Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Analyzing Point of View

The Narrator...
The point of view of a text affects the credibility as well as the overall impression of the work. Thus, based on your reading, how does the point of view of the Bluest Eye affect the literary work as a whole?


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17 comments:

  1. I think the fact that an omniscient narrator is telling the story (or at least for certain parts of the novel), makes the narrator credible because he is "all knowing". I also think that because he is all knowing, the flashbacks he provides make the reader better understand some of the characters and their reasoning. I don't entirely comprehend how, but the narrator giving us information about cholly's background makes the reader almost sympathize with him too. Again, I don't really know WHY so I was hoping someone could help me out.

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  2. The point of view for this novel is very interesting to me. When I began reading the novel I thought that Claudia is not fit to be the narrator. For example, the time Claudia got sick; she seems whiny, complaining that her mother got upset with her for puking on the bed. In addition, the way Claudia describes how she despises the “all the Shirley Temples” and destroys her dolls presents her as envious and mischievous (Morrison 19). I first perceived Claudia as immature and bratty. However, as I continued reading, I understood why the author may have chosen Claudia as narrator. Although she is a child, she provides an honest revelation of her experiences. Of course, as a child, Claudia cannot understand every concept she comes across, but she directly reveals them to the audience. For example, the moment Frieda and Claudia comes home from the snack store, they find Mr. Henry with the three women. Claudia reveals what the adults were doing. The women “seemed to be genuinely enjoying Mr. Henry” (Morrison 77). Unlike Claudia, Mr. Henry lies about the women saying that they were “members of his Bible class” when he was confronted by Frieda (Morrison 78). Another example of Claudia’s honesty is when she tells the reader that she and Frieda “were to be nice to her and not fight” (Morrison 16). She revealed this in a way that gives a sense that they have to befriend Pecola, not that they want to. After reading the whole story, it made me come to the conclusion that if an adult is the narrator for the story, it would be a completely different insight. He or she would possibly omit certain details because they find it inappropriate. Morrison chooses a child narrator because they tend to be more truthful, because they do not fully understand consequences to certain situations.

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  3. The point of view is given through an omniscient narrator, Claudia and Pecola; the omniscient narrator's purpose it to help express emotions of the characters. The narrators can be called credible because they are children, and children often tell the truth, and the omniscient narrator shows no judgment. The omniscient character gives readers a chance to learn about individual characters and their situation so we as the audience can form an opinion of the characters based our morals and values vs. Lorain, Ohio's morals and values. Because the omniscient narrator gives the opportunity to learn about each individual we as the reader learn how themes of physical beauty affects and social status affect each character.

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  4. @Karen
    Well the narrator of the story is Claudia. Interestingly, it seems that the point of view is omniscient since it appears that she knows so much about all of the characters. If the story occurred when Claudia was a pre-adolescent and she is re-telling the events, can you trust her analysis, especially when we know that she began the novel attempting to explain the difficulty children have processing and evaluating the world around them.

    In terms of Cholly's life, we will discuss our feelings of disgust and sympathy for him as a character. This conflict illuminates the theme and purpose of the text.

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  5. @ Lizbeth
    Thank you for your post. I guess I would like to know: Is the narrator really impartial? Does she interject her opinion every once and a while?

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  6. @ Lena
    GREAT INSIGHT AND USE OF CONTEXTUAL EVIDENCE. Now, your final comment is provocative. You said, "After reading the whole story, it made me come to the conclusion that if an adult is the narrator for the story, it would be a completely different insight. He or she would possibly omit certain details because they find it inappropriate."
    I guess I would like to ask do you believe that the narrator is narrating the events as a child or an adult child that lived through this experience?

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  7. Just to clarify, is there an omniscient character? Because your response to Karen said that Claudia is the narrator.

