What is the point of view of Miss Tempy's Watchers?

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When we consider the point of view of a text, we usually want to establish not only whether it is written from a first person, third person, or second person point of view, but also what kind of perspective is given onto the story as a whole. "Miss Tempy's Watchers" is, certainly, written in the third person—the narrative voice does not belong to a character participating in the story, but stands apart. The characters are described by the narrative voice as "she," rather than the narrative voice using an "I" sentence construction. However, there are more nuances available to us than this.

In modern fiction, we are more likely to see a third person limited point of view, in which, although the story may be written in the third person, the perspective is still connected only to one character. In this type of story, the audience knows only what the point of view character is thinking or feeling and does not know anything this character doesn't know. Some stories are written in third person limited point of view, but with the perspectives of various characters being available to the reader. Finally, some third person narratives will have an omniscient narrator, who knows not only everything that is going on in everybody's head, but also everything that is going on in the world of the story as a whole, whether or not it would be possible for the characters to know about it.

In this story, the opening paragraph gives us some indication as to the point of view. The "neighbors" mentioned are not significant characters in the rest of the story, but the narrative voice still describes how their "eyes turned" towards Miss Tempy's house, and knows what they were saying to themselves and to each other. The story is not written from these neighbors' perspective—instead, it seems to view them from a distance, setting the scene by describing the location of the town, the time of year, and so on. As the story draws on, the narrator offers descriptions of the two key characters, Mrs. Crowe and Sarah Ann Binson, which do not reflect their views of themselves, necessarily, but rather seem to be drawn by a third party, for the benefit of the reader. The narrator knows why the women were sitting in the kitchen, and also knows each woman's mindset—Mrs. Crowe, for example, "knew exactly what she was about." These clues indicate to us that the perspective of this story is third-person omniscient.

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