How does narrative perspective/oppinion affect our story?

Human kind has always treasured storytelling as one of our life purposes. Everyone has a story to tell, and in that story, the perspective of the story teller shines through. But only one perspective is shown. With so many people in the world, it is difficult to get everyone's perspective, and often times, information is left out. One event could spark the production of thousands of tales, all of them encompassing the same event. But each story would highlight different occurances leading up the the event, some even left out, and the main climax of the story would hold different significance and meaning, or even be a different moment all together. Notice the two pictures below. When you look at the first, you maky notice a bunch of hands, while another would say it's a face without noticing the hands at all. At the same time, one may argue that the lines in the second picture are slanted, while the other insists that they are straight. It all depends on perspective. And to the person telling the story, his or her version is the only truth.


In Achebe's Things Fall Apart, the district commissioner says, "There was so much else to include, and one must be firm in cutting out details," when thinking about writing a book on the events he has seen. Achebe took the time to write a novel on the life of Okonkwo, his struggles and beliefs, ye the district commissioner would write a paragraph on him in his book, more than likely highlighting the brutal way he murdered a messenger, and killed himself in defeat. In a story, perspective is everything. It shows more than just a story, but the beliefs of the narrator, details about his personality, and how he views the world. When reading a story, it is important to know who your narrator is, whether he's a character in the story or an outside source, his background, beliefs, ect., so that you can fully understand why the story was written the way it was and why certain events are highlighted while others are skipped over. Narrative Perspective in stories changes the way we must read them to get full understanding of the topic at hand.

As stated before, opinion often comes along with perspective. It is hard to separate the two. Even when trying to keep a relatively unbiased view of a subject, often times the narrators oppinion will shine through the words. In Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Marlow is the narrator. He seems to struggle with his opinion on the colonization, but through this his point of view is found with strong opinion, an example being, "...a flabby, pretending, weak-eyed devil..." There are multiple occurences of easily expressed oppinion throughout this story, such as when discovering a group of natives, saying, "... they were nothing earthly now-- nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation..." and when speaking of his part in the colonization, "I was also a part of the great cause of these high and just proceedings." With these outbursts of narrative oppinion, it is hard to develope your own view of a character or event on your own. In the video below, opinions are compared to facts. I felt this was important to include because in stories, opinions are often presented as facts, and it is easy to see them as that. If we see the opinion of our narrator as fact, then the opinion of every other author is disregarded as false. In truth, an opinion can be neither right, nor wrong. Seeing opinion as fact is dangerous, and sets us up to believe anything and everything.

Everyone has a story to tell, and narrative perspective will come with that story. Narrative perspective is not neccessarily damaging to our stories, but if not taken into recognition by the readers, it could be. If students read Conrad's Heart of Darkness without thinking about his perspective, they would find that the natives of Africa were "nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation." In turn, they would also find that white colonizers were "evil spirits," from Achebe's Things Fall Apart. Our stories will always be full of perspective and opinion, and it does alter out stories to an extent, but it gives depth and insight to a topic that we would otherwise not see. Narrative perspective is important to see all sides of a story, and can be very helpful when more than one opinion is expressed through multiple versions of a story. If we see this as an inevitable trait of our stories, we realize that without perspective, the world would be a boring place, and as long as we can recognize the difference between fact and opinion, it is not a problem.