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  8. Torres, as usual you never miss a beat :). To answer your question, YES Claudia is the omniscient narrator. Just remember, the idea of "omniscient narrator" does no solely apply to a 3rd person narrator who does not interact with the other characters. The word omniscient means exactly that: all knowing. Claudia seems to know a lot about everyone's personal history, which should cause a red flag fly concerning the credibility. It sometimes seems as if the narrator switches throughout the text.

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  9. Well now that it has been clarified it can be said that the narrator does give their own opinion and can be slightly biased, however, by narrating another character's story they give the reader the ability to know the whole story. The narrator is credible because she tells the whole truth, even the good and bad qualities of the main characters. In my opinion, we can trust her judgment because she as a child is truthful and some of her opinions could be amusing because she is naive and doesn't fully understand the situation at that time. We all know that what Cholly did was cruel and indecent, however we cannot help but sympathize with his situation. Thus the reader is given the choice of whether to state is was not Cholly's fault entirely because of the way he was brought up or that it was his completely his whole fault because he did not fought his demons and became the better man in the situation.

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  10. If the story took place when Claudia was a pre-adolescent and now she is retelling the story years later, I trust her analysis because not only did she experience everything first hand, she now has the capacity and maturity of an adult to interpret everything that happened. The narrrator closely examines HOW everything happened, to understand WHY everything happened. Since the narrator herself is trying to comprehend why everything happened, she is expected to be honest to come to the true reason why everything happened.

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  11. To answer your question, I believe that the narrator is in fact a child. In the beginning of the story, there is a statement that reads, “But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how” (Morrison 6). If the narrator is now an adult child retelling the story, she would then be able to understand the situations and provide explanations for them. I infer that the story is being told by a child. For a child is not yet mature and cannot decipher the meaning of the events. Furthermore, the story is told by how the events happened and does not give reason for any of the occurrences.

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  12. Wow! I am proud of all of you!!!!! I wish your other classmates could join in our dialogue or hope, at least, they are reading these posts. DO YOU GUYS LIKE THE NOVEL?

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  13. @Lena
    At first I thought the narrator was a child too but then I came across this quote at the second to last page and I changed my mind: "For years I thought my sister was right: it was my fault".

    @Rogers
    I like it, it makes me reflect.

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  14. I believe that the point of view of a child describing the misery of another child is more effective then an adult witnessing the same situation. If an adult was placed for the child, they would not have had the same feeling towards Pecola and instead would feel disgust towards her just as every other adult did. Instead, the author uses a child who is as useless as Pecola causing wretchedness and a gloomy mood. Also, Claudia did not hate Pecola, so she was credible.
    At the end of the novel the point of view takes a twist now that the narrator is older. Now that Pecola was insane, Claudia, like other adults, decided to ignore her and give her no help. Instead, they used her to feel better about themselves like Claudia states, “Her simplicity decorated us, her guilt sanctified us, her pain made us glow with health…”(Morrison 205).

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  15. @Mr Rogers
    This isn't a reponse, but rather a question.
    I just read the posts about the omniscient character. When i first began to read the novel i thought that the omniscient character was Claudia, but when i saw the changes of first person and 3rd person, i stopped giving it too much thought, and concluded that it was simply the author's input. Anyways, on my point of view essay, i had enfocused on Claudia's first point of view, is that okay?

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  16. @Alejandra Your thoughts shared on this post reflect that of a person who has read closely. I would stick with your initial thoughts and add/expound on the idea that the perspective changes in the text. Ask this question in class.

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  17. I've read all the comments and I agree with what you guys have to say. The point of view throughout the novel can be very credible like Karen said because of the "all-knowing" narrator. The fact that it is omniscient makes the reader more comfortable with the text because it is more specific and the connection between the novel and the narrator makes it a more personal story which is more credible. And despite the immaturity at the beggining of the text it was easier for the reader to feel more sure because of the connection of age between the narrator and Pecola. The sophisticated but yet comprehensible way the narrator speaks creates a powerful way to convey the readers feelings towards the text.

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