In what point if view is "Hunters in the Snow" by Tobias Wolf written in?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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“Hunters in the Snow” is written in the third person objective point of view.

This short story describes Kenny, Tub, and Frank’s disastrous hunting trip.  The point of view of this story is third person objective. This point of view is usually reserved for nonfiction, but it can be found in fiction too.  Third person involves a point of view where the narrator is not one of the characters.  You can tell this because third person pronouns and names are used to tell the story.  Third person pronouns are pronouns like he, she, they, and theirs.  The difference between first person and third person is that in first person point of view, the narrator is the main character and uses pronouns like I and my to refer to himself.  You know his thoughts and feelings, and only his.  In third person limited point of view you know the thoughts and feelings of only one character.  If you have third person omniscient point of view, you have an omniscient   narrator and you know the thoughts and feelings of all of the characters.  When you have an objective narrator, on the other hand, you don’t know what anyone is thinking.  The narrator is completely neutral and uninvolved in characters’ thoughts.

Tub stood by the fence for a while and then got the rifles off the porch. Frank had rolled Kenny back onto the boards and they lifted him into the bed of the truck. Frank spread the seat blankets over him. "Warm enough?" he asked.

The result of the objective voice is that the reader becomes very distant from all of the characters, like watching a movie without a sound track to create mood.  The emotion is there, but it comes from the events and the descriptions.  Everything is stark and harsh.  The characters and everything that happens to them are very real.  Just because there is no narrator interfering does not mean there is no mood.  In fact, the writing is very descriptive.

The bullet went in between the dog’s eyes. He sank right down into the snow, his legs splayed out on each side, his yellow eyes open and staring. Except for the blood he looked like a small bearskin rug. The blood ran down the dog’s muzzle into the snow.

It is descriptions like this that help the reader feel like he or she is there, as if it is a film and the narrator is a camera lens.

The reader may feel more or less sympathy for a character if that character is the narrator at a certain point, or if the narrator tells us how that character feels.  It is as the narrator is telling us how to feel, like the laugh track in a comedy.  Instead, in the objective point of view, we have a more journalistic fiction.  The characters and events are allowed to speak for themselves.  A reader might choose to relate more to one of them than another at a certain point based on the reader’s personal experience, rather than who the author chooses to focus on. 

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