What is the story's point of view? (Roselily)

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The structure of this story on the page can make it appear, at first, as if something odd is going on in terms of its point of view, but once we've gotten to grips with what is actually happening in the story, we can see that it's fairly straightforward. The story is written in third person limited point of view, with all thoughts and feelings being those of the protagonist, Roselily. However, Roselily's thoughts are framed, or cued, by the words of the minister conducting her wedding ceremony. These words are written in italics in the story; the minister giving the service is not narrating the story, or contributing a point of view to it. He is merely speaking, and Walker has chosen to mark his spoken words obliquely, using italics, rather than with traditional quotation marks and speech tags.

We can understand, then, that we are hearing these words from the limited third person perspective of Roselily. First we hear what she hears, and then we receive an insight into what these particular words caused her to think about. Roselily is intermittently listening to what is being said, and then drifting away into her mind to think about other things, so we are experiencing the service in a very direct, stream-of-consciousness way, alongside her.

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There are two narrators in this short story. The first is the voice who speaks the words of the wedding ceremony in which Roselily herself is taking part. The words of this voice are in italics, and it is a first-person subjective narrative voice. This means that the narrator is a participant in the story's action (the minister is such a participant), uses first person pronouns (like "we"), and is narrating in the present tense, while the events in the plot are taking place.

The second narrator speaks quite a bit more and is a third-person limited omniscient narrator. This means that the narrator is not a participant in the events of the story but knows all the thoughts and feelings of one character: in this case, Roselily. As the minister is conducting the wedding ceremony, this second narrator is telling us all about Roselily's family and memories, her feelings and her fears.

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Roselily is told in the present tense by a limited, third-person narrator.

Roselily is not the narrator, but reports only what she thinks and sees. Everything is seen through her eyes, and interpreted through the filters of her own experiences.

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