Notes on Point of View from Brown’s Hope Amidst Ruin

So yesterday I noted that this material from Brown’s Hope Amidst Ruin will help you read all kinds of narrative, and today I note that ambitious souls thinking about writing narrative would be helped by such thoughts as these on Point of View:

Point of View: “Point of view refers to how a story is told. It is the perspective from which an author presents the setting, characters, actions, and events of a narrative. Traditionally, literary critics distinguish two elements in point of view: person and position. ‘Person’ refers to the one who tells the story, the narrator. The narrator may speak in the first person or third person. . . . ‘Position,’ on the other hand, refers to the vantage point from which the narrator tells his story. The narrator’s position involves both his knowledge and his values. In terms of knowledge, the narrator may be either omniscient or limited. A first-person narrator invariably operates from a limited point of view since the story filters though [sic] his eyes or consciousness and is restricted to his knowledge. On the other hand, a third-person narrator may be omniscient, knowing everything inside-out, or limited in knowledge, ranging from less than divine to more ignorant than his audience. In terms of values, every narrator has an ideological standpoint from which he approaches his material. His evaluations of events and characters will reflect his value system. Not only does the narrator’s value system play a role in the text’s formative background, shaping its selection, arrangement, and presentation, but it also constitutes a crucial aspect of the message he desires to communicate to the reader” (93–94).

“David Rhoads and Donald Richie’s description of the narrator in Mark captures well the typical features of Old Testament narrators: the narrator ‘speaks in the third person; is not bound by time or space in the telling of the story; is an implied invisible presence in every scene, capable of being anywhere to ‘recount’ the action; displays full omniscience by narrating the thoughts, feelings, or sensory experiences of many characters, . . . and narrates the story from one over-arching ideological point of view.’” (96 n. 19, citing Mark as Story, 36).

“Since neither the text nor its transmission history suggest otherwise, there is no reason not to regard Ezra the scribe as real author, implied author, and narrator of the book of Ezra” (97 n. 21).

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *