A recap about point of view…
The phrase “That’s my point of view,” is often used in the English language and sometimes stands in for an opinion. When we talk about writing or telling a story, point of view (POV) means something a little different.
POV is the eyes through which we see a story.
When you tell a story that happened to you, you’re telling it from your perspective. It’s very intimate, because you know how you felt, what you said, what you did, etc. But when you tell a story about something that happened to another person, you’re telling it as an outsider. You may know details (because the person may have shared them with you), but you aren’t as close as if it had happened to you.
At the same time, we should be aware that just because something happened to us doesn’t mean that we know everything. Our identity, which include age, gender, race, religion (or lack thereof), economic situation, sexual orientation, past/present relationships all shade the way we see everything.
A quote that sums up the previous paragraph nicely:
We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.Origin Unclear
Last week, we discussed the following questions about the story we read: “The First Day.”
- What is the age of the narrator at the time of the story?
- When did the story happen in time? (1950s? 2000s? 1990s?)
- When is the story shared: Soon after it happened or years later?
We talked about how the distance a person has from a story really changes the reliability of a narrator. Not because the narrator is lying, but the age of when it happened and when the story is shared changes their perspective–the very POV of the same narrator will be different.
I want to add another question, which we’ll discuss in class this week:
Imagine that the narrator is the mother, rather than the daughter. All the actions shared by the mother and daughter are the same. How would the story be told differently? Why do you think these things?
Once we realize that the same story could be shared with all the actions remaining the same, but that the story would be incredibly different because of WHO is telling the story, we’re well on the way of understanding the importance of POV.
The WHO is very important.
Again, point of view is the eyes through which we see a story.
Whether you’re reading literature, watching/reading/hearing the news, or listening to someone speak, ask yourself:
- Who is telling this story?
- What does this character see and know?
- How does this character’s perspective shape my understanding of events?
Writing Your First Short Fiction
For our first short story, you are going to take a real-life event and retell it in a fictionalized Third Person. It can be anything–something from your Journal entries, a depiction of your first day of school, anything–the only REQUIREMENT is that you tell it in the Third Person!
Go to the Assignment for Week 7 post for more details!