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Understanding Point of View in Literature

Point of View in Literature

Point of view is the manner in which a story is narrated or depicted and who it is that tells the story.

Simply put, the point of view determines the angle and perception of the story unfolding, and thus influences the tone in which the story takes place.

Types of Point of View in Literature

There are three major types of Point of View in Literature:

  1. First Person
  2. Second Person
  3. Third Person

First Person Point Of View

This point of view is in use when a character narrates the story with I-me-my-mine in his or her speech.

The advantage of this point of view is that you get to hear the thoughts of the narrator and see the world depicted in the story through his or her eyes.

The first person POV is an evergreen viewpoint in literature. Check these examples


 Hunger Games 

Suzanne Collins
The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnMark Twain
Great ExpectationsCharles Dickens
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald
Moby DickHerman Melville

Second Person Point Of View

The second-person point of view is a point of view where the audience is made a character.

This is done with the use of the pronouns “you”, “your”, and “yours.”

The narrator is trying to address the audience, not necessarily directly, but rather to administer more of a connection

Third Person Point Of View

In the third-person narrative mode, characters are referred to by the narrator as “he”, “she”, or “they”, but never as “I” or “we” (first-person), or “you” (second-person).

This makes it clear that the narrator is an unspecified entity or uninvolved person who conveys the story and is not a character of any kind within the story, or at least is not referred to as such.

Third Person Limited

The Third person limited point of view is a method of storytelling in which the narrator knows only the thoughts and feelings of a single character.

Third person limited is a popular POV in mystery novels because when we don’t know what secondary characters are thinking and feeling explicitly, they remain a mystery.

The Giver Lois Lowry
Ender’s GameOrson Scott Card
1984 George Orwell
A Storm of Swords George R.R. Martin
Orphan Train Christina Baker Kline
Cloud Atlas  David Mitchell
The Quest Nelson DeMille

Omniscient

The third person omniscient point of view is a method of storytelling in which the narrator knows what every character is thinking.

Using the third-person omniscient point of view, the narrator is able to relate information to the reader about each character that some of the characters in the story might not know about each other.

Pride and PrejudiceJane Austen
 Hard Times Charles Dickens
The Scarlet LetterNathaniel Hawthorne

Point of View in Literature Exercises

These are some worksheets that will help you identify the POV in literature

  1. Point of View Worksheet PDF
  2. Point of View Worksheet 2 PDF
  3. Point of View Worksheet 3 PDF
  4. Point of View Worksheet 4 PDF
  5. Point of View Student Examples PDF
  6. Point of View Worksheet 6 PDF
  7. Point of View Worksheet 7 PDF
  8. Point of View Worksheet 8 PDF 
  9. Point of View Worksheet 9 PDF 
  10. Point of View Worksheet 10 PDF 
  11. Point of View Worksheet 15 | PDF
  12. Point of View Worksheet 16 | PDF
  13. Point of View Worksheet 17 | PDF
  14. Point of View Worksheet 18 | PDF
  15. Point of View Worksheet 19 | PDF
  16. Point of View Worksheet 20 | PDF

Further Reading

For more information about teaching and learning literature, check the How to teach Literature section in this blog

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