What is the point of view (POV) of The Overstory?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Overstoryby Richard Powers uses a combination of human characters and non-human characters, specifically trees, to tell his story. The novel discusses the destruction of forests through the eyes of nine different humans. The human characters are brought together with the common purpose of saving the environment. Each one...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

The Overstory by Richard Powers uses a combination of human characters and non-human characters, specifically trees, to tell his story. The novel discusses the destruction of forests through the eyes of nine different humans. The human characters are brought together with the common purpose of saving the environment. Each one has a unique experience with trees, and almost all of them become activists in the course of the novel.

The human characters understand the importance of preserving forests, but their lives are ruined by their actions. They come to ruin through arrest, death, or being forced into hiding. Being fated to silence or confinement makes the point that most people, especially those in power, do not recognize the importance of forests or the damage that will be done if they are destroyed. Through characters, Powers shows that if nothing about our ecological behavior is changed, humankind is doomed. But the trees and nature will be able to survive long after humans cease to exist.

To tell his story, Powers uses a first person point of view for each human character. This allows readers to understand the thoughts and perspectives of each character and become closer to the characters than another point of view would have allowed. As readers, we learn more about the motivations for the different characters’s actions due to the point of view.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team