When I ask a student, “In which point of view is this story written?” I often get a blank stare, a long “uuummmmm,” or a wrong answer with a question mark tacked onto the end (for example, “First person?”).
When making decisions about point of view, you must consider two important questions:
From whose perspective is this story going to be told? (In other words, whose story is it?)
Who is going to tell the story?
First Person: an “I” (or sometimes a “we”) tells the story; everything in the story is filtered through that narrator
Example: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
1. This is Holden Caulfield’s story. No doubt about it.
2. Holden is the first-person narrator. He is the “I” in the story.
Advantages: strong sense of intimacy; constant opportunity for characterization; a strong voice that draws readers into the story
Challenges: a first-person narrator walks a fine-line between interesting and self-indulgent; readers might doubt the narrator’s interpretation of events (thus creating an unreliable narrator); readers can only climb into the head of the narrator