Ling 131: Language & Style
Topic 8 - Discourse structure and point of view > Discourse structure of 1st and 3rd person novels
|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|
Discourse structure of 1st and 3rd person novels
Because novels always have narrators present, as well as authors, readers and characters, they prototypically need three discourse levels in their discourse architecture. In other words, the abstract discourse structure for the novel as a genre is like the discourse architecture we saw in the play A Man for All Seasons:
Note that the term usually used for the person who the narrator addresses is the 'narratee'.
The reason that criticism of the novel has largely been the criticism of viewpoint is that prototypically the novel has the most discourse levels and so the most viewpoints to take into account: at least six, according to the above diagram (and this only assumes a novel with two characters of course!). We will also discover, as we explore the topic of point of view, that it is the interactions between level 2 and the other levels that is crucially important in the novelist's ability to manipulate viewpoint in interesting and innovative ways. The other important thing to notice, which is strongly connected with what we have just said, is that this abstract discourse structure represents the novel as a whole. But we will now begin to see that particular novels have discourse architectures which are particular variations on the abstract discourse structure for the novel as a whole, and that these variations affect viewpoint.