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First Person Narration - Book Report/Review Example

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Why do authors use first person narrative as opposed to more common third person narrative forms Why limit your readers to the perspective and experiences of one character More specifically, why do James Joyce, Jerome Weidman and Elizabeth Tallent use this technique in certain short works In James Joyce's Araby, Jerome Weidman's My Father Sits in the Dark, and Elizabeth Tallent's No One's a Mystery the authors have consciously chosen a first person perspective and not that of an outside narrator to create in the reader a feeling of intimacy and connection with both the narrator and the story…
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First Person Narration

Download file to see previous pages... The story of a young boy's infatuation with his friend's sister is made more interesting and credible by the first person voice. Although first person narrators are "restricted in where they can be and what and who they can know" they can be "highly effective because the reader can more easily relate to the 'I' who is telling the story" ("Key Term!"). This is necessary in Araby because of the style and intensity of this short story. When Joyce's narrator says: " Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises" or " my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires" (Joyce, Page Number Here), the reader can relate to character thoughts, that if described in third person would seem exaggerated and melodramatic, or could even seem a parody or joke at the expensive of the character's overly tender feelings. While young love or infatuation may seem ridiculous when looked upon from a distance, the proximity provided by first person narration helps even the most jaded readers to recall the intensity one feels in that moment, be it fresh, or long forgotten.
In My Father Sits in the Dark, Weidman uses a first person narrator to add emotion and importance to what could be an unexciting, relatively easily resolved phenomenon. The personalization and feeling that a first person narrator provides makes the reader interested in this mystery. Our narrator is genuinely concerned that his father doesn't sleep at night and through his thoughts and descriptions the reader becomes genuinely interested in the "why" of this otherwise inoffensive behavior and is able to view the narrator not as meddlesome and interfering when he repeatedly questions his father (Weidman, Page Number), but as a caring son. This is because in a first person narrative the " 'character speaks straight to the reader, which has a special power' " and in this way readers " ' have to get into the heart of [the] character's thoughts and feelings'" (Kneale). Further, not knowing the thoughts and reasons of the father creates the drama of the story. What could be wrong with him Can he really just like sitting in the dark Does he have a terrible secret The advantage of limiting the information and perspectives provided to the reader is the curiosity and surprise it can provoke. If the reader knew the thoughts of the father, the story would probably have no plotline or purpose. In My Father Sits in the Dark the use of a first person narrative allows the reader to learn with the narrator and creates excitement where there would otherwise be none.
In No One's a Mystery, Tallent, much like Joyce in Araby, uses a first person narrative to connect readers to a very young, and nave protagonist. The same story told from an outsider's perspective wouldn't be nearly as touching or bittersweet. Without the emotional directness of a first person narration, Tallent would risk alienating her audience, as the distance of third person dialogue and description could transform the young woman that readers can identify with into "the other woman" or a "lovesick teenager." Here the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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