What form of narration is used?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The narration in "The Veldt" is what James Moffett and Kenneth R. McElheny in their excellent book, Points of View: An Anthology of Short Stories (Rev. Ed. 1995), would classify as ANONYMOUS NARRATION--DUAL CHARACTER POINT OF VIEW. The two viewpoint characters are George Hadley and his wife Lydia. They are the parents of Wendy and Peter. An example of both character's point of view is:

Mr. Hadley looked at his wife and they turned and looked back at the beasts edging slowly forward crouching, tails stiff.

An example of Lydia's point of view without George present is:

His wife paused in the middle of the kitchen and watched the stove busy humming to itself, making supper for four.

An example of George's separate point of view is:

The lions were coming. And again George Hadley was filled with admiration for the mechanical genius who had conceived this room.

The anonymous narration is sometimes called "anonymous third-person narration." Most of the events in the story are experienced by the husband and wife together. This is their story. It involves what happens to them as a result of mistakes they have made in raising their children. Peter and Wendy's points of view are not described, although their behavior is described from the points of view of the parents. There is another point of view at the very end of the story. That is the point of view of the psychologist David McClean. For example:

"Well, here I am," said David McClean in the nursery doorway, "Oh, hello." He stared at the two children seated in the center of the open glade eating a little picnic lunch. Beyond them was the water hole and the yellow veldtland; above was the hot sun. He began to perspire. "Where are your father and mother?"

So the narration might be classified as ANONYMOUS NARRATION--MULTIPLE CHARACTER POINT OF VIEW. However, David McClean plays such a small part, while the parents' point of view is of such supreme importance to the story and the author's message, that it seems proper to call it ANONYMOUS NARRATION--DUAL CHARACTER POINT OF VIEW, or ANONYMOUS THIRD PERSON NARRATION--DUAL CHARACTER POINT OF VIEW. 

The anthology published by James Moffett and Kenneth R. McElheny contains four stories serving as examples of ANONYMOUS NARRATION--DUAL CHARACTER POINT OF VIEW. The stories are:

"Sinking House," by T. Coraghessan Boyle

"The Only Rose," by Sarah Horne Jewett

"Strong Horse Tea," by Alice Walker

"Uglypuss," by Margaret Atwood

Sources:

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