Tuesday, 7 April 2015

First Person Narration

One of my favorite scenes from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

A first-person narrative is a story narrated from the first-person perspective. The viewpoint is of a character writing or speaking directly about themselves and things are narrated exactly as it appears  from a character's in-body point of view, portraying incidents the way the character sees or experiences.

Main characteristics of first person narration or first person point of view:

1.       First person narration uses the first person singular pronoun ‘I’ and the first person plural pronoun ‘We’.

2.       First person narration is used in all styles of fiction from romance to detective fiction and thrillers.
3.       As the narrator need not know of all things that is happening around him, it is easy to create intrigue and suspense.

4.       As it is the narrator who is speaking we can get to know the character through his/ her thoughts intimately. This technique can be used to give depth to the character of the protagonists. Especially in romance, the reader can empathise with the actions that the protagonist takes in view of his/ her thoughts, which has already been shared with the reader.

5.       The style of narration can be varied in the form of interior monologue, letters, personal diary entires etc.

Pit falls of first person narration:

1.       The constant use of personal singular pronoun ‘I’ can be an eye sore to the reader.

2.       As the narrator is speaking, if the perpetrator of a crime is the one who is talking, it is very hard to conceal the details as the story develops as told by the narrator.

3.       The narrator can’t speak about the emotions or thoughts about other characters in the story unless they are speaking about it themselves. This leaves so much left to be explained and some characters may appear shallow in terms of character depth.

4.       Description of the narrator is the most difficult part in first person narration. One cannot talk about one’s physical attributes without any reason. The narrator looking into the mirror and describing himself/ herself is the most clichéd trick.

5.       The narration often tends more to tell than show.

 This post is a part of the APRIL A-Z Challenge  


  1. God, did you have to pick that scene?! It's one of my all-time favourite scenes from 'Jane Eyre' too, it's so powerful (and not it always reminds me of the movie scene with Michael Fassbender). Great post on 1st person narration!

  2. Thank you Devika. This particular scene gives me goosebumps every time I read. Good to hear that you too love this scene.

  3. Every time I write fiction I usually tend to waver toward first person POV. But I have read some books (like Jemima J) where narration switches between first person and third person. When I read Jemima J it was quite disconcerting initially but few pages later I became used to it :)

    1. I will be confused too if I find two different POVs in a single work. I saw it in a work I recently edited. It reduced the flow of the story.

  4. I love, love, love Jane Eyre! And that's one of my favorite love scenes ever. :)
    ~AJ Lauer
    an A-Z Cohost
    @ayjaylauer on Twitter

  5. We love first person POV on our blog...unfortunately, 'I' seem to talk in plural a lot because I have co-bloggers. Rather odd habit, I guess. Anyway, great writing hints! Best wishes on your A to Z Challenge!
    Nutmeg ( from The Squirrel Nutwork, because it looks like your blog is making me a anonymous)

    1. Ha..that is good. :)
      No you are not anonymous. I can see your name here. :)


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