Ling 131: Language & Style
Topic 8 - Discourse structure and point of view > Session overview
|Discourse structure and point of view|
|Discourse structure of 1st and 3rd person novels|
|Being the author!|
|Different kinds of point of view|
|Linguistic indicators of point of view|
|Point of view in a more extended example|
|Point of view checksheet|
|Topic 8 'tool' summary|
What will we learn in this topic?
In this topic we are going to explore how point of view, or viewpoint, is expressed linguistically. This aspect of language is particularly important for study of the novel, which, as we shall see, is the most complex of the three main literary genres in terms of viewpoint. When we read novels and short stories, a major aspect of our processing task is to pick up on linguistic indicators of viewpoint, and understand how viewpoints change and are inter-related. We are often manipulated by novelists to take up the viewpoint of particular characters as we read, which is a major factor in our sympathising with them. Much 20th century criticism of the novel has been devoted to the criticism of point of view and how our sympathies are directed first at one character and then another.
We will spend most of our time looking at small-scale examples in order to see in detail how novelists use language to manipulate point of view. But in order to understand how these small-scale linguistic devices work, we first need to understand some more general aspects point of view in relation to the differing 'discourse architectures' of different novels. So the first page of Topic 8 is devoted to this matter.