What is Point of View in Literature?

Point of view

The debate on point of view in literature is one of the craziest discussions among authors and editors. However, selecting your point of view in literature is a significant thing you will do as you write or generate a story. In order to do it well, you need to be conscious of the intricacies of viewpoint and think how the viewpoint will influence the entire writing piece. It is true that writers don’t like “Rules” and so they hesitate when asked not to compose anything in first person present tense, as it is complex to sell or describe that they should not apply the omniscient viewpoint because it is not often used nowadays. We all know that literature offers an eye through which readers see at the world more vividly.

Definition of Point of View

Point of view is something through which writer permits you to “Feel”, “See” and “Hear” what is happening. Expert writers can get their audience consideration on the detail, feelings and opinion easily by manipulating the point of view of any story in an amazing way. Point of view is the lens through which a story is told. It is the narrative voice through which one can easily understand the plot of a story, can comprehend the nature of its characters, can discover the background and feel the depth of relations, complexities and emotions. In simple words, point of view permits one to experience the writing as it unfolds.

Point of View vs. Narrator

The link between point of view and a narrator is very important and close. It will not wrong to say that narrator can be the participant in the story or part of the plot. On the other hand, the point of view refers the status of the narrator in the story. Let’s take an example; if the narrator is playing the role of participant in the story, then possibly the point of view would be first person, as the narrator is encountering with the incidences and other characters directly. On the other hand, if the narrator is non-participant, then the point of view would be third person, as the narrator presence is removed from the events. Well, these are the basic guidelines; let’s have a look at the different types of point of view.

Types of Point of View

There are different types of point of view. Below, we will talk about each one in detail.

First Person Point of View

In the first person point of view, one character in the story plays the role of narrator and readers understand the story details through that performer’s eye. It is easy to identify the first person point of view because the narrator or character talks to readers in his/her own voice by using the pronoun “I”. The character has great significant in the story, as he/she is actively involved in different story’s incidence. However, a few times the writers select to tell the story through the character’s perspective that has experienced everything personally. In any case, first person point of view permits readers access just to the narrating character’s partial familiarity and comprehending the story and his/her supporting characters. A famous example of first person point of view is Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in which supporting character named Dr. John Watson describes the amazing detective’s experiences; Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre which is told by the main character.

Second Person Point of View

As compared to first person point of view, the second person point of view is comparatively unusual, because it makes the reader itself a character of the story and tells the story to reader by using “You”. The second person point of view permits the reader to take decision by understanding the plot him/herself to different outcomes.

Third Person Point of View

In third person point of view, the narrator has no involvement in the story. In fact, the narrator is considering someone outside of the story and pronouns used like “He”, “She” and “They” to narrate about the characters. The third person point of view is further divided into three categories.

  1. The Objective Third Person in which the storyteller reveals nothing or knows about the story character’s feelings, thoughts and inspirations but sticks to the external details of the story.
  2. The Limited Third Person in which the storyteller tells the internal feelings and thoughts of the character. Normally the main character’s feelings and thoughts are reflected.
  3. The Omniscient Third Person in which the storyteller knows and exposed the thoughts, feelings and ideas of all the characters of the story.

Examples of Point of View in Literature

Example No: 1

In Shakespeare play Hamlet, who was the protagonist describes the feeling of melancholy, which troubles him after the death of his father. You can clearly understand this from the following lines.

I have of late,—but wherefore I know not,—lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory.”

This is one of the perfect examples of first person point of view. The use of first person point of view provides a clear picture of true feelings of the character. The author has used the first person point of view to reveal Hamlet’s feeling in a vivid way.

Example No: 2

Notice how William Wordsworth utilizes the first individual perspective to express his subjective emotions about the scene of daffodils in his well-known poem named “Daffodils”.

I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to
 me had brought.”

The utilization of the pronoun “I” gives an extraordinary quality to the sentiments communicated in these lines. The reader can see that the artist has utilized first individual perspective to impart to us his own particular individual feelings.

Importance of Point of View in the World of Literature

The decision of the point of view from which to portray a story enormously influences both the reader’s experience of the story and the kind of data the creator has the capacity bestow. To start with individual makes a more prominent closeness between the reader and the story, while third individual permits the creator to add significantly more many-sided quality to the plot and improvement of diverse characters that one character wouldn’t have the capacity to see on his or her own. Consequently, point of view has an extraordinary measure of essentialness in every bit of writing. The relative popularities of diverse sorts of perspective have changed throughout the hundreds of years of novel written work. Case in point, epistolary books were once very regular yet have to a great extent dropped out of support. In the first Person point of view, in the interim, is truly normal now while it was not really utilized at all before the 20th century.