Study Guide

The Art of Fielding Narrator Point of View

By Chad Harbach

Narrator Point of View

Third-Person (Limited Omniscient)—Four POV Characters

No one can be a baseball team by himself. Nine players must cooperate to make a good team. The fate of the team doesn't rely on any one person, and neither does the narrative rely on any one person in The Art of Fielding. The book rotates among four different point of view characters, and not all of them are on the Westish Harpooners baseball team (one of them doesn't even like baseball).

We follow Henry Skrimshander, star shortstop who falls from grace; Mike Schwartz, the coach who doesn't want to coach; Pella Affenlight, the woman who never met a dish she couldn't get clean; and Guert Affenlight, the college president who likes baseball way less than he likes one of the male students at his college. These four characters give us a fully rounded look at the Westish College experience from the sports team to the administration to a new student.

However, not everyone gets to share his or her own perspective. Even though the book's synopsis discusses the "fate of five people," Owen—Henry's roommate and teammate and Guert's love interest—doesn't get a POV chapter of his own. Why do you think Harbach chose to not give his "gay mulatto" (2.72) character a voice?

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