Study Guide

A Break With Charity Narrator Point of View

By Ann Rinaldi

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Narrator Point of View

First Person—Central Narrator—Susanna English

We've got our leading lady here to give us her story. Yep—Susanna English tells us the whole tale from start to finish. What's cool about this is that we get to hear about a big historical event (the Salem Witch Trials) from a super personal perspective. Even Susanna's parents are accused of being witches, and that's about as up-close-and-personal as things can get.

So since we're so chummy with Susanna, we get to know what she's thinking pretty much all the time. This means that when she's scared about her parents and sis hiding out in New York, we're right there with her. And when she's smooching Johnathan for the first time, we get to see it all through her eyes… and lips.

Plus Susanna is pretty honest, and even narrates things that she's afraid of, like how she feels guilty about her part in the witch trials:

Though my name appears not in any of the briefs or letters or public statements written about the witch madness, I was as much a part of the shame of it as any of them.

I stand as guilty as they. For I knew better and did not step forth to try to stop the madness. Certainly not in any manner that counted. I held back, afraid. (Prologue.17-18)

Pretty forthcoming, right? Susanna sure does tell us exactly how she's feeling, and her willingness to share the uglier bits about herself help makes this such a great read. Since Susanna is in charge of telling her story, she could cover up her faults—heck, she could lie to us if she really wanted—but instead Susanna tells it like it is, and that makes her a pretty reliable narrator.

So what do you think? Is Susanna always a reliable storyteller? Or are there patches where you don't really trust her?

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