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What Is the Point of View of the Narrator in the Novel "The Old Man and the Sea"?


A story may be written from any point of view -- first person, second person, third person limited or third person omniscient. The novel "The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway has a third person omniscient narrator. The term “omniscient” means "all knowing." This type of narrator is not a part of the story but can see the action and thoughts of any character.

Examples of Third Person Omniscience

The narrator tells the reader what the old man, the boy and the other fishermen are doing and thinking throughout the novel. For example, he is able to reveal the boy’s feelings and thoughts about the old man, Santiago: "It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with his skiff empty." In another paragraph, the narrator says what both Santiago and the fishermen are thinking: "They sat on the Terrace and many of the fishermen made fun of the old man and he was not angry. Others, of the older fishermen, looked at him and were sad."

About the Author

Melissa McDonald has been writing about education since 2006. Her work has appeared in “AdjunctNation,” “JCW” and “Honor Cord” e-zine. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and currently works in higher education as a writing consultant. Beyond her work as educator and writer, McDonald volunteers as a judge in both local and national writing competitions for high school and college students.

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