Experiments in Writing: Point of View I

Posted on February 16, 2010

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“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprang up.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.   (1841 – 1935)
U.S. judge.

In boredom I accidentally read some articles on Encarta DVD about novel and the elements of it. As you know that novel is one of the most famous kinds of writing. I rewrite the meaning of a novel “a long work of written fiction with generally 200 pages or more”. I am not going to tell about the history of a novel or the terminology of the word novel. Let’s see the more sophisticated materials; point of view, style, and literary devices. These are called the techniques of the novel¬¬¬¬¬—according to the article I have just read. On the rest of this article I will try to write a passage using these techniques. Ah, well, I just remind you, the readers, I still need some practice in writing so that there should be many mistakes here and there. Forgive me and your comments are gladly welcomed. OK, let’s start.

Technique I: Point of View
The point of view of a literary work is the perspective from which the reader views the action and characters. The three major types of point of view in novels are omniscient, first-person, and third-person-limited (on the other text it is also mentioned as the objective point of view). In novel, this technique determines the limitations and freedoms that the author has in presenting the plot and theme to the reader. This made different experience to the reader. For my practice, I decided to make one simple situation like this: A hungry young man seeking for food on the refrigerator, find nothing except an unpleasant look of dirty out-of-date foods. (Those from Writing class last semester should know this plot. Yes, this is our previous task of describing events) Then, I will try to rewrite this situation using three different points of view. I Hope I will make a good passage. Let’s do the first type first.

i. Omniscient Point of View
In a novel written from the point of view of an omniscient narrator, the reader knows what each character does and thinks. The reader maintains this knowledge as the plot moves from place to place or era to era. An omniscient narrator can also provide the reader with direct assessments of action, character, and environment.
This view has advantages and disadvantages. Using an omniscient narrator allows a writer to be extremely clear about plot developments. This point of view also exposes the reader to the actions and thoughts of many characters and deepens the reader’s understanding of the various aspects of the story. However, using an omniscient narrator can make a novel seem too authoritarian and artificial, because in their own lives people do not have this all-knowing power. If clumsily executed providing thick detail may cause the reader to lose sight of the central plot within a mass of scenes, settings, and characters. Some examples are Carson McCullers’ “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” (1940) and Henry Fielding’s “Tom Jones” (1749).
As I write short stories, this plot is the most frequent I use. To my mind, I can add more details such as the environments, situations, and my own opinion as the writer. Adding minor details like a fisherman’s look upon a strange tourist who walks away from the beach carrying one of his fish or the table arrangement in a rich politician wedding party give clear descriptions about the atmospheres.
Hmm, all I can do is rewriting the underlined situation like this:

It was midnight. And Jason was hungry. He stared at the dining table.     There was no food. He scratched over the shelves. He found three empty cereal     boxes. No available food there. He thought for a moment. He meandered over     the kitchen. Meanwhile, his older     brother was watching TV at the living room. He     can see Jason from there and thought his brother was very unlucky for having     no food. He knew that all of the fresh foods were gone, to his stomach. Ben,     the name of Jason’s brother, was not very close to him. Ben rarely talked to     him. The two of them remain silent if there were no serious problem. Now back     to Jason. He observed every corner of the kitchen to find available food. Sadly, t    here was still no food. He then stopped meandering. His feet plodded to one     destination, in front of the refrigerator.
“This is my final hope…” Jason sighed. Slowly, he opened the huge square     white box hoping it would contain a thing to fulfil his hunger.
“What on earth are these!” he exclaimed. Inside the refrigerator were     really shocking. Sticky brown meat was resting at the bottom. Rancid smell came     from an expired milk box. Not just that, there were slimy liquid that came from     the melted melon-flavoured ice-cream inside the freezer. All of these features     equal a pungent, disturbing odour.
“Yuck! Do I remember I have ever been stored these monsters?” Jason     held his stomach. He wanted to vomit. Instead of vomiting, he guessed that Ben     was behind all this mess. He shouted,
“I certainly need to clean this mess tomorrow,” he walked away from the     kitchen. He took his motorcycle key and planned to eat outside. When he was     walking towards the garage, he saw his older brother but he did not say     anything to him. His older brother stared at him for a while then back to his     previous activity.

However, I cannot review myself…. I just leave the passage there and move to the second type of point of view.

