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Point of View in Literature

Point of View in Literature

In literature, point of view refers to the perspective of the narrator and his or her distance from the events of the story. It’s also known as the narrative point of view.

The narrator can be a character in the story or a bodiless voice.

In first-person point of view, the narrator is a character, and he refers to himself as “I” or “me.” It reads like this: “I narrowed my eyes at my defeated enemy. The peanut-butter-jelly sandwich was mine!”

In second-person point of view, the narrator is a bodiless voice that speaks directly to the reader using “you.” (This one is rare, and for a reason. When used, it is usually used in the present tense.) It reads like this: “You narrow your eyes at your defeated enemy. The peanut-butter-jelly sandwich is yours!”

In third-person point of view, the narrator is a bodiless voice that refers to all characters by name or by “she” or “he.” It reads like this: “She narrowed his eyes at her defeated enemy. The peanut-butter-jelly sandwich was hers!”

In addition, the third-person point of view can be limited or omniscient (all-knowing).

A limited point of view follows a single character and shows the story world to the reader through that character’s eyes. The reader will not know what other characters are feeling or thinking any more than the point-of-view character will.

An omniscient point of view gives the reader a wider look at the story world. The reader may see the actions and hear the inner thoughts of many characters at once. The characters themselves know only their own thoughts, and if they’re at different locations, they see only their own acts. 

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