Study Guide

Alligator Bayou Narrator Point of View

By Donna Jo Napoli

Narrator Point of View

First Person (Central)

Our main man, Calogero, is also our narrator in this book, and he tells us exactly what is going on as he sees it, in addition to sharing his thoughts with us. He seems like a pretty trustworthy dude (be sure to check out his analysis in the "Characters" section to dig deeper into what a quality young man we have as our leader through this book), but because he's the one telling us this story, we only ever understand things from his perspective. This has subtle—yet significant—implications. Let's look at a seemingly mundane passage to sort this out a little more clearly, though. Check this out:

I yank his arm, and we run. We don't slow down till we see our house. (1.22)

Calo and Cirone are running back to the house after sneaking out at night, and the arm he's yanking here belongs to his younger cousin. While Calo's investment is in getting home—otherwise he wouldn't have yanked his cousin's arm—we won't actually know how Cirone feels here. As a more adventurous character than Calo, maybe he wants to stick around and explore more, or perhaps Calo yanks his arm hard and it hurts the younger boy. We, quite simply, have no way of knowing—unless Cirone clues Calo in, and Calo then clues us in too.

The cool thing about Calo as our narrator, though, is that by keeping so close to him, we can't help but care about what happens to him. Plus, at fourteen years old there's plenty he knows, but also plenty he has left to learn, and we get to learn right along with him.

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