ENGL 2920 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Unreliable Narrator
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Basic Questions of Point of View
-In what form?
The Author: Omniscient or Limited Omniscient
Character: First person, central narrator (lyrical), peripheral narrator (pedestal)
-Experimental form used by a few writers
-“You” is used to address the reader directly or the author addresses a character in the story
*”If you could buckle your Bugs Bunny wristwatch to a ray of light your watch would
continue ticking but its hands wouldn’t move…you hitchhike.”
1. Most often it’s the reader
*Usually assumes the universality of the audience. Most stories do not address
themselves to a segment of humanity and don’t assume any difference between author and
reader. Most author’s are addressing someone who can be brought around to the same
understanding of the story that the author has.
*Assumes the reader is familiar with the conventions of the genre
*Writer might address the reader but assign that reader specific traits that we, the actual
reader must accept as our own, if we are to accept the fiction. i.e “you gentle reader”
*Narrator assumes the reader will be on his side
2. Character or characters
*The story may be told to another character or characters and we the reader “overhear” it.
The teller of the tale does not acknowledge us at all
*In the epistolary novel or story the narrative is entirely letters written from one character
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