What are the points of view in the story, and why?

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The narrative perspective of this great short story is third person. An easy way to check the perspective is to look for what pronouns are used. This story uses words like "he" and "him." The first person "I" isn't used by the narrator of the story. The Boss and Mr....

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The narrative perspective of this great short story is third person. An easy way to check the perspective is to look for what pronouns are used. This story uses words like "he" and "him." The first person "I" isn't used by the narrator of the story. The Boss and Mr. Woodifield are the two characters in this story, and the third-person narration works well at telling readers the thoughts and feelings of both characters. I would say that the narrative is slanted more toward being a third person limited perspective with an emphasis on the Boss. Readers get far more information about what he is thinking and doing than we do Woodifield. Much of our information about what Woodifield is thinking and feeling comes to readers because of what he says to the Boss. This is why the third person narration makes it feel like we are watching the action from over the boss's shoulder instead of from a neutral place above the action in the middle of the room. With that said, readers do get narration that tells us how Woodifield is feeling without him actually having to say it.

But it warmed him; it crept into his chill old brain—he remembered.

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The Fly is told from the perspective of The Boss, though it has a 3rd person narrator, making the point of view 3rd person limited. We see some development of The Boss's friend Woodifield, but just enough to understand The Boss's relationship to him and opinion of him. Woodifield is retired and seems to be dominated by his wife and daughters. While on some levels, the Boss seems grateful to not have just an influence on his own life, his thoughts and actions later in the story make us think that perhaps the Boss would have a more joyous life if he shared it with someone. 

It is significant that the perspective of the story focuses on the Boss, but is not 1st person. The audience sees the contrast between the Boss and Woodifield more completely because of the 3rd person narrator. We are also able to see into the Boss's past with more objectivity (though not complete objectivity) because it is not being told to us by the Boss himself. This point of view also allows for suspense as the Boss repeatedly drops ink on the fly, and creates an environment to discuss and postulate why he behaves in such a way. Had the story been told by the Boss himself, those elements of suspense and thoughtful reflection would be removed, changing the way we understand Mansfield's thematic development. 

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