What is the point of view in Persuasion by Jane Austen?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The point of view in Jane Austen's novel Persuasion is that of the omniscient narrator who tells about the actions, speech, thoughts, perceptions and feelings of any character present in a scene. For instance, in Chapter 1, Austen's narrator starts out talking about what Sir Walter Elliot thinks, perceives and does then switches to Elizabeth then again to Lady Russell, the discussion of whom leads rather neatly into a conversation between Lady Russell and Anne.

The other options for narrator, other than the first person narrator (I saw and I felt...), are the limited and the objective narrators. Had Persuasion been written with a limited narrator, Austen would have contented herself with telling the story from one person's experience, feelings, perceptions and thoughts; most likely Austen's choice would have been Anne, the heroine. Had Austen chosen an objective narrator, only actions and speech would be narrated: there would be no foundation for interior knowledge, such as knowledge of thoughts, feelings or perceptions unless these were stated out loud either to the air...or to another person or persons.

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