Questions tagged [narrator]

Questions related to the concept of "narrator" in literature, i.e. the "voice" that appears to speak or tell a story. The narrator can usually not simply be equated with the author. There are various types of narrators, e.g. the omniscient narrator and the unreliable narrator.

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Am I right in thinking this quote from Terry Pratchett is an example of Second Person voice?

I was searching for an excerpt from one of Terry Pratchett's books, because I was trying to remember an example of Second Person voice that I once read. Here is the excerpt I was looking for: Let the ...
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Second-person Damon Runyon stories

Which of Damon Runyon's writings are written completely using the second person point of view? One example of this is A Change of Heart by Michel Butor . I heard John Sayles refer to Damon Runyon ...
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How reliable are the narrators in the writings of HP Lovecraft?

HP Lovecraft often tells his stories through the perspective of a narrator. How reliable can these narrators be considered, and can he be said to have used unreliable narrators as a story device?
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Dialogue without quotation marks in Colson Whitehead's "The Intuitionist"

Chuck’s theory is that the Safety’s reemergence is part of an oozing conservatism observable in every facet of the elevator industry, from this season’s minimalist cab designs to the return of the ...
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Is Anna Karenina a modernist novel?

Almost all of Anna Karenina (1878) had a classical flavour to me. For most of the novel, the thought processes of the characters, as described by the omniscient narrator, are very linear, ordered, ...
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Is this free indirect speech in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"?

Does Rowling use the technique of free indirect speech in this piece of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, in particular in the bold part? Harry was silent. Judging by the fact that Draco ...
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The narrator(s) of the Mahabharata

According to this article by Alf Hiltebeitel, the Mahabharata has "three interwoven frame stories" (page 4). What he calls the "outermost" frame is Vyasa's recounting of the story ...
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Narration in Robert Barr's In the Midst of Alarms: omniscient, third-person limited or something else?

In a comment on an answer about Robert Barr's novel In the Midst of Alarms Gareth Rees wrote, The narration is third-person limited, that is, we are getting the events largely from Yates' point of ...
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Who coined the term "omniscient narrator"?

In narrative theory, A third person omniscient narrator conveys information from multiple characters, places, and events of the story, including any given characters' thoughts, and a third person ...
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First-person point of view in chapter 61 of Pride and Prejudice

Why does Austen use the first-person point of view in the following passage of chapter 61 of Pride and Prejudice? Does this first-person narration have any relevance to the story, or what's the ...
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If a first-person narrator addresses the reader, is it considered speech or thought?

I'm reading the novel Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief for my literature class and was trying to use the characterisation framework of PAIRS (Physical appearance, Actions, Inner Thought, ...
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Is there a name for the narrative technique of starting at the end and then going back to the beginning? (As in Lord Jim)

I've been reading Lord Jim, by Joseph Conrad, which is rife with what I would call non-standard narrative structures. There are obvious narrative peculiarities in the book that have been discussed at ...
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Earliest second-person novel

What is the earliest novel that makes use of second-person narration through the entire book, excluding choose-your-own-adventure books?
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The Turn of the Screw: Arguments in favour of the governess being a reliable narrator

I'm writing an essay in which I have to outline arguments both for and against the reliability of the governess in The Turn of the Screw. There are endless sources arguing that she is unreliable but ...
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If a novel has different narrators for each chapter, is it metafictional?

If every chapter of a novel has as its narrator a different character, is it an example of a metafictional novel? I presume it is not specific to metafiction to have multiple narrators, but can a ...
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How is the poem “Gerontion” affected by being told in the first person?

The poem ‘Gerontion’ by T.S. Eliot is about an old man and his life. The very first lines if the poem are as follows: Here I am, an old man in a dry month, Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain. ...
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Why did Tennyson write "The Brook" from the brook's first-person perspective?

In the poem "The Brook", Tennyson speaks about the journey of a small brook which later joins a mighty river. The poem is narrated in the first person by the small brook: I come from haunts ...
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Is there a term for the boundaries of expectation as established by a story's narration?

