Talk:Narrator

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I khv think it would be a mistake to merge pov and narrator for this reason: contrary to common assumption, many literary theorists don't equate a work's "point of view" solely with who is telling the story. In many cases the issue of who is telling a story is murky or purposefully obfuscated, and regardless of who it is, the use of the narrator is a "craft" decision made by the author. The issue of the work's point-of-view, however, is more complex, and also involves (in addition to the agent telling the story) who the story is being told to (narratee), who it is being told about (protagonist, antagonists and sundry characters), and the relationships between each dyad pairing among them all. Added to this is the relative distance/proximity of the other agents in the transaction (from the writing to the reading and comprehending of the story) such as the real author, the implied author, the implied reader and the real reader.

Then there are many great works (such as Moby Dick) that switch or shift narrator once, twice or constantly throughout the narrative. In Search of Lost Time by Proust is an example of a work with an occasionally indeterminate narrator.

All of this and more goes into understanding a literary work's unique "point-of-view" and it would be absurd to simply reduce it all under the heading "Narrator."

I do NOT support a merging.

Examples[edit]

Would it be apropiate to add examples of well known works of fiction to each of these definitions? I don't know if it would help any, or if it would be superfluous. Just an idea to think about. Whatcanuexpect 00:34, 17 May 2006 (UTC)


Stream of Consciousness[edit]

How can Stream of Consciousness be forgotten? Certainly this style has more to do with a narrator than the other styles. Some mention of Stream in this article would be nice.--Secret Agent Man 03:56, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

I don't believe The Usual Suspects, though an entertaining film, is really an example of unreliable narration, since the audience member is not restricted to a single point-of-view. Also, I think we should be extremely cautious when using films to illustrate narrative POV since very few films are restricted to the POV of a single character. Thoughts on this? Bds_yahoo

The vast majority of the film is told by one character to another. I think Verbal Kint qualifies as the narrator for ~90% of the film--the fact that he's telling the story to another character doesn't change that fact. -Sean 06:18, 24 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Oh, but it does, though. He doesn't have control over our experience of events, except those told in flashback. Bds_yahoo

Exactly--90% of the film is told through his flashbacks. -Sean 07:12, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I remember my friend reading a book which was a translation from another language. What surprised him was that the translator had explained some plot details in footnotes. My friend decided that this must have been some new kind of narrator - the footnote narrator. --Kpalion 02:00, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

This makes a lot of sense. Best example of a footnote narrator is in Vladimir Nabokov's "Pale Fire," in which over 3/4 of the text is the narrator commenting on his involvement with the poem of the book's title. Still, does it merit its own category of narrator? If a translator adds context or explains a term, I believe that is part of the work of a translator, and belongs on that page. "Narrator" is much more about the creation of a story. "Pale Fire," here, seems an absolute anomaly in that the footnotes truly are the story, while the poem of the book's title is a vehicle for those extensive footnotes.

Thoughts on adding more examples from different texts?


This entry does not allow for narrators of film documentaries. I was going to link the Robert Palmer (author/producer) page to it because he narrated two documentaries (besides serving as screen writer and music director for the films), but this entry seems confined to narrators of fiction. Any thoughts? User:Bebop (my page is linked in the history file if you need to go there) 16:38, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Films don't have narrators in the same sense. Narrator(film) and Point of View(film) should be separate entries.--Inverarity 03:09, 1 May 2005 (UTC)


The following quote is obviously subjective/POV. I think A Home at the End of the World was a good story. It had at least three narrators (Bobby, Jonathan and Alice) and possibly Clare as well.

A good story must have a well-defined and consistent narrator. To this end there are several rules that govern the narrator. It* exists in the world of the story, not in the world of the Reader or the Author. The narrator is a single entity with definite attributes and limitations. The narrator cannot communicate anything it does not encounter. In other words the narrator sees the story from the point it occupies within the fictional world. This is called point of view.

--Taejo 9 July 2005 10:25 (UTC)


(warning: plot spoilers for The Usual Suspects and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd follow)

This is more of reference desk question than necessarily something that should be added to the article. As somebody mentioned before, in The Usual Suspects, the author basically uses the first-person narrator to trick the audience to some extent. In The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, the author clearly exploits the narrator to try to deceive the audience. Is there a name for this plot device? Is it ever used outside of murder mysteries? --Interiot 17:10, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Merge[edit]

please merge all 3 currently listed mergetag articles into this article. Zzzzz 18:08, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Grammatical person is a grammatical concept, whereas Narrator is a literary concept -- I fail to see why the two should be merged. UnDeadGoat 21:19, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
The Narrator generally reffers to a specific entity, especially in film and play. The other three articles are primarily concepts. There is no reason for them to be merged. DMAJohnson 21:19, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
No: Grammatical person is an entirely different concept to literature perspective. (One is about the grammar of an individual word, the other is about not any of the words in the text, but the writing style). Since this has been going for over a month, if there are no reasons to merge soon, I will remove the merge tags for grammatical person. —EatMyShortz 14:41, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Oh, on a closer reading of the Grammatical person article, I think the bottom section could be merged into here (it's about point of view in writing). However the top part should definitely stay in its own article. —EatMyShortz 15:20, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
I concur with UnDeadGoat and EatMyShortz. Grammatical person is a different concept than Narrator. The bottom part of Grammatical person should merged with Narrator though. ABehrens 16:52, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
I fail to see the connection between narration and grammatical person. Don't merge. --Chris (talk) 20:23, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
I'll add an additional no merge vote. It seems pretty conclusively anti-merge; perhaps the tags can come off? SnowFire 05:27, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
I've just linked the artice about The A.B.C. Murders to the POV article, and the POV article explains precisely the comment under discussion, which having to link to a narrator article would not. (To clarify, the narrator of that novel also writes a third-person narrative ... there are not two separate narrators.) I can think of many examples where one would want to link to narrator itself, so I agree that the articles should not be merged. I would also like the tags removed. --Sordel 18:58, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

