The Grave Questions and Answers
by Katherine Anne Porter

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What is the point of view in "The Grave" by Katherine Anne Porter?

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In this short story, Katherine Anne Porter presents the relationship between a brother and sister, Paul and Miranda, who are out shooting on land that formerly belonged to their grandparents. One key event is Paul’s shooting a rabbit that turns out to have been pregnant. The narrator’s voice remains constant throughout the story: it is third-person and omniscient, meaning that they have access to all the information rather than just that available to a particular character.

However, the perspective shifts over the course of the story; it becomes obvious that the narrator is much closer to Miranda’s thoughts and feelings. The kinds of information that the narrator emphasizes is much more subjective. The reader sees that Paul knows about reproductive processes but forgets for a few minutes that his younger sister does not. When he tells her not to reveal that the rabbit was pregnant, she does not understand why. But the narrator is relating this information from a later time period, showing that they have gained additional insight into Miranda’s questions in the earlier period. This strongly suggests that the narrator is actually the grown-up Miranda. This impression is strengthened by the narrator referring to Paul as “brother.”

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Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Katherine Anne Porter's short story "The Grave" is written in third person omniscient. Just in case, here is a summary of point of views (or narrations).

First person uses the pronouns "I," "me," "us", and "we." The narrator of the story is telling his or her own story.

Second person uses the pronouns "you," "your," and "yours." Not many texts are written from this perspective given it can alienate a reader (based upon gender, thinking, or stereotypes).

Third Person omniscient uses pronouns such as "he/she" and "they/them." The narrator is not part of the story, yet the narrator knows everything about everyone in the story. Given that none of the characters in the story are telling their own story, "The Grave" is written in third person.

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