In honor of Independence Day, I thought I'd open with this example of the first-person plural point of view.
Point of view (POV) is the perspective from which the story is told. Because POV is often challenging for writers, Rose's Red Pen will feature a summer series about POV. Last week's post covered the first-person singular POV. Let's move from "I" to "we" with another example of the first-person plural POV:
"We were fractious and overpaid. Our mornings lacked promise." -- Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End
The "we" are either characters in the story or bystanders observing the action. Writers rarely use this POV, but it can be effective. Other examples are William Faulkner's short story "A Rose for Emily" and Karen Joy Fowler's The Jane Austen Book Club.
The advantages of using the first-person POV are:
- Readers are immersed in the story, as if they were one of the characters and part of a select tribe.
- Because the narrators represent a group perspective, they can know and share a lot of information about the main characters.
- The narrators can both observe and comment on the action, similar in function to a Greek chorus.
- It can become annoying, even claustrophobic for readers.
- Because the narrators can know so much, the temptation is to tell readers everything rather than showing them through action and letting them draw their own conclusions.