Experiencing the Style of Narrations

 

  • What effect does the style of narration have on your experience of the plot or characters? Use two different styles to reflect on this, using any of the stories we have read this semester.

The style of narration allows us to experience a story in a certain way. From the readings we have done so far there has been a few different styles of narration and each one is unique and gives us different emotions due to their uniqueness. Two stories that I’ve read with totally different forms of narrations are, Bia Lowe’s “I Always Write about My Mother When I Start to Write,” and Aarne Thompson’s “The Wicked Stepmother.” Bia Lowe’s story was in the first person point of view which helps us get inside the head of the narrator whom is the main character. This allows us as the readers especially for me to try to imagine what character is witnessing as well as experiencing rather than an outsiders view. For example, the narrator makes mention of “She is in every way my female deity,” “I was suddenly seized with a desire to court her,” and of much more of his emotions that occurred to him but makes us the readers feel/understand his emotions, somewhat like justifying how he feels about his mothers. In other words, Bia Lowe’s “I Always Write about My Mother When I Start to Write,” made me feel like I was part of the story and connect to why he may have felt a certain way or described somethings in such strange details. However, on the other hand, Aarne Thompson’s story “The Wicked Stepmother,” which is the Indian version of Cinderella was a third person point of view. This was very different because it was more of being told about something, the whole story was more of someone else’s experience being told to me rather than me experiencing what the character was feeling. I found it harder to connect to “The Wicked Stepmother” by Thompson more than “I Always Write About My Mother When I Start to Write” by Lowe because I wasn’t “in the footsteps of the character but rather I was the observer/watcher. For example, Thompson  mentions “That very moment she was changed into a goat,” upon reading this I did not feel that shocking emotion but rather it was more of “oh okay.” I feel like it the story was in a first-person narrative it would have made me feel more connected to the story than just an observer or someone who’s just reading it. If the situation was “That very moment I changed into a goat,” that feels more vivid and makes you feel apart of the story rather than being told it. In short, the style of narration effects the reader’s experience of the story, it’s like living and experiencing it or being told by someone else experience.

http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/knowles127.html (“The Wicked StepMother” By Aarne-Thompson

 

14 thoughts on “Experiencing the Style of Narrations

  1. Rukhshona Rasulova

    I agree with your point of view that the first story “I Always Write about My Mother When I Start to Write,” tells us how the child was emotionally connected to his/her mother. It makes me think that the writer, as a first person in the story loved the mother not as a ordinary child loved their mother but maybe as a person who loves a another. Yet, as we all or some of us experienced that our love towards our mother is similar to a writer, maybe thats why when we read the story, we felt emotionally touched. However, in the second story “The Wicked Stepmother” as you said it’s totally opposite feeling from the first story. Most of the fiction stories, there are always the third person who is telling the story and it makes a huge difference between the stories. I also felt nothing when i was reading “the wicked stepmother”. Yet, it depends to the story tellers and the story. For example, it the story of a “The Great Gatsby” the third person was telling the story although, being the third person there were a lot of emotional feelings in the story.

    Reply
    1. Jody R. Rosen

      I’d have to look back to confirm, but I believe that The Great Gatsby is told in first person. Nick Carraway is the narrator, though not the protagonist. We talked in class about wanting to use more precise language to describe these different narrators. We’ll talk more carefully about them in class, but a narrator who is not part of the story world (what we usually think of as a third-person narrator) is called a heterodiegetic narrator, while a first-person narrator can be called a character-narrator, and referred to as a homodiegetic narrator. When that character is the protagonist, the more specific term autodiegetic is used to show that it’s the protagonist’s own story. I’ll share these terms with the class more prominently, and add others, too, but just wanted to respond about this.

      Reply
  2. David Peikrishvili

    Indeed, having a different point of view in the story can have varying affects on the reader. As you said, when a story is told from a third person perspective it can sometimes make the reader not feel the same emotions than having the the story told from a first person point of view. Having sad that, third person point of view can also lead to an adrenaline rush or having a tear falling down your cheek. In the book Narnia : “The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe” the person telling the story makes sure that you get to feel the same way as the character is in a certain situation. Instead of just saying “they did this and he did that”, we actually get a chance to focus on each individual character and express our feelings for them or against them. In the end it all depends on how the author or the storyteller is describing the characters and the situations to us. If the description is bland and without feeling then we will mostly feel the same way about the story itself. Hope this wasn’t too confusing to understand.

    Reply
    1. Mohammad Khan Post author

      Haha, not confusing at all. In fact, I totally agree with you because many stories that are in the third person point of view gives us details, details that are vivid and get us kind of involved in the story. Where we start to imagine ourselves in the place of the character and doing what the character do/did in the story.

      Reply
      1. Jody R. Rosen

        Absolutely–we can have emotional third-person narration, just like we can have blah first-person narration. There are other factors. But there is something to Mohammad’s and Ruhkshona’s points about the narration style in the fairy tales. These stories usually come from oral traditions, meaning that they are told rather than read initially. There is an instructive quality, trying to teach the audience something about how to behave and why, rather than trying to psychologize the characters. It’s a different kind of characterization, a different sense of characters’ interiority. We can keep this in mind as we discuss narration further.

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  3. Linh Ngo

    There are many different point of view, and what you’ve mention about the first person point of view is more reliable in terms of connecting with what the character is experiencing. The story “I Always Write about My Mother When I Start to Write” is a great example that you’ve used for a first person point of view. When reading this story, it breaks down into small details of how the author Bia Lowe was feeling towards her mother. From that we were able to understand how and why Bia Lowe has such deep feelings for her mother. I also agree on the fact that it was harder to have connection to the step mother in “Cinderella”, because she was such a flat character, and doesn’t have many details of who she is, or why she was treating Cinderella in such a wicked way. The narrator of “Cinderella” also didn’t give much details on the step mother, and all we would know is that she was evil, but we didn’t know exactly why she’s evil.

    Reply
    1. Mohammad Khan Post author

      Yup, the story lacks a lot of detials but I guess due to it being a short story much important/ needed detials weren’t mentioned. Its more of a quick read to lighten the mood of the reader, I guess.

      Reply
  4. Giselle Martinez

    I feel like different points of views are necessary in the writing world. There’s different writing styles and prefer other styles. I feel with a first point of view, you are getting a lot of information from other characters. Like in “I always write about my mother when i start to write”, you get a lot of information of how the author had a deep connection with their mother. And a story told in third person such as, “The Story of An Hour”, you don’t much information about how Mrs.Mallard felt towards hers husbands death or how she felt towards her sister. Very little information was provided.

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  5. Charlie

    Its amazing how much the first person point of view allows us as readers to experience and feel what a narrator feels. like you said we feel apart of the story. its one of the reasons i tend to gravitate towards first person stories. i completely agree with the idea of connecting with “I Always Write About My Mother When I Start to Write” more the “The Wicked Stepmother” you can really understand why the narrator feels the way they do about their mother.

    Reply
  6. Tyra

    I agree with your comment about how its harder to understand what the actual characters are feeling in the story “The Wicked Stepmother,” because it is being told in the third person point of view. Instead of actually feeling what the characters are feeling we have to go based off of how the narrator says how they’re feeling. I also agree with the statement about how the style at which a story is written allows you to experience the story different.

    Reply
  7. Jorge

    I agree, the point of view in which a story is told plays a big role on how the reader perceives it. When a story is told from a first person point of view it puts me in the main characters shoes and a connection is formed. You start to relate with them and kinda root for them in a way or maybe even despise them depending on the kind of story being told. I personally prefer a story told from first person but I don’t mind stories told from different perspectives, if told right it can make it pretty interesting as you get to see what goes on in the minds of others.

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  8. Jhoanna

    Like everyone else, I also agree that the use of different point of view guides the readers on how or what they should feel and understand towards the characters and events that is going on through the story. It is an important tool used by storytellers that affects how readers get immersed into reading their work. While we cannot really say that “oh, first person point of view is the best way of creating a connection between the characters and readers”, I agree that the use of it on the work “I Always Write About My Mother When I Start to Write” helped us, the readers, have a deeper understanding as to what the narrator is trying to convey. We were able to see why she feels that way towards her mother, unlike if it was told in third person point of view, it would probably be strange to see why she gave those random gifts or why she just stares are her mother while she dressed up for a dinner party. It basically showed the reasons for these actions through the use of first person point of view.

    Although Cinderella is not really a great example of getting that connection between the characters and readers because of third person point of view, one work that I personally think succeeded on making the readers feel that sense of bond is “1984” by George Orwell. Even though we are just told by the narrator what Winston feels or think at a certain moment, I still felt the same way as Winston because Orwell put so much detail and used a great deal of descriptions on the whole story. The narrator observes even the little things going on the story, painting the events on Winston’s life through the third person point of view. It basically built this world as if I were also there experiencing the exact things as Winston’s.

    Reply
    1. Jody R. Rosen

      It’s a good idea to think about different examples of each type of narrator. I would argue that we get into Mrs. Mallard’s mind just as much in “The Story of an Hour” as we do into the first-person narrator’s mind in “I Always Write About My Mother When I Start to Write.” When we have a third-person limited narrator, it’s very similar to first person in the sense that we only get access to the inner-workings of one character (occasionally more than one, but not all). It makes us feel closer to that one character and more distant from others. These are great observations about what’s happening when we read, and we’ll keep this conversation going throughout the semester.

      Reply

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