- How has your understanding of narrative technique, point of view and perspective developed / deepened so far?
- Refer to last year’s texts and the passages we’ve looked at (about the student and teacher, the 6 prose snippets, the story Dressing for the Carnival) to underpin and illustrate your thinking.
A base understanding I have gained from the lessons on point of view, perspective and narrative technique start in understanding the distinction between the terms. Points of view focuses on the type of narrator, voice or speaker used to tell the story whereas perspectives focuses on how this narrator, voice or speaker perceives events. Although this is a nuanced difference, I understood the impact of a difference in point of view and perspective when comparing it to the literary works we have studied before. For example, Carol Ann Duffy often uses dramatic monologue style, plays with the authorial voice to often embodies the voices of disenfranchised groups, used sarcasm or dissonant imagery to evoke reflection, plays with darker thematic/ historical material (war, voyeurism as a journalist, feminism in camps), sometimes uses a ‘traditional’ form whilst discussing controversial topics, unsettling speaker and perhaps a witty/comical tone. She plays around with the narrative technique and point of view in her poems to illicit a different effect. In the poems she utilises first person in, eg. Education for Leisure or Stealing, the first person voice serves to highlight deep insight into a particular character, but casts some unreliability on their voice/opinion or world view. When she uses second person (eg. The Last Post, We Remember Your Childhood Well) it talks to the readers in a way that makes them feel the feelings of the oppressed. Each time you change the narrative technique used, a different quality and way of position the reader is brought out by the work. In other works, like plays and dramas a perspective is created without point of view necessarily. The prose snippets we had read and were able to modify showed how changing the voice in which the story is told changes the biases we make towards the characters.
One point of view and technique that created special special qualities in varied circumstances was the use of the several kinds of third person narrations. When understanding the differences third person omniscients, wherein having a single focalizer or multiple focalizers (like in Brand New Ancients) create a different tonalities and understanding of the circumstances around conflict in the story. We like, for example in Brand New Ancients, that the use of multiple focalizers can serve to highlight on character (Gloria) in particular or highlight the stories of a whole range of characters. We discussed the impact and limitation on third person external reportage, where the understanding and the moral opinions typically casted by the narration is now placed in the hands of the reader as reportage does not get into the minds of the characters. Interestingly, we underpinned the effect of third person free indirect discourse through phrases and the story Dressing for the Carnival, wherein we grappled with the idea of having no punctuation but the thoughts that flow between the reader and the external narrative voice flow in seamlessly but effectively. Furthermore, Shields uses free indirect speech which serves to break the pattern of text with free indirect discourse.
(TO BE CONTINUED…)