what people are thinking and doing, without the intrusion of one person's thoughts, ideas, and prejudices. Theoretically, there is no filter. A famous example of this is Nick, in The Great Gatsby. Everything that we know of this story is filtered through the eyes of Nick.  This has a powerful effect upon the story.

Physical "angle" or proximity is an important aspect of point of view, too.  An individual narrator reports on what he or she can observe or must rely on reports from the other characters to explain what is happening.  An omniscient narrator gives us what we call a "bird's eye view," as though a bird flying overhead could see everything going on everywhere.  The story "In a Grove" is a great example of this proximity in action. Several different individuals narrate what they personally have observed, each in an individual section of the story, so the reader is getting several different angles from which to view the story. 

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