What is the point of view in "To Hell with Dying"?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The point of view in "To Hell With Dying" written by Alice Walker, is first person.

The story is told about Mr. Sweet and the revivals that bring him back from the brink of death, several times. The person telling the story is never named. She describes herself and how Mr. Sweet treats her, but she never gives anyone but Mr. Sweet a name in the story.

We know, of course, that the story is told in the first person because the narrator uses the first person pronoun "I." Telling the story in the first person is extremely effective in this story because it gives the tale a more personal touch. This is particularly important because the subject of the poem (Mr. Sweet) is especially important to not only the family, but the narrator as well.

Mr. Sweet always runs his finger along her hair line, she tells us. He makes her feel "outrageously devastating at the blazing age of eight and a half." And the final line sums Mr. Sweet's impact on her life in a beautiful and personal way, all the more so because of the use of the first person point of view:

The man on the high old-fashioned bed with the quilt coverlet and the flowing white beard had been my first love.

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