TO BE CONTINUED… First-Person Point of View…

Experiments in Writing

“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprang up.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841 – 1935)

U.S. judge.

In boredom I accidentally read some articles on Encarta DVD about novel and the elements of it. As you know that novel is one of the most famous kinds of writing. I rewrite the meaning of a novel “a long work of written fiction with generally 200 pages or more”. I am not going to tell about the history of a novel or the terminology of the word novel. Let’s see the more sophisticated materials; point of view, style, and literary devices. These are called the techniques of the novel­­­­­—according to the article I have just read. On the rest of this article I will try to write a passage using these techniques. Ah, well, I just remind you, the readers, I still need some practice in writing so that there should be many mistakes here and there. Forgive me and your comments are gladly welcomed. OK, let’s start.

Technique I: Point of View

The point of view of a literary work is the perspective from which the reader views the action and characters. The three major types of point of view in novels are omniscient, first-person, and third-person-limited (on the other text it is also mentioned as the objective point of view). In novel, this technique determines the limitations and freedoms that the author has in presenting the plot and theme to the reader. This made different experience to the reader. For my practice, I decided to make one simple situation like this: A hungry young man seeking for food on the refrigerator, find nothing except an unpleasant look of dirty out-of-date foods. (Those from Writing class last semester should know this plot. Yes, this is our previous task of describing events) Then, I will try to rewrite this situation using three different points of view. I Hope I will make a good passage. Let’s do the first type first.

i. Omniscient Point of View

In a novel written from the point of view of an omniscient narrator, the reader knows what each character does and thinks. The reader maintains this knowledge as the plot moves from place to place or era to era. An omniscient narrator can also provide the reader with direct assessments of action, character, and environment.

This view has advantages and disadvantages. Using an omniscient narrator allows a writer to be extremely clear about plot developments. This point of view also exposes the reader to the actions and thoughts of many characters and deepens the reader’s understanding of the various aspects of the story. However, using an omniscient narrator can make a novel seem too authoritarian and artificial, because in their own lives people do not have this all-knowing power. If clumsily executed providing thick detail may cause the reader to lose sight of the central plot within a mass of scenes, settings, and characters. Some examples are Carson McCullers’ “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” (1940) and Henry Fielding’s “Tom Jones” (1749).

As I write short stories, this plot is the most frequent I use. To my mind, I can add more details such as the environments, situations, and my own opinion as the writer. Adding minor details like a fisherman’s look upon a strange tourist who walks away from the beach carrying one of his fish or the table arrangement in a rich politician wedding party give clear descriptions about the atmospheres.

Hmm, all I can do is rewriting the underlined situation like this:

It was midnight. And Jason was hungry. He stared at the dining table.      There was no food. He scratched over the shelves. He found three empty cereal   boxes. No available food there. He thought for a moment. He meandered over      the kitchen. Meanwhile, his older           brother was watching TV at the living room. He        can see Jason from there and thought his brother was very unlucky for having   no food. He knew that all of the fresh foods were gone, to his stomach. Ben,      the name of Jason’s brother, was not very close to him. Ben rarely talked to   him. The two of them remain silent if there were no serious problem. Now back      to Jason. He observed every corner of the kitchen to find available food. Sadly, t     here was still no food. He then stopped meandering. His feet plodded to one          destination, in front of the refrigerator.

“This is my final hope…” Jason sighed. Slowly, he opened the huge square          white box hoping it would contain a thing to fulfil his hunger.

“What on earth are these!” he exclaimed. Inside the refrigerator were       really shocking. Sticky brown meat was resting at the bottom. Rancid smell came    from an expired milk box. Not just that, there were slimy liquid that came from     the melted melon-flavoured ice-cream inside the freezer. All of these features          equal a pungent, disturbing odour.

“Yuck! Do I remember I have ever been stored these monsters?” Jason      held his stomach. He wanted to vomit. Instead of vomiting, he guessed that Ben       was behind all this mess. He shouted,

“I certainly need to clean this mess tomorrow,” he walked away from the kitchen. He took his motorcycle key and planned to eat outside. When he was          walking towards the garage, he saw his older brother but he did not say       anything to him. His older brother stared at him for a while then back to his    previous activity.

However, I cannot review myself…. I just leave the passage there and move to the second type of point of view.

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