Need to Know[edit]

I'd rather see the several narrative POVs kept separate. It seems more logical to have a good definition/explanation of what POV is, then the kinds of POV, with links to further info on each of them. Not everyone wants to know all of that. Some may want only the skinny on first person, for example, and not want to wade through a bunch of other stuff to find it. I'd also like to see all the POVs more fully covered.

As for Narrator, as someone pointed out, that isn't just the POV storyteller. It has other meanings. A full discussion of the narrator, could cover narrative voice, briefly, while referring the reader who wants to know more to the POV topic. Narrator isn't subset of POV, but, strictly speaking, POV is a subset of narrator.

Dramatic point of view?[edit]

I think we should include the dramatic point of view usually used in plays.

If not merged then . . .[edit]

If these articles aren't merged (at least the PoV and Narrator), then something should at least be done to further differentiate the two. I read the PoV article first, then found that the Narrator article was largely the same information. If it deserves its own article, then it should definitely bring something new to the table. Antemeridian 15:18, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

The problem here is that there is a lot of point-of-view material on the Narrator page that belongs on the Point of View page. This can be cleaned up. It seems to me that the merge tag can be removed once this is done. If I don't see an objection, I'll likely proceed on that basis.Avt tor 06:53, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Spoiler for "The Usual Suspects" Removed[edit]

{{spoiler}} I noticed that Keyser Soze from The Usual Suspects was listed as a unreliable narrator. A bit of a spoiler, don't you think? I changed it back to Verbal Kint. Nqnpipnr 12:06, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Academic literary criticism?[edit]

Just a quick question with regard to the introduction: I'm not sure that "literary criticism" as an "academic exercise" even existed up to the 1800s. If I'm not mistaken, Terry Eagleton writes about the historical development of the academic discipline of 'English literature' (though I don't have the book in which he does so); I'm fairly certain it's a modern phenomenon. It might be a safer bet to re-word along the lines of "criticism of literature dealt almost exclusively with poetry" and avoid the problem of the development of the academic discipline; but even this, according to Raymond Williams' account of the development of the word 'literature', might be suspect (in Keywords [1983], 183-188). He says that in the eighteenth century the term referred to "the whole body of books and writing"--that is, fiction and non-fiction, or learning in general. Literature used in this sense was a new meaning at this point in history; up until then and for a while concurrently, it meant 'literacy' or the ability to read. Hazlitt, writing in 1825, uses it in the following way: "I suppose the two first persons you would chose to see would be the two greatest names in English literature, Sir Isaac Newton and Mr Locke" (quoted by Williams, 185); not men who we would think of as having wrote 'literature'. Williams goes on to discuss the meaning of the word 'poetry' in the same article, which reveals both the familiar observation that 'poetry' referred to 'plays' as well as poems, and reveals that it also referred to what we now call 'prose'. So to say that literary criticism concentrated on poetry rather than literature is to miss the far broader meaning of 'poetry' during this period. I don't, I'm afraid, have any easy solution to this Gordian knot. DionysosProteus 02:56, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

I am just making a suggestion, not trying necessarily to persuade anyone, but I challenge others to a debate if they think they can show me that something called a 'narrator' generally exists only within the world of a story, and not elsewhere, again excluding the author and reader. CDG —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cdg1072 (talkcontribs) 23:56, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Concerns[edit]

What are the real basic concept about this page or title called marration or narrator!!!

Is it gonna help the students to improve their grades? Is it gonna help them learn ?

Give me the real definition io this title. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 200.32.206.238 (talk) 16:34, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Immersive as "peacock term"[edit]

"immersive" describes the aim or characteristic of a narrative to provide a realistic world in which the reader can "immerse" him or herself. How is that a "peacock term" as labelled here? Norman Marshall (talk) 17:44, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

I tend to agree with Norman's perspective on "immersive" here. Though I am not entirely certain that all novels are necessarily immersive, it does not seem at all to be an example of "puffery" as described by Wikipedia. If the objective is to dispute "immersive" as a universal descriptor of novels, that should probably be done in some other way. The tag seems inaccurate. LUxlii (talk) 02:05, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
I am removing the tag since no one seems willing to step up to argue for keeping it. If there is a counter-argument for keeping it or if the objection is with "immersive" as a descriptor of all novels, I hope someone will step up with appropriate edits. LUxlii (talk) 23:03, 25 March 2011 (UTC)


Drama tools A narrator is also a drama tool. Many people like to use this because it enhances the audience and makes them understand whats happening. Other drama tools : Cross cutting, thought tracking and freeze frames — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.141.81.85 (talk) 17:54, 11 February 2013 (UTC)