What Is Narrative Point of View?

Narrative point of view refers to the perspective from which the narrator conveys the story to the reader. The narrator speaks in a particular voice. That voice speaks to the reader and tells the story. First person and third person are the most common narrative points of view. Although second person can be used, it is very rare in fiction.

First-Person Narrative

In the first-person narrative, the narrator is a major participant in the story and speaks using the pronouns I, me, we and us. The narrator is often the major observer in the story, and the reader can see only what the narrator sees and chooses to share. The narrator cannot comment about anything he does not personally witness, unless another character tells him about it. The narrator is frequently the protagonist, which means he is the main character in the story and the reader is supposed to identify with him.

Third-Person Objective

The third-person objective narrative point of view abides by the same rules as first person narrative. The narrator operates like a camera and reports only things that the camera can see and hear. The difference is that the third-person narrator reports events using the third-person pronouns he, she, it and they rather than first-person pronouns. The narrator cannot interpret events; he can only report them.

Third-Person Omniscient

When an author uses the third-person omniscient narrative point of view, the narrator plays God. He is all-knowing and can comment on the thoughts and feelings of any of the characters. He can comment on any of the story's events and make judgments about them. With an omniscient point of view, it is possible to get into the head of more than one character rather than being limited to one.

Third-Person Limited Omniscient

The third-person limited omniscient narrative point of view is like third-person omniscient. The only difference is that the limited omniscient point of view limits its knowledge to the thoughts, feelings and actions of just one character. The narrator can still comment on and judge the story's events. This narrative point of view allows identification with a particular character while being all-knowing in all other aspects.

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