Maria Ferzoco
17 March 2017
Intro to Literature Paper 2
Different Narrations in Short Stories
Author's set forth their stories they tell using a range of narrative voices. The two most common narrations are first-person narration and third-person narration. The author's choice of narration determines the story's point of view. Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" is written in first person, while David Michael Kaplan's "Doe Season" is written in third person. The narrator determines what details are included in the story, and how all of the events are arranged. The standpoint of the narrator greatly affects the story's themes, style, plot and language. There is a deep contrast between each narrations degree of knowledge, reliability, perception, interpretation and persuasion. Therefore, there are both advantages and disadvantages found in a narrator's first person and third person voice.
Among the different narrative voices is the first person narration. The first person uses "I" or "we" in telling a story and the narrator can be categorized as a major character, or a minor character. Often, they are a major character who tells their own story and is the primary focus throughout the piece. A first-person narrator can also tell a story about someone else- a minor character, or an observer. There are many advantages that come along with first-person narration-- one of which is that writers are able to convey incidents more persuasively because they have experienced them on their own. Unlike a third person narration, the piece of work is more personable, and readers can relate to it in a better sense. The only events and details that are present are the ones that the narrator could have observed or experienced first-hand. This knowledge can create different forms of irony, making the story more intense. There is one drawback about first-person narration, which is that narrators can be unreliable. Sometimes, they are confused, immature, mistaken, naive, or unstable in their life while telling the story. This can impact the piece of work because events can be misrepresented. Unlike third person narrators, first-person narrators only present a situation from their point of view. The narrator in the 1892 story, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is unreliable because she has suffered from "nervous depression" and distorts many facts (376). This is all unintentional due to her mental state.
"The Yellow Wallpaper" clearly illustrates how there is a disparity between the narrator's interpretations of events and the reader's. Early on the author writes, "John is a physician, and perhaps— (I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind--) perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster. You see he does not believe I am sick! (Gilman 378). The reader infers that this is written in first person narration because the narrator is speaking and writing her thoughts. She suffers from nervous depression and many of the things she sees and issues she faces, are due to this disorder. She has a hard time understanding why her husband's good intentions are hurting her. Her family firmly believes that writing is a terrible idea for her condition so she decides to spend her time tracing the pattern of yellow wallpaper in her bedroom. This shortly after becomes an obsession and she is convinced that there is a woman trapped under the wallpaper. She says, "I didn't realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but now I am quite sure it is a woman" (Gilman 383). After stripping the wallpaper off the walls, she declares, "I've got out at last" (Gilman 387), showing that she is now free. The constant use of "I" puts the reader in the narrator's head. Any other person in the bedroom would not have the same distortions as the narrator because she suffers mentally. Unlike a third person narrator, she is an unreliable narrator, and the reader is limited to know what is actually taking place in the story because of her disorder. The reader would get different insights about what is taking place if the story was written in the third person narrators voice.
In order for a narrator to tell a