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Points of View

the lens of fiction

Derek Jenkins

on 4 September 2012

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Transcript of Points of View

What is your lens? MODES? Journals
???? Camera? Window? Telescope? Microsope? Monocle? Contact? Rose-colored glasses? CCTV? a). First person b). Third person-limited c). Third person-objective d). Third person-omniscient e). Second person One character shares the events of the story. I'm not Stiller—Day after day, ever since I was put into this prison, which I shall describe in a minute, I have been saying it, asking for whiskey, and refusing to make any other statement. For experience has taught me that without whiskey I'm not myself, I'm open to all sorts of good influences and liable to play the part they want me to play, although it's not me at all. I'm Not Stiller, by Max Frisch The author shares the story with special insight into the experiences of one character. It was good standing there on the promontory overlooking the evening sea, the fog lifting itself like gauzy veils to touch his face. There was something in it akin to flying; the sense of being lifted high above the crawling earth, of being a part of the wildness of the air. Something too of being closed within an unknown and strange world of mist and cloud and wind. He'd liked flying at night; he'd missed it after the war had crashed to a finished and dribbled to an end. It wasn't the same flying a little private crate. He'd tried it; it was like returning to the stone ax after precision tools. He had found nothing yet to take the place of flying wild. In a Lonely Place, by Dorothy B. Hughes The author shares the story with no insight into the experience of the characters, leaving interpretation of the events up to the reader. Bill and Arlene Miller were a happy couple. Bill was a bookkeeper, and Arlene occupied with secretarial chores.

Harriet and Jim Stone were their neighbors, the Stones were a a family that lived a fuller and brighter life. The Stones always went out to dinner or entertaining or traveling the country in connection with Jim's work.

Jim was a salesman and managed to combine business with pleasure trips, and the Stones happen to leave for 10 days.

The Millers watched over the house of the Stones.

Bill and Jim shook hands, Harriet and Arlene held each other by the elbows and kissed lightly on the lips.

Bill stated, "I wish it was us" "Neighbors," by Raymond Carver The author shares the story with god-like insight into all characters and events. On a certain day in June, 19__, a young man was making his way on foot northward from the great City to a town or place called Edgewood, that he had been told of but had never visited. His name was Smoky Barnable, and he was going to Edgewood to get married; the fact that he walked and didn’t ride was one of the conditions placed on his coming there at all.

Though he had left his City room early in the morning it was nearly noon before he had crossed the huge bridge on a little-used walkway and come out into the named but boundaryless towns on the north side of the river. Through the afternoon he negotiated those Indian-named places, usually unable to take the straight route commanded by the imperious and constant flow of traffic; he wentneighborhood by neighborhood, looking down alleys and into stores. He saw few walkers, even indigenous, though there were kids on bikes; he wondered about their lives in these places, which to him seemed gloomily peripheral, though the kids were cheerful enough. Little, Big, by John Crowley The author shares the story from the perspective of "you," an imaginary audience.
Wait for your brother and your mother to leave the apartment. You've already told them that you're feeling too sick to go to Union City to visit that tia who likes to squeeze your nuts. (He's gotten big, she'll say.) And even though your moms knows you ain't sick you stuck to your story until finally she said, Go ahead and stay, malcriado. It's about time... a). How much time has passed between the story and the telling?

b). Have the characters changed in the space between?

c). How do the characters feel about the events now?

d) Has the story ended, or is it ongoing?

e) Is there tension between the events of the story and the way those events are being presented? "How to Date a Brown girl (Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie)," by Junot Diaz Further Reading:

Then We Came to the End, by Joshua Ferris

I Was Dora Suarez, by Derek Raymond

Flush, by Virginia Woolf

The Mezzanine, by Nicholson Baker

Pale Fire, by Vladimir Nabakov

Rashomon, dir. Akira Kurosawa

Batman: A Killing Joke, by Alan Moore

Grendel, by John Gardner In the third person, write a scene using three different modes of narrative distance. First, using an objective point of view, describe a woman boarding a bus. Use only actions, expressions, and dialogue; make no judgments about the scene or about her interior life. Then, using the omniscient point of view, describe the woman striking up a conversation with the person sitting next to her. You can still describe what you see on the "outside," but now, reveal something "inside" that only a privileged narrator would know. (Is she late for work? Is she worried about something? Is she bored by the conversation?) Finally, shift into stream of consciousness as the woman gets off the bus. Continue to access the woman's thoughts, feelings, and memories, but use the language of the character herself, revealing "the process as well as the content of the mind," as Janet Burroway says. This wide range of voices may be extreme, but it allows for a full portrait of a character's inner and outer life—and reminds us that no point of view is static. PROMPT
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