ELEMENTS OF FICTION- Point of View

As we read stories with POV in mind, we should remember the following things:

1) It is important to consider how POV affects our responses to the characters, and how it collaborates with the other elements of fiction to convey feeling and embody meaning.

2) Our response to a fictional narrator is influenced by the degree of a narrator's knowledge, the objectivity of a narrator's responses, and the degree of his/her participation in the action.

3) A first person narrator is not always a reliable narrator: in fact, a large part of our "work" as readers is to determine a narrator's reliability!


Amy Tan's "Rules of the Game"

Part 1--PLOT
1) What is the story about? (Note--you cannot answer this question correctly by a plot summary!)
2) Where is the exposition of the plot? What are the conflicts? Climax? Is there a resolution/falling away? So what?
3) Did the story end where you thought it would? Why does it end in "mid-move?"
4) What "games" are being played? How are those games won?

Part 2--CHARACTER

1) List the Characters in the story, and define them as major/minor, static/dynamic. Why is it important that the dynamic character(s) are dynamic?
2) Describe the characters in the story. Who describes each of the characters? What words/images do they use? How do the minor characters affect the major characters?
3) How do the characters affect the meaning of the story?

Part 3--SETTING

1) What is the specific, physical setting for the story? Do you believe in the concreteness of this setting? Why?
2) Are there other kinds of settings involved? Where does Tan tell you this information? Note that the characters are in this setting--why is this important?

Part 4--POINT OF VIEW (POV)

1) Is the POV 1st or 3rd person? Why does this matter?
2) Is the POV omniscient, or limited?
3) Whose POV is used for this story? How does the POV view the other major character(s)?? Does this view change in the story? (Find passages that show this, and explain their significance.)
4) Why is it significant that we only get a limited view through the POV?
5) How does the POV help produce the meaning of the story?