Narrator's Point of View

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Narrator’s Point of ViewG5.2R.C1.PO5 I can identify the narrative point of view (e.g. first person, third person limited, third person omniscient) in a literary selection.

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Essential QuestionsWhat is narrative point of view? How is it determined? What is first person point of view? How are key words used to identify the point of view? What is third person limited and third person omniscient? How are these points of view different from one another?

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Think about this...Think of a book or story that you are currently reading. Who is telling the story? Share this with your shoulder partner. When you wrote personal and imaginative narratives, who was telling the story then? Share this with your face partner.

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Today we will...identify the narrator’s point of view in a literary selection. Repeat this objective to your right patella.

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Narrative Point of ViewOne of the most important decisions a writer makes as they write a story is the narrative point of view he/she will use. The point of view is the narrator’s perspective. Through whose eyes will you, the reader, see the story?

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First PersonThe reader only knows the thoughts and feelings of the narrator as he or she tells the story through their eyes. First person point of view uses the keywords “I,” “me,” “my,” “we,” “us,” and “our.”

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First PersonExample from The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois: It is funny that my trip has ended by being such a fast trip around the world. I find myself referred to now as one of the speediest travelers of all times. Speed wasn’t at all what I had in mind when I started out. On the contrary, if all had gone the way I had hoped, I would still be happily floating around in my balloon, drifting anywhere the wind cared to carry me - East, West, North, or South.

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Third Person LimitedThe reader only knows the thoughts and feelings of one main character. Third person limited point of view uses the keywords “he/she,” “him/her,” “they,” “them,” “their,” and the character’s name.

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Third Person LimitedExample from Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli: So he turned and started walking north on Hector, right down the middle of the street, right down the invisible chalk line that divided East End from West End. Cars beeped at him, drivers hollered, but he never flinched. The Cobras kept right along with him on their side of the street. So did a bunch of East Enders on their side. One of them was Mars Bar. Both sides were calling for him to come over.

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Third Person OmniscientThe reader knows the thoughts and feelings of all the main characters (more than one). Omniscient means having total knowledge or knowing everything. Third person omniscient point of view uses the keywords “he/she,” “him/her,” “they,” “them,” “their,” and the characters’ name. NOTE: The keywords are the same as third person limited, so you have to be careful about knowing the difference between 3rd person limited and 3rd person omniscient!

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Third Person OmniscientExample from The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg: Claudia was furious. “The men who moved it last night hugged it when they moved it. There’s all kinds of hugging.” She refused to look at Jamie again and instead stared at the statue. The sound of footsteps broke the silence and her concentration. Footsteps from the Italian Renaissance were descending upon them! The guard was coming down the steps. Oh, baloney! thought Jamie. There was just too much time before the museum opened on Sundays. They should have been in hiding already. Here they were out in the open with a light on!

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Ready to practice identifying the Narrative Point of View? Take out your white board and a marker. After hearing and seeing a passage, you will need to write which point of view it is - first person, third person limited, or third person omniscient. You will also need to tell me the keywords that helped you identify the point of view on your white board. Here we go...

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Anita loved classical music, but she didn’t want her friends to know that. She was afraid they would laugh at her. When she was alone in her room, however, the air was hers, and she filled it with the sounds of violins and cellos. Third person limited

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When my father was transferred to Ireland, we all went with him. Our new house was near downtown Dublin and very near my new school. I thought the street was lovely, with flower boxes blooming everywhere, but the kids in the neighborhood seemed to be ignoring me. First Person

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Jiyang and Melissa had lived beside each other for three years, but they had never become friends. Jiyang was shy and often thonue-tied, so Melissa thought he was stuck-up. Melissa, on the other hand, never seemed to go anywhere without her soccer ball, so Jiyang beleived she care only for sports. Both Jiyang and Melissa were wrong in their judgements. Third person omniscient

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ClosureThink about the three narrative points of view that you learned today and how you would determine each point of view. Share your thoughts about the three narrative points of view with your shoulder partner. Repeat todays objective to your pencil.

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Last Updated: 8th March 2018

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