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Perspective Definition: a narrator’s attitudes or beliefs about an event, person, or place based on their own personal experiences

Character Perspective

Perspective is important to consider when a reader is looking at the world or an event from more than just their own experience. A character’s perspective on a situation can be very different from another character’s perspective based on their own personal experiences, attitudes, biases, cultural background, and emotions. Authors use these different perspectives to open readers up to new possibilities, and to teach readers about other cultures or people. The perspective of a narrator focuses on the character’s attitudes towards the world around them. Perspective helps determine the approach the character will take in their interactions with other characters, and how the reader will view the work. For example, people in the United States often don’t think about the results of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II; instead, we are just told that it ended the war with Japan. Japanese-American author Siu Wai Anderson shows the perspective of this catastrophic event through the eyes of a survivor in her short story “Autumn Gardening”. Authors may take on a particular perspective to reach a specific audience. Perspective differs from point of view in that it deals with the experiences of characters in a story, rather than the kind of narration the story is being told from.

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Notable Examples of Perspective in Literature

Be sure to check out our article, "Point of View vs. Perspective"!

Learn more about various devices in literature in our Picture Encyclopedia of Literary Elements!
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