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First person

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First person

First person narration is used somewhat frequently. The first-person point of view sacrifices omniscience and omnipresence for a greater intimacy with one character. It allows the reader to see what the focus character is thinking; it also allows that character to be further developed through his or her own style in telling the story. First-person narrations may be told like third person ones; on the other hand, the narrator may be conscious of telling the story to a given audience, perhaps at a given place and time, for a given reason. In extreme cases, the first-person narration may be told as a story within a story, with the narrator appearing as a character in the frame story.
In a first person narrative, the narrator is a character in the story. This character takes actions, makes judgments and has opinions and biases. In this case the narrator gives and withholds information based on its own viewing of events. It is an important task for the reader to determine as much as possible about the character of the narrator in order to decide what "really" happens. This type of narrator is usually noticeable for its ubiquitous use of the first-person pronoun, "I".
Example:
"I could picture it. I have a rotten habit of picturing the bedroom scenes of my friends. We went out to the Cafe Napolitain to have an aperitif and watch the evening crowd on the Boulevard." from The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. The narrator is protagonist Jake Barnes.
In very rare cases, stories are told in first person plural, that is, using "we" rather than "I". Examples are the short stories "Twenty-Six Men and a Girl" by Maxim Gorky and "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner, the novella "Anthem" by Ayn Rand, and the novels The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, During the Reign of the Queen of Persia by Joan Chase, Our Kind by Kate Walbert, I, Robot by Isaac Asimov, and Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris.[1]
The narrator can be the protagonist (e.g., Gulliver in Gulliver's Travels), someone very close to him, who is privy to his thoughts and actions (Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes), or an ancillary character who has little to do with the action of the story (Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby). A narrator can even be a character relating the story second-hand, such as Lockwood in Wuthering Heights.
The first person narrator is the type most obviously distinct from the author. It is a character in the work, who must follow all of the rules of being a character, even during its duties as narrator. For it to know anything, it must experience it with its senses, or be told about it. It can interject its own thoughts and opinions, but not those of any other character, unless clearly told about those thoughts.
In autobiographical fiction, the first person narrator is the character of the author (with varying degrees of accuracy). The narrator is still distinct from the author and must behave like any other character and any other first person narrator. Examples of this kind of narrator include Jim Carroll in The Basketball Diaries and Kurt Vonnegut in Timequake. In some cases, the narrator is writing a book ("the book in your hands"), therefore it has most of the powers and knowledge of the author.
-- Source: Wikipedia (e)

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References

  1. We the Characters. nytimes.com (April 18, 2004). Retrieved on 2007-02-25.




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