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Thread: The point of view

  1. #1
    Registered User Orual's Avatar
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    Apr 2007

    The point of view

    I apologize if this has been discussed previously. I didn't see it if it has.

    One thing that has always puzzled me about The Brothers Karamazov is the point of view. It's usually third person with loose limitations, but every so often Dostoyevsky uses first person and inserts himself as a sort of historian. Why does he do this? A historian recording reality as a novel certainly wouldn't be privy to the thoughts of the characters, but character analysis through thought is widespread (the part where Alyosha returns to the monestary and listens to the reading of the wedding in Cana comes to mind.) Anyone have any thoughts on this technique?
    "Our little systems have their day;
    They have their day and cease to be:
    They are but broken lights of thee,
    And thou, O Lord, art more than they."
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  2. #2
    Ataraxia bazarov's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
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    Well, sometimes I got the feeling he was somewhere between them and nobody has noticed him. I think he used first person to express his ideas, personal views and feelings about some things, like an objective view on situations, probably trying to get things closer to reader. It's nothing unusual, Tolstoy was using same technique in War and Peace.
    At thunder and tempest, At the world's coldheartedness,
    During times of heavy loss And when you're sad
    The greatest art on earth Is to seem uncomplicatedly gay.

    To get things clear, they have to firstly be very unclear. But if you get them too quickly, you probably got them wrong.
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  3. #3
    Fingertips of Fury B-Mental's Avatar
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    Is it Omniscient Third Person? Not sure, its been a while.
    "I am glad to learn my friend that you had not yet submitted yourself to any of the mouldy laws of Literature."
    -John Muir

    "My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - It gives a lovely light"
    -Edna St. Vincent Millay

  4. #4
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Here is a short summary of POVs:
    A 3rd person narrator can move in and out of the minds of different characters, and can be in different places at the same time. It can also comment on the characters by the way in which it describes their actions, appearance, or thoughts eg "When Raymond (wearing his trademark Gucci loafers) walked into a room, everyone else walked out." It is highly 'pass-remarkable' ! A 3rd person narrator like this is called 'omniscient' - all-knowing.
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”

  5. #5
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    Mar 2007
    I also have found the narrative style very interesting.

    I found that the perspective and POV of each character is very important in the story. I heard it described in an article as a polyphonic style, where different voices and worldviews interact with each other throughout the novel, which is the purpose of the omniscient narrator.

    However, as you brought up, the narrator occasionally steps in as a character himself. I see this as a way of reminding the reader that you are reading yet another perspective that is no more authoritative than any of the characters in the story.

  6. #6
    The point of view was omniscient third person, though I gathered that he was a member of Alyosha's monastery. The point of view was very strange.

  7. #7
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    Feb 2008
    He also inserts personal asides, talking about "our village" and "our monastery". It's both impersonal and personal, and it's this dichotomy that makes the narration interesting, I think.

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