I'd like to put a name to the group of expectations established by the narration of a story, including explicit framing devices, verb tense choices, and the narrator's omniscience. Examples: A story ...
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Point of view in Eudora Welty's "A Worn Path"

In "A Worn Path" by Eudora Welty, how can the story's point of view be described? How does the point of view affect what we know about the situation?
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Narration and internal dialogue in Mansfield's The Little Governess

I'm a newbie in literary reading and I'm confused about narration. I have read Katherine Mansfield's short story The Little Governess, which is written in third person narration. But I am confused ...
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3 votes
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What is the narrative type used in "Harry Potter" called?

Is there a name of the type of narrative used in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels, where the events are written in third person but exclusively follow the perspective of Harry Potter? Only events ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Does a memoir need to include a reliable narrator?

After reading a memoir excerpt about a drug addict, who was jealous of his peer, I began wondering if the author is intending to be unreliable. The memoir's account was practically as drunk as the ...
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3 votes
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Is replacing names with pronouns common in multiple points of view narration?

In Hanya Yanagihara’s “Little Life”, the narration toggles between the four protagonists. When it focuses on either of them, his name is usually mentioned once and then consecutively omitted and ...
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8 votes
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What is the earliest book where bad spelling is primarily for humor value?

I've enjoyed books like Molesworth by Geoffrey Willans and The BFG by Roald Dahl, where bad spelling and grammar (the BFG's extensive writing on the dream jars) are an integral part of the joke, and ...
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Books that are narrated using various points of view of the main characters

I recently read the book The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I found the way the story is told based on the different viewpoints of the main characters very interesting. Is there a name for this ...
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2 votes
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Does Joyce use interior monologue in "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"?

Certainly the narrative of A Portrait reflects a developing narrator (in turn reflecting Stephen's development), and so the child-like first paragraph, Once upon a time and a very good time it was ...
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Is there a name for this narrative technique or style?

As I have been recently reading the books and short stories that comprise Eric Flint's 1632/Ring of Fire series, I have noticed a narrative style that I have not seen before. These books are written ...
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Is Ari an unreliable narrator, or is he oblivious?

At the conclusion to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, the title character Ari reaches the realization that he is romantically attracted to Dante -- ...
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Is Winston Smith in Orwell's 1984 an unreliable narrator?

In a recent discussion in on online course about How to Read a Novel, someone suggested that Winston Smith in Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is an unreliable narrator. L. Kip Wheeler's glossary ...
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3 votes
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What is Faulkner's point of view in the "Address to the Graduating Class?"

Here is the "Address to the Graduating Class" by Faulkner. Years ago, before any of you were born, a wise Frenchman said, “If youth knew; if age could.” We all know what he meant: that when you ...
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8 votes
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Narrator in The Idiot

I'm struggling to understand the narrator in The Idiot. He seems like an omniscient narrator, talking of characters in third person. But, in Chapter I of Part One, while describing know-it-alls, the ...
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What is the effect of a text written in present tense and first-person? [closed]

An example of such a text (from Michael Morpurgo's Private Peaceful): I see men running, staggering, falling I am coughing, retching, choking. I have to breathe now, I can't run without ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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When did the perspective-switching trend begin?

In many Young Adult novels I have read lately (in the past couple years), the book changes the perspective every chapter (or every page). For instance, The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon (ISBN: ...
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What is the name of the writing style in "Bleak House" by Charles Dickens? Why is that style used?

In Bleak House by Charles Dickens, the viewpoint frequently changes from Esther Summerson, or first-person, to third person. What is this style known as?
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Was Wolf Hall originally written in the first person?

When reading Hilary Mantel's novel Wolf Hall, I noticed that the protagonist, Thomas Cromwell, is referred to as often as possible simply as "he"/"him" rather than by his name. This includes in ...
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10 votes
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Are the five narrators in The Fifty Year Sword more than a gimmick?

Mark Z. Danielewski's The Fifty Year Sword is told by five narrators whose parts were ostensibly collected in interviews and tightly interleaved. Quoting the first page: Maybe because the history ...
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22 votes
1 answer
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What did Wodehouse say about writing in the first-person?

P. G. Wodehouse is known as a consummate stylist, and a lot is known about how he plotted and wrote his novels. Did he ever say anything about his writing in the first person? I'm particularly curious ...
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