Thursday, 23 March 2017

A Wandering Point Of View?

"Sandra smiled, very slightly, under an ironically crooked eyebrow. She'd found out..."
-SM Stirling, A Meeting At Corvallis (New York, 2007), Chapter Two, p. 38.

In this passage, the first sentence tells us how Sandra's smile appeared to someone else whereas the second sentence tells us that she smiled because of something that she had found out so is the passage narrated from the point of view of another person observing Sandra or from Sandra's point of view? We have already been told what her husband, Arminger, is thinking. Therefore, the narration is from his pov. He sees that she smiles and how she smiles and knows why she smiles.

This conversation involves three other characters. The simplest dialogue would be between just two characters, therefore would involve two povs and could be narrated from either or even from each in turn in different passages. Is an objective narration possible? This would have to present neither pov. Nor would it be narrated from the pov of a third person observing the two conversants. It would simply have to describe what happened and what was said but not what either person thought or felt. It might say that one person sounded annoyed but nothing more than that. A play or film script might be an objective narration. It tells us what we would have seen and heard if we had spied on a conversation although the assumption is that no one is spying. This is not God's point of view but no one's.

6 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    And one thing to remember about Lady Sandra is that she was wilier and far more patient than her able but too prone to anger husband, Norman Arminger. That made her MORE, not less dangerous.

    Sean

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  2. Driven men can accomplish great things -- things that might be impossible if they weren't -- but they have characteristic weaknesses.

    As Talleyrand said of Napoleon: "He did not know when to stop."

    (There's a story about Napoleon reviewing his Imperial Guard, and remarking to Talleyrand: "See the bayonets of my Guard! With such men, one can do anything!" And Talleyrand replying: " Yes, Sire... you can do anything with bayonets except sit on them."

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    1. Another point about men with bayonets is that they can turn them on their leader.
      Paul.

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    2. Dear Mr. Stirling and Paul,

      Mr. Stirling, exactly! Norman Arminger didn't seem to know when enough was enough and settle for what he had gained.

      Paul, true. Unless the leader of these men has managed to convince them of the LEGITIMACY of their rule.

      Sean

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    3. Sean,
      You are our LEGITIMACIST.
      Paul.

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    4. Kaor, Paul!

      But you do recall the stress Poul Anderson put on the need for the gov't, any gov't, under whatever form, to be accepted as legitimate if it was to govern with security? Given that, even a harsh regime might in time rule more mildly. And S.M. Stirling seems to have agreed with PA on the need for the state, any state, to be legitimate.

      Interested readers might find my essay "Political Legitimacy In The Thought Of Poul Anderson" of some interest.

      Sean

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