Points of view or POVs are essential to English. It tells the reader or audience who is speaking or narrating a story. Think of it as the eye of a story. Any story can be told in the first-person point of view, second-person, or even third-person point of view, and getting it right can be tricky. If it's wrong, it could sound weird, and the flow might be off.
Some writers will also work with different POVs throughout one story or piece of work, though if done incorrectly, the reader or audience might get very confused about who is speaking!
Today we're going to review different examples of point of view and define how each POV functions and when you can use them.
The person's point of view is used when the main character or protagonist is telling the story, giving the audience a front-row view of the action; think of it as going on a journey with the reader.
With this POV, we use the following pronouns:
The first-person POV is used in many different ways and functions, depending on the type the writer chooses.
In the first-person, central narrative, the writer wants the narrator also to be the main protagonist or central character. The character is telling their personal story. So, think of it like getting to know the character inside and out. This example of the first-person point of view is often used in autobiographies.
A great example of the first-person central point of view in Fiction would be,
The Kite Runner, written by Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner follows the story of Amir, a young boy who lives in Afghanistan during a turbulent time. Amir is both the protagonist and the central character, and the book goes through his life from his perspective up to adulthood.
In the peripheral first-person POV, the character narrating the story is not the main character or protagonist - they are typically close to the central character.
Another fantastic example of the first person point of view but in peripheral would be,
The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald
In his novel 'The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses Nick to create a barrier between the audience and the protagonist, Gatsby. Nick acts like an observer and reports on what he sees and what reflections he has. In this way, Fitzgerald adds to the secrecy surrounding the Gatsby character.
The second-person point of view is used when the speaker or writer wants the audience to be involved and part of the story. This POV isn't used often in fictional writing. However, it's used more frequently in informal speech and general conversation.
With the second-person point of view, we often see the following pronouns used:
This POV is used for:
The third-person point of view is used when a writer or speaker refers to someone else. This POV is mainly used when they want to tell the audience something about someone that they haven't directly been a part of themselves. Think of it like a recounting of events or an outsider looking in.
With this POV, we normally use the following pronouns:
Like the first-person point of view, the third-person POV also has a few different functions.
The third-person omniscient narration is used when the writer or speaker wants the audience to be involved in understanding all aspects of a character or characters. The omniscient narrator is all-seeing and hearing; in this case, you'll often have a few different characters narrating at different moments. This POV can be gender neutral or gender specific.
With the third-person multiple POV, the reader is taken along the story, getting lots of information about different scenes in a story written from the point of view of many characters. You'll often see this POV used when a story is multi-faceted and has different character chapters.
The third person limited point of view is used when a writer or speaker only wants the audience to gain information about one character's thoughts.
And there we have it, examples of point of view just for you! Check out our other literary devices. We've got tons of tips, tricks, and learning tools for you to discover.