Point of View Short Stories
Throughout literature, writers pay specific attention to the point of view in which to tell their story. Determining the point of view is one of the first considerations an author makes when beginning to write. Writers choose the point of view that they believe will best convey their message. They are able to make this decision by considering: the story’s purpose, what the reader should become aware of and to alter the reader’s perception. Three different points of view were chosen for the stories, “A&P” by John Updike, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates, and “The Story Of An Hour” by Kate Chopin. These three stories show us how each author achieves bringing their message across through the use of different points of view. The story “A&P” is told in the first person point of view. Sammy the narrator and main character is a nineteen-year-old grocery store clerk at the local A&P. Since the story is told through his eyes, we learn the type of person he is and the man that he will become. We can see that Sammy is a dreamer by the way he fantasizes about Queenie and her life.
We also see that Sammy has high expectations for his future because he pictures himself in Queenie’s home drinking drinks, “the color of water. ” We get a complete sense of Sammy’s thoughts and feelings since the story is told from his perspective. The story would be less effective if it were told from any other perspective. Therefore, if the story had been told in third person omniscient, we wouldn’t be able to enter into Sammy’s head. This would prevent us from understanding his emotions. Most importantly, we wouldn’t understand his sudden actions such as quitting his job.
In the story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ” Joyce Carol Oates chooses a third person limited omniscient narrator. The narrator focuses the story on Connie and her experiences. Connie is a teenage girl who tries to act older than she is. Most of the story is perceived by Connie so we are able to understand her thoughts, feelings, and reactions. Since it’s still third person, we aren’t given any judgment on the scenarios she encounters. Arnold Friend continues to be a mystery through the story because we aren’t given any information about what is going on in his mind. We don’t get a clear idea on his motives.
This point of view gives us a feeling as though we are watching off on the side. By using this point of view, the reader can make his/her own assumptions rather than Connie explaining her thoughts to us. If Connie narrated the story, we would read a similar story, but because she is an immature character we would read an unsophisticated version. Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” is written in the third person omniscient point of view. When Mrs. Mallard hears of her husband’s death she becomes overwhelmed. After being left alone for some time, she experiences a gust of freedom. As Mrs.
Mallard returns downstairs the front door opens and in comes Mr. Mallard. At that moment, when Mr. Mallard enters the house, Mrs. Mallard dies of a heart attack. Although the story isn’t in first person we are still able to make connections between ideas to sympathize with how Mrs. Mallard feels in her marriage. We can determine that Mrs. Mallard is relieved by the way the narrator explains how she’s looking out the window at the trees covered with new with spring life. Another example we can use to understand Mrs. Mallard’s reassurance is how she looks beyond the blue patches of sky.
This image shows us that we can find clues in determining the author’s purpose for the story. If the story were told through Mrs. Mallard’s point of view we would learn why she had a weak heart. This would make the story’s ending somewhat clearer to some people. Writers have the ability to choose the path their story will follow. The authors of “A;P,” “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ” and “The Story Of An Hour” show us that the choices made for point of view were effective. The point of view chosen for each story effectively proves the main idea, why the story was told, and refines the reader’s way of thinking.