Understanding and Identifying Points of View in Literature

The concept of "point of view" (POV) in literature plays a crucial role in shaping narratives, allowing writers to convey stories from different perspectives. To enhance your reading comprehension and excel in standardized tests, you must grasp the various common points of view used in texts. This comprehensive guide explores the five primary narrator perspectives - first-person, second-person, third-person objective, third-person limited, and third-person omniscient - providing examples to illustrate each point of view. Additionally, we discuss the importance of distinguishing dialogue from narration, ensuring a clear understanding of these literary techniques.

Before delving into reading strategies associated with point of view, a solid foundation is needed to recognize and understand the different types they may encounter in their readings. Such knowledge empowers them to appreciate the writer's choices in storytelling fully. There are five fundamental narrator points of view that you should become adept at identifying.

In this section, we will take an in-depth look at each point of view and provide illustrative examples. To demonstrate these perspectives, we will use a common scenario: the conclusion of a closely contested basketball game. By narrating this scene from various angles, we can emphasize the similarities and differences in each point of view.

Exploring Point of View Walk in Anothers Shoes

First-Person Perspective: In first-person point of view, the narrator tells the story from their own perspective, often using pronouns like "I," "me," and "mine." This style offers direct access to a character's thoughts and emotions, prevalent in fiction and nonfiction.

Example: "I stand at the free throw line, taking deep breaths to prepare for my shot," I say, feeling the crowd's intensity. The score is tied at 60-60, and there are only 10 seconds left on the clock...

Second-Person Perspective: Second-person point of view directly addresses the reader using pronouns such as "you" and "your." While commonly found in instructional writing, it can be used effectively in fiction, creating an immersive experience for the reader.

Example: "Standing at the free throw line, you take deep breaths, preparing to make the shot," you hear a voice say. The score is tied at 60-60, and there are just 10 seconds left on the clock...

Third-Person Objective: In the third-person objective point of view, a character narrates the story without revealing their thoughts and feelings. It maintains a neutral, unbiased perspective, often seen in news reports.

Example: A player stands at the free throw line, taking deep breaths, preparing to take the shot. The score is tied at 60-60 with only 10 seconds left on the clock...

Third Person Limited: Third-person limited focuses on the perspective of a single character while referring to others in the third person. It provides insights into one character's thoughts and emotions, usually the main character.

Example: The player stood at the free throw line, taking deep breaths to prepare for the shot. The score was tied at 60-60, and there were only 10 seconds left on the clock...

Third-Person Omniscient: The third-person omniscient point of view offers readers a godlike perspective, granting deep insights into the internal lives of multiple characters. The narrator knows the actions, thoughts, and emotions of all characters in the story.

Example: The players found themselves locked in a fierce battle, with the score tied at 60-60 and only 10 seconds remaining on the clock...

Additional Notes on Alternative Points of View: While the five primary narrator perspectives cover most scenarios, there are rare alternatives such as first-person omniscient. In longer novels, points of view may shift between characters, requiring readers to adapt their perspectives as they progress through the story.

Distinguishing Dialogue from Narration:

It is essential for students to differentiate between dialogue and narration when identifying points of view in texts. Common confusion arises when characters use first-person pronouns like "I" within direct speech. To ensure accurate point-of-view identification, students should primarily focus on narration.

Example of Distinguishing Dialogue from Narration (Approximately 50 words): Dialogue: "I can't believe you're leaving," Jane said with tears in her eyes. "I know, it's hard," replied Jack, trying to keep his voice steady.

Narration: Jane looked at Jack with tears in her eyes. She couldn't believe he was leaving. Jack tried to keep his voice steady as he told her he had to go, that it was the right thing for him.


Understanding and identifying points of view in literature are fundamental skills for students. This guide equips them with the knowledge to explore narratives from

Related Articles: 

1) English Activities for Kids – Fun, Free, and Engaging

2) Key Shifts in English Language Arts

3) Nurturing Gifted Youth: Programs, Education, and Success

4) English Word Games for Kids