Third-Person Point of View

In a work of fiction or nonfiction, the “third-person point of view” recounts events using third-person pronouns such as “he,” “she,” and “they.” The three major kinds of third-person points of view are:

  • Third-person objective: The particulars of a narrative are reported by a seemingly neutral, impersonal observer or recorder. For an instacnce, see “The Rise of Pancho Villa” by John Reed.
  • Third-person omniscient: An all-knowing narrator not only reports the facts but may also interpret events and relate the thoughts and feelings of a character. The novels “Middlemarch” by George Eliot and “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White use the third-person omniscient point of view.
  • Third-person limited: A narrator reports the facts and interprets events from the perspective of a single character. For an example, see Katherine Mansfield’s short story “Miss Brill.”

A writer may depend on a “multiple” or “variable” third-person point of view, in which the perspective changes from that of one character to another during a narrative.

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