12 Aug 2013

What is First Person, Third Person for 11+, Common Entrance KS3

What is First Person?
Any writing that is told mostly using: I I I I I I I I I I I I I me me me me me me. It is from the point of view of someone telling their own story to the reader.
Is it still first person if... there is more than one person telling their story in their own words? For example, some of the Twilight books and Wonder by R.J. Palaccio.
Yes. This is called multiple point of view first person.

Examples of books for kids 9-12 written in the first person:
The Witches, Boy and Going Solo by Roald Dahl, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon and Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan.

Get a more advanced explanation of POINT of VIEW here.

A first person story can be 'made up' (fiction) or true (autobiography).
Boy and Going Solo are both true stories. They are parts one and two of Roald Dahl's autobiography.

But wait, there's more...
We, us, and our are also first person. These are 'first person plural', and includes other people. Sometimes we call this inclusive writing.
For example, when Winston Churchill was trying to encourage the British people during World War II, he gave a speech which included these words:
We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be...
To help you understand the effects of the different ways we can write, imagine if he had written:
I shall go on to the end, I shall fight in France...
You shall go on to the end, you shall fight in France...

Sometimes, 'We' includes the reader with the author, giving a feeling of togetherness, as if we are invited to join in. In fiction, it can make us feel as if the writer is chatting to us. And so does the second person...

Second Person
You, you, you, you, you
This talks directly to the reader. It is used in non-fiction to persuade or argue, and also in poetry - especially love poetry which is often written to someone.
How do I love [you]? Let me count the ways. 
I love [you] to the depth and breadth and height 
My soul can reach, from Sonnet 43, by Elizabeth Barret Browning 

Third Person (sometimes called 'Omniscient')
This is the most common style. It is as if the writer is telling the story about someone else.
Books for kids written in omniscient, third person point of view are: the Harry Potter series, Horrid HenryThe Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Holes.

He did this. He did that. He did the other.
Character did this. Character did that. Character did the other.

The author, , is an Oxford graduate, outstanding-rated English Language and Literature teacher and of ages 10-18 in the British education system. In 2012, she was nominated for Pearson's Teaching Awards. As a private tutor, she raises grades often from C to A. Her writing is also featured in The Huffington Post. She offers private tuition in the Haywards Heath area, West Sussex.                                                                                  

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