Study Guide

The White Darkness Narrator Point of View

By Geraldine McCaughrean

Narrator Point of View

First Person (Central)

Welcome to Antarctica. Today our guide will be Sym, a fourteen-year-old girl who's traveling with her Uncle Victor. When it comes to the terrain, she's a dependable guide; Sym has long been obsessed with the South Pole, so she's an expert. When it comes to her life, though, she's a little less reliable. It's not that she's crazy or anything—Sym just willfully ignores the stuff that bothers her, which makes her seem a little slow or even oblivious.

As readers, we have a front-row seat to Sym's thoughts because they are dramatized as conversations with Titus, her imaginary friend. Of course, both sides of the conversation are really just Sym. "Everything Titus ever said to me could only have come from inside me. Things I've read. Things I imagined" (23.48), she tells us.

In these exchanges, Titus has a distinct point of view in that he tends to notice suspicious things well before Sym consciously acknowledges them. For example, we know (via Titus) that Sym notices signs of Manfred and Sigurd's con way before Manfred's confession because Titus tells Sym that their accents slip and notes that they only ever speak English. But again, Sym and Titus are both working from the same information. As Titus says, "Sym, I hear everything you hear" (6.63). Sometimes Sym just doesn't listen.

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