Author’s Point of View


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Point of View

The point of view is the perspective from which a story is told. The narrator is the person who tells the story. When we’re looking for a point of view, we’re looking to see if we have a first person narrator or a third person narrator telling us this story.


In first person, your narrator is going to be your main character, and they’re going to be saying “I”, “me”, and “we”. These are the pronouns you’re going to see associated with the first person narrator. If it’s the main character, you’re only going to get to know what the main character knows. You’re only going to get to read about that main character does or what he does with someone else, but you won’t know about anything that doesn’t happen involving the main character, because this is written from a first person point of view. You’re only going to hear from this viewpoint.


Third person is the most common point of view. You’re going to see pronouns like “he”, “she”, and “they”. The narrator is going to talk about other characters, but the narrator is not one of the characters. Third person omniscient is very common as well. “Omniscient” means “all-knowing”. A third person omniscient narrator is going to be one who describes all other characters. This narrator is going to be able to tell you what every other character in this story is thinking and what every other character in this story is doing. They may not actually do it all in the same passage. Sometimes they split it into chapters. One chapter is written where the author is telling you everything that Johnny does. One chapter is split to tell you everything that Susie does. You find out everyone’s point of view, but possibly at different times. The author is able to do all that without actually being a part of the story.


Whenever you’re looking for who your narrator is, the pronouns are the important thing to look at. Let’s look at this passage. “John walked to school every day. He and his friends were often cold and tired by the time they arrived. They were allowed to warm up by the stove before sitting in their seats.” In this passage, let’s look at the pronouns to help determine the point of view. Your pronouns are going to be words that take the place of nouns, such as “I”, “me”, “we”, “he”, “she”, “they”, “it”, and “you”.


These are going to be the ones that are really going to set you off as markers to let you know if it’s a first person or third person narrator that you’re listening to. Looking through this, we have “he”, “his friends”, “by the time they arrived”, “they were allowed to warm up by the stove before sitting in their seats.” It started with John, so the narrator is using “he” and “they” and someone’s name. First person could use someone’s name, which is why it’s important to look at the pronouns. The narrator starts talking about John, and then he uses all of these third person pronouns. The narrator is a third person narrator here. You know this, because you’re looking at the pronouns. The pronouns are all telling you that the narrator is telling you what’s happening, but the narrator is not a part of the action.


The point of view is a third person point of view. Whenever you’re going to find point of view, you want to know this, because the perspective of this story (who it’s coming from) is important. If it’s coming from a certain character, or if it’s coming from a first person or third person point of view, then you’re going to have a different plot or have more intimate information in first person and a greater variety of information with third person. It’s always important to determine your point of view whenever you are reading a story. Just keep in mind that the best way to find that is by looking at the pronouns: “I”, “me”, “we”, “he”, “she”, and “they”.



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Last updated: 04/19/2018
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