Unit3 - Point of View: Unit Three, Lesson One Who is...

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Point of View: Unit Three, Lesson One “Who is telling the story--whose words are we reading? Where does this person stand in relation to what is going on in the story?” (Beaty 73). In this unit we will be examining point of view. The perspective from which the story is told is a key facet of narrative.
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Mediation • Drama and film unfold directly before our eyes. In narrative fiction there is always something (a viewer or speaker or both) between us and the action: a point of view other than our own has already been imposed. This is mediation . • Point of view involves the angle of vision (the point from which the people, events, and other details are viewed). This view is called the focus . The words of the story lying between us and the history is the voice .
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Focus Focus acts like a camera. It chooses what we can look at, the angle at which we can view it, and how it is framed. The picture shows what framing can change (TV screen vs. movie theater screen, in this case). Details and emphasis change depending upon the frame and focus in text as in film.
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Angles in film Film can help us to understand P.O.V. if we think of the camera eye as our mediator in text. The top picture is a low angle shot. The figures seem to loom above us. They are given an aura of importance or power. The high angle shot seems to diminish the figure and elevate the viewer. Point of view can do that in text.
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Perspective in film These two frames from the movie Psycho show different perspectives. Films like Halloween exploit the killer’s perspective to intensify the horror. Point of view in text can be used to intensify a particular effect as well.
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Perspectives Can Change the Narrative Rashomon , a film by Akira Kurosawa, uses multiple perspectives. We see the events unfold from different perspectives, making us question the truth. Interpretation is also affected. In a sporting event, the events remain the same, but each team’s fans interpret them differently (great call/bad call; triumph/defeat, etc.).
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Fixed Focus • Pay close attention to the focus in a story. Does it stay the same throughout or does it move around? • Fixed focus (limited internal focus) is usually called centered or central consciousness . • Most short stories use a central consciousness because the single focus is manageable for the writer and easy for the reader to identify with. • Central consciousness seems to be a logical choice for realism because we are used to interacting with the world in this way: reality as a construction of the perception of our senses and minds ( psychological realism ).
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Consequences of Psychological • When the focus is centered, a reader must be aware that the narrator’s vision and version may be unreliable . The narrator may have ulterior motives (think about how a criminal might skew events to hide guilt). The narrator may be honest, but the vision may be distorted (by emotion, prejudice, limited experience or thinking). Think
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2011 for the course ENG 227 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '10 term at Purdue.

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Unit3 - Point of View: Unit Three, Lesson One Who is...

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