Listen to part of a lecture in a literature class.
Authors of fiction-short stories and novels-
of course have many decisions to make when they are writing their works.
One of those decisions is how they are going to narrate or tell the story-
what perspective, or what point of view the story will be told from.
So, authors need to choose a type of narrator-
some person or voice to tell the story-
and this narrator can affect the reader's experience when they read a story.
Now, the author might choose to have an objective narrator.
An objective narrator can describe what people-the characters in a story-
what they do and what they say,
but that's about all.
So, suppose we have a story, for example, that is about a man and woman about to take a trip.
When a story is told by an objective narrator,
the only information that we get as readers is what the characters say to each other, what they do-
they get on the train, they sit down, they look out the window...
that's all. And this leaves questions that force the reader to interpret the events,
to fill in information,
and decide what the characters' conversation and actions might mean.
Another kind of narrator an author might use
is an omniscient narrator.
In this case, the narrator-the voice that is telling the story-
and I mean everything-about the characters.
So, let's imagine our same man and woman traveling,
but described by an omniscient narrator.
Not only do we, the readers,
know what they do and say,
but we also know what they're
thinking. For example,
we are told that the couple is going to visit an old friend of the man's,
and we learn what the man is thinking-
that he is nervous because he hasn't seen his friend in a long time...
that he is worried if his wife will like the friend¡.
So an omniscient narrator provides more information
and answers questions that the reader might have about the characters or the action.