People Like That Are the Only People Here

by Marie Lorena Moore

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Student Question

Why does Marie Lorena Moore use the third person in "People Like That Are the Only People Here"?

Quick answer:

Marie Lorena Moore uses the third person for her story “People Like That Are the Only People Here” to create distance between the reader and the characters. This is an especially appropriate narrative technique as the story deals with a pretty unpleasant situation. If the story had been told from the first-person point of view, then it would have been more harrowing for the reader and also more difficult to identify with the characters.

Expert Answers

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The third-person point of view creates distance between the reader and the action of a story. It's an appropriate technique to use in stories such as “People Like That Are the Only People Here,” which deals with the harrowing situation of a baby being treated for cancer in a hospital.

Thankfully, most people have never had to deal with such a traumatic experience, so the author wisely avoids the first-person of view, as most readers would find it rather difficult to identify with the Mother, to understand what she's going through. Only those who have been through such trauma can begin to comprehend what it's like.

Though obviously caught up in the drama of what's happening at the hospital, the Mother is at the same time consciously distancing herself to avoid becoming too upset in the event that her baby's health takes a turn for the worse.

The third-person point of view also serves the story's status as a piece of meta-fiction, a story about a story. The Mother is taking notes of her experience that she intends to turn into a story; a very lucrative one at that. This necessitates the employment of the third-person point of view, which as we've already seen separates the storyteller from the story she's telling.

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