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Literature Glossary

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

Over 200 literary terms, Shmooped to perfection.



In the wise words of Oscar Wilde, "The optimist sees the doughnut; the pessimist the hole."

Tossing the doughnuts aside for a moment (what? never!), we'd like to point out what Oscar is in fact pointing out: perspective is important.

And that's where point of view comes in. Point of view is the perspective of a narrator or character. A narrator can write from different points of view, mainly first person or third person.

Choosing the point of view is a big deal for an author, because the perspective from which a novel is narrated has a big impact on a reader's experience. If it's in the first person, for example, we get a limited view of the events; we don't get the full picture, but we do get to get to know a character quite well. If we're reading from a third person's perspective, we might get a bird's eye view, but we'll be a bit detached from the goings on.

Of course, these are generalizations, and the effect of point of view is different for each book you read. But it's always something to consider.