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Literature Glossary

Don’t be an oxymoron. Know your literary terms.

Over 200 literary terms, Shmooped to perfection.



The narrator is the one who tells the story—kind of like a guide leading you through a novel or short story. A narrator can have a limited point-of-view, as with first-person narrators, or they can have total omniscience. Narrators can be unreliable or trustworthy. They can be close to the action or as far away as possible. It all depends.

In many ways, narrators (even third-person ones) become characters in their own right. Some of our favorite narrators include Watson in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the witty, snarky voice of Jane Austen's novels, and the kooky narrator of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Who are your faves?