Narrative Perspective – Exercises

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Exercises

Decide whether the passages are written in first or third person perspective. Write first or third in the gap.

  1. Alice thought to herself, “after such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down the stairs! How brave they’ll all think of me at home! Why, I wouldn’t say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!
    – Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland narrator uses the third person pronoun herself → third person perspective
    person perspective
  2. “Landlord!” said I, “what sort of chap is he -- does he always keep such late hours?” It was now hard upon twelve o'clock. The landlord chuckled again with his lean chuckle, and seemed to be mightily tickled at something beyond my comprehension.
    – Herman Melville, Moby Dick narrator uses first person pronouns I/my → first person perspective
    person perspective
  3. Shall I?” I said briefly; and I looked at his features, beautiful in their harmony, but strangely formidable in their still severity; at his brow, commanding, but not open; at his eyes, bright and deep and searching, but never soft; at his tall imposing figure; and fancied myself in idea his wife.
    – Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre narrator uses first person pronouns I/myself → first person perspective
    person perspective
  4. When Jane and Elizabeth were alone, the former, who had been cautious in her praise of Mr. Bingley before, expressed to her sister how very much she admired him.
    “He is just what a young man ought to be,” said she, “sensible, good humoured, lively; and I never saw such happy manners! -- so much ease, with such perfect good breeding!”
    – Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice narrator uses third person pronouns she/her → third person perspective
    person perspective
  5. High above the city, on a tall column, stood the statue of the Happy Prince. He was gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold, for eyes he had two bright sapphires, and a large red ruby glowed on his sword-hilt.
    – Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince narrator uses the third person pronoun he → third person perspective
    person perspective

Read the passages and decide which narrative point of view has been used.

  1. Margaret, the eldest of the four, was sixteen, and very pretty, being plump and fair, with large eyes, plenty of soft brown hair, a sweet mouth, and white hands, of which she was rather vain.[…] Amy, though the youngest, was a most important person, in her own opinion at least.
    – Louisa May Alcott, Little Women the thoughts, feelings or intentions of both Margaret and Amy are revealed by the narrator → third person omniscent
  2. The Scarecrow found a tree full of nuts and filled Dorothy’s basket with them, so that she would not be hungry for a long time. She thought this was very kind and thoughtful of the Scarecrow, but she laughed heartily at the awkward way in which the poor creature picked up the nuts. […] But the Scarecrow did not mind how long it took him to fill the basket, for it enabled him to keep away from the fire, as he feared a spark might get into his straw and burn him up.
    – L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz the thoughts, feelings or intentions of both Dorothy and the Scarecrow are revealed by the narrator → third person omniscent
  3. They spoke no more until camp was made. Henry was bending over and adding ice to the bubbling pot of beans when he was startled by the sound of a sharp snarling cry of pain from among the dogs. Henry grunted with a tone that was not sympathy, and for a quarter of an hour they sat on in silence, Henry staring at the fire, and Bill at the circle of eyes that burned in the darkness just beyond the firelight.
    – Jack London, White Fang nobody’s thoughts feelings or intentions are revealed by the narrator → third person objective
  4. His one desire was to know what was happening and at any cost correct, or remedy, the mistake if he had made one, so that he, an exemplary officer of twenty-two years' service, who had never been censured, should not be held to blame.[…] Despite his desperate shouts that used to seem so terrible to the soldiers, despite his furious purple countenance distorted out of all likeness to his former self, and the flourishing of his saber, the soldiers all continued to run, talking, firing into the air, and disobeying orders.
    – Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace the thoughts, feelings or intentions of the commander and the soldiers are revealed by the narrator → third person omniscent
  5. Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, "and what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversations?" So she was considering, in her own mind whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.
    – Lewis Carol, The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland only the thoughts, feelings or intentions of Alice are revealed by the narrator → third person limited