Throughout the story, what is the effect of the first-person point of view?

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In the story, Edwige Dandicat uses first-person point of view, which helps her provide insights into the protagonist’s ideas and thoughts. The reader will notice that the title is “Night Women,” plural, but the perspectives of other women are not provided. In addition, the narrator speculates on her identity as liminal or intermediate between those whom she places into two distinct categories, “night women” and “day women.” Although she works as a prostitute, she distances herself from others in the same profession. As she rationalizes making her choice because of concern for her son, she apparently assumes that other sex workers are not similarly motivated.

The first-person perspective largely encourages the reader to identify with the narrator as an individual, and generates empathy for a person in a difficult situation. The reader becomes convinced of her love for the boy. At the same time, being given privileged access to all the narrator’s concerns, the reader can also identify logical inconsistencies, thus realizing her confusion and anxiety about her choices. Beyond her insistence of maintaining a mental identification with the “day women,” the reader sees her dependence on lies—both in the present, as she tries to make her son think he is just dreaming, and in the future, as she plans ahead for continued deception about the identities of the male visitors.

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