Study Guide

The Orange Houses Narrator Point of View

By Paul Griffin

Narrator Point of View

Third Person Omniscient 

We've got ourselves an outside narrator in The Orange Houses, someone who can weave in and out of any character's consciousness at will. Take when we first meet Jimmi, for example:

Jimmi Sixes the street poet eyed the bathroom mirror. He picked up the glitter lipstick the cross dresser down the hall left on the sink ledge. Over his cracked reflection he wrote: WHY? (4.2)

Notice how we get to see what Jimmi's doing even though he's alone? That's because our trusty narrator has access to the characters' thoughts and actions that no one else can see.

It's the same with Fatima:

Fatima savored each French fry as she wrote her sister a letter. (7.2)

Here, we get to learn how she feels about the food (she loves it—that's the whole savoring bit) even though she doesn't say a word about it. Cool, right? Also: french fries.

Finally, with Mik, we hear what she's thinking all the time, since she doesn't speak much at first. For instance:

She pictured herself soaring over the Bronx, clouds vaporizing, the sky empty but for the bright blue in it. (9.3)

No one knows what Mik's thinking, but our trusty narrator is capable of slipping into her thoughts, sharing them with us to help us understand this often-silent girl.

The moral of the story if this: Our narrator hovers outside the story, visiting each character in turn and, in doing so, offering us different perspectives throughout the novel. We're not just focused on Jimmi or Fatima or Mik; we learn what's going down with all three of these characters. The result is a pretty complete patchwork picture of the terrible events that frame the story, as well as a complex rendering of each main character.

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