Effectiveness Of Point Of View In Short Stories
Compare and contrast the effectiveness of viewpoints utilized in the stories by D.H. Lawrence in “The Rocking Horse Winner” and Graham Greene in “The Destructors” and why the omniscient point of view gives a wider perspective of the story with less intimacy.
Effectiveness Of Point Of View
In writing short stories authors chose many points of view to bring intimacy to the story. Authors must choose the amount of intimacy they want to portray in their storyline before choosing the point of view to present the story. Different points of view bring about different effects for the story as a whole. The plot can be distant or intimate depending on what point of view the author uses in the story. The author needs to decide if the intimacy or a wider view of the story is what the he or she wishes to achieve with the point of view. First person point of view gives the most intimacy with the reader to the character writing the story. Third person omniscient point of view creates the least intimacy when writing the story. An author may choose to have limited third person where the story is told from one character and can be as intimate as first person point of view. The point of view has an effect on the story. An author can roam freely through characters' thoughts and emotions in one point of view or limit the stories intimacy by choosing a different point of view to write present the story. Different points of view have different effects on the story that the author is presenting (Johnson 237-243). In this paper I will compare the effectiveness of the points of view used by the Graham Greene in The Destructors and D.H. Lawrence in The Rocking Horse Winner.
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The Rocking Horse Winner is written from the omniscient point of view that enables the author to have the most flexibility in presenting the story. The author tells the story from the point of view of the writer where it enables the writer to reveal information to the reader when the he or she decides it is warranted for the storyline. The author can go from one thought to another without discrediting the believability of the story. The readers are made aware of information that other characters in the story are not aware. An example of this is how the reader of “The Rocking Horse Winner” is aware of Paul's secret world is when the reader learns that Paul rides his rocking horse to find the answer for his problem (Johnson 308). Paul is seeking the attention of his mother and is determined that for him to be receive that attention he must make his mother feel that he is lucky. Paul equates luck with money due to his mother's statements about not being lucky because she married his father that was not capable of making money. Paul's mother equates luck with money. Paul's mother in her discussion with Paul reveals that because her husband did not make money and become wealthy she is unable to love him from the written short story in Perrine's Literature Structure, Sound and Sense by Thomas Arp and Greg Johnson (297). The author reveals all this information to us by presentation of his story from the third person limited point of view. The effect is that the reader is given many details and emotions presented by the writer that he or she may not otherwise receive. The reader is more distant from the character because information is described from a third person rather than first person but the reader in turn receives knowledge that he or she could not receive in the first person point of view. Intimacy is not developed with this point of view between the characters and the reader as it would if the story was written in first person point of view. Intimacy develops in the story because the author does not present the story from multitude of characters it is written in the point of view of Paul and his life story. The reader is drawn into feeling the hurt that Paul must feel by frantically trying to please his mother and receive love from her. Hester, Paul's mother, feels that luck is money and that money equates to love, as told from Paul's point of view. Paul assumes that if he wants his mother to love him he must be lucky and that means he needs to be successful and make money to show his luck. The effect of the limited third person point of view has a more intimate connection for the reader with the story.
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In the short story The Destructors written by Graham Greene the omniscient point of view was utilized for presentation to the reader (Johnson 111). The author is able to give a clear picture of what is going on with the main characters of the story line. One of the main characters represented in the story, Trevor, the reader does not go into his head to see his thoughts and feelings but that is the only main character that the reader does not get to hear of his emotions. The author jumps from one character to another such as Blackie, Old Misery, and the gang as a whole such as when the author relays to the reader that “the whole gang was puzzled and perturbed by this action and tried to explain it away” when they received chocolates from Old Misery, Mr. Thomas. (Johnson 113). There was also the statement made “Next day T. astonished them all” when he was late to join them to plan out what they were to do that day and had been at Mr. Thomas's house(Johnson 112). The author, Graham Greene gives the reader a background on Mr. Thomas on page 112 in Perrine's Literature Structure, Sound, & Sense Tenth edition written by Thomas R. Arp and Greg Johnson which is a way of also determining what point of view the author is using in the story.
Graham Greene in the short story The Destructors tells the story in the position of third person, someone looking into the story, by telling the story from omniscient point of view the author is able to move about the story without concern of destroying the believability of the story. This is also the position utilized in the short story The Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence but the author limits the amount of main characters that he shares their emotions with the reader. The reader becomes more intimate with the character of Paul in this story. The story is told more from the perspective of Paul and less characters' perspectives are used in the telling of the story as compared to The Destructors. The author by using the limited as compared to the omniscient point of view develops a more intimate relationship whereas when using the omniscient the story is told more from a distant point of view, allowing the author to jump from one scene to the next in the story.
Greene, Graham. The Destructors. 111-124. 1954. Perrine's Literature Structure, Sound & Sense. Boston Wadsworth cengage Learning. 2009.
Johnson, Greg and Arp, Thomas R. Perrine's Literature Structure, Sound & Sense. Boston Wadsworth Cengage Learning. 2009.
Lawrence, D.H. The Rocking Horse Winner.295-309. 1933. Perrine's Literature Structure, Sound & Sense. Boston Wadsworth Cengage Learning. 2009