First vs. Third Person Narratives (Update)

After having a class discussion about first and third person narratives, I can add much more to my previous post. Firstly, I find first person narratives to be informal compared to third person narratives. It is basically a conversational way of telling the story; Quoting Mr. Parker, “I feel like I am sitting in a room with the narrator who is telling me a story.” This is a huge difference between the two narratives. Next, it is much harder to connect to other characters in the first person because it is the narrator telling his personal story. Because of this, the reader does not get much internal contact with other characters. In addition, I want to add that the narrator is usually biased towards others, telling the reader his own opinion about other characters in the story. This brings up the question: how trustworthy is the narrator? The reader cannot completely trust the narrator; how can one be sure everything isn’t a lie? To prove my point, in The Tell-Tale Heart, (assuming you read it) how do we know the old man isn’t a very nice person, and the narrator is some whacko? I mean, we can all assume (hopefully) that the narrator of this story is probably mad! Who would kill an old man because of his eye that drives the protagonist crazy. Getting back to my point, this causes the reader to have a limited view of what is outside the narrator’s mind, and only see through the narrator’s eyes, but with interpretation. There is a limited awareness of everything else in the story because all the reader knows is what the narrator says.


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