Second Person / Third
It's a little unusual to say that there are two narrative points
of view, but hey, Milne's Pooh stories are based around a remarkably complex
structure. Here's how he does it: narrative framing. The stories we know and
love (told in the third person) are presented in the context of Milne telling
them to Christopher Robin (the listener), or writing them down directly for you
(the reader), hence the second person tag.
All about YOU
Milne likes YOU. He wants YOU to get to know the characters. He's
telling YOU the stories. Our author starts off with the second person P.O.V in
the introduction, by addressing the readers directly as "you." He
gets us emotionally involved right away by literally introducing us to the
characters, and even writing as if they are right there with him, influencing
how he writes as he's in the midst of writing.
Once he gets into the chapters, he's telling these stories
directly to Christopher Robin (the listener), also addressing him as "you."
In this way, we, the readers, are also directly identified with one of the
characters in the story by being given the same pronoun. In short, we are Christopher Robin.
Not in a creepy Fight Club
kind of way...unless you really want to go crazy with it. (We
recommend you don't).
Just like we get drawn further into the story by being personified
in Christopher Robin (the listener), CR goes to another level as well by
becoming one of the main characters in the book. Check out "Characterization"
for more on this mind-boggler.
But now for THEM
Once the chapters start and Milne becomes the narrator of bedtime
stories to CR (the listener), he starts using the third-person omniscient
voice. He weaves in and out of all the animals' minds, even CR's (the
character). And he switches back and forth from character to character.
A great example of this is the chapter in which Piglet is entirely
surrounded by water. We get to see five days of the storm from three different
perspectives: Piglet's, Pooh's, and Christopher Robin's (the character).
Every once in a while, Christopher Robin (the listener) interrupts
the third-person version of the story and Milne reverts back to the second
person voice in order to directly address his question or comment. Check out
the "Detailed Summary" for more specifics about when this happens.
Chances are, you're reading this aloud to your kids/students, so the changes in
narrative voice are important. It makes the work interactive for the reader,
and keeps a young child engaged in the story as a listener. It's as if
Christopher Robin (the listener) is speaking on behalf of the real-life child
you're reading to. No wonder all these characters come to life so vividly.