Saturday, March 7, 2009

Focus #3 - Narrative and Point of View

Stories are not reflections of reality but are selective versions of it, told from a particular view. The author positions the reader to respond to a story in particular ways through the use of language, point of view, etc. (Simpson, 1996). To deeply understand a novel, readers must analyze the text and question the author's purpose and viewpoint.

To Kill a Mockingbird is told in first person by Jean Louise “Scout” Finch. The novel begins from the point of view of the adult Scout, as she looks back on her childhood. Through the filter of her adult experience, she revisits her memories that, though long ago passed, have a life of their own.

  1. Consider Chapters 8-11.
  2. Explore Scout's narration. Imagine the novel narrated by Dill or told from Boo Radley's point of view. How might it be different?
  3. Atticus explains to Scout that "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it" (36). Consider what the quotation means
    - What is the speaker trying to explain to his daughter?
    - What does the speaker mean by the term point of view?
    - How does perspective, or point of view, come into play in writing?

The narrative mode encompasses not only who tells the story, but also how the story is described or expressed. With your group, discuss and record your understanding of how the narrative mode, particularly point of view, comes into play in writing. The following questions may be used to guide your response.

  • Why might Harper Lee tell the story from an adult perspective, narrated by a child many years after the fact?
  • What is the role of perspective in understanding a novel?
  • What makes a good work of historical fiction?

Groups engage in discussion to extend and apply knowledge. The groups must examine all students' viewpoints, agree on a response, and justify their response using details from readings.

Post your final response to the question: Does the perspective from which this story is told improve or detract from the novel? Support your position with specific references to and quotes from the text.


  1. how do you like the book?

  2. I think that if Dill or Jem were to narrate the book it wouldn't be as descriptive because girls usually care more than guys do. If they were narrating the book then it wouldn't have as much feeling or seem to care as much. Scout narrating it makes everything seems to help the book flow.

  3. I feel the book could be read by anyone who understands it

  4. i think Harper Lee picked a child for a narator because of the nature and charictaristics of a child, as well if an adult told the story it would'nt be as interisting as when a child tells the story. For example the myth of Boo Radly an adult would say ho theres a waco across the street, a child would make a mistery is there a sico across the street?

  5. I think that if someone other than Scout told the story, the story would go in a total different direction. I believe that gorls tell a story in more detail than a guy because girls tend to listen and tell major details; like if Dill would of told the story, it would probably be more vag.

  6. I think that if someone other than scout were to tell the story then it wouldn't b as discriptive as if an adult or Dill or Jem because girls generally use more discriptive words and go into more descriptive detail.

  7. I think that if the story had a differtent narator the story would be different in every way.

  8. Final Post- Focus #3
    If there was another narrator for the story the story will have a completely different perspectve. Scout is telling the story fom a child point of view. Telling the story from a childs point of view and more people would rather just get the major detail than just the specific details that an adult will talk about in the book.
    Katie Kreye

  9. if there was a different narrator the story wouldnt be called to kill a mockingbird. all the things said by scout and what she was thinking was all her and nobody else would have told it in the same waay she did. she is telling the story the way she sees it because she is a kid and doesnt unserstand anything. i think someone is courageous if they have no idea what is going on because then the have nothing telling them that its wrong or that is dumb.

  10. I think Harper Lee narrated it as an adult because she understood how things were back then when she grew up. Being a child in the story helps emphasize the meaning of the book because the young kids don't understand the things we need to. Scouts viewpoint is better in this book then jems. Jem is older and understands things more then scout. his makes it harder for the reader to interpret the main points.


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