Lesson 1: What’s the Point of View?
The House on Mango Street | 870L
- Learning Goal
- Identify the point of view in multiple short stories, including third person limited and omniscient.
- Approximately 2 Days (35 minutes for each class)
- Necessary Materials
- Provided: Point of View Definitions Chart, Pointing out the Point of View Excerpts, Example Pointing out the Point of View Chart, Pointing out the Point of View Worksheet (Student Packet, page 6)
Not Provided: Chart paper, markers, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Before the Lesson
Read and complete the Student Packet Worksheets for “The House on Mango Street” – “Gil’s Furniture Bought & Sold.”
Activation & Motivation
Have each student turn and share a memory with a partner. When the student shares the memory, he or she should go into some detail, describing what happened and how he or she felt. Next, ask students to share their partner’s memory with the class. Repeat this with more than one student.
will explain that the memories we heard were told from different points of view. When you shared your memory with your partner, you spoke using “I.” For example, “I remember the taste of my grandma’s chili.” When your partner shared your memory with the class, he or she spoke using the third person. For example, “Jason remembered the taste of his grandma’s chili.” Just like when we retold our stories, short stories also contain a point of view. The point of view of a story is the perspective from which the story is told to the reader.
Today we are going to analyze four different types of points of view.
One is the first-person point of view. In a story told from the first-person point of view, the narrator tells the story and is a character in the story. Here is an example of a sentence told in the first-person point of view: “I will always remember my grandma as a wonderful influence in my life.”
The other three types of points of view are all third-person. In a story told from the third-person point of view, the narrator tells the story from someone else’s viewpoint and is not a character in the story.
In a story told from the third-person objective point of view, the narrator is not a character in the story but observes what is happening. In this point of view, the narrator only reveals what is happening. The narrator does not share with the reader what the characters are thinking or feeling. Here is an example of a sentence told in the third-person objective point of view: “Jason and his grandma ate dinner together every night after she moved in with his family.”
In a story told from the third-person limited point of view, the narrator is not a character in the story but observes what is happening. In this point of view, the narrator only knows the thoughts and feelings of one character. Here is an example of a sentence told in the third-person limited point of view: “Jason was very grateful for the time he spent with his grandma, knowing he would treasure his memories of her for as long as he lived.”
And finally, in a story told from the third-person omniscient point of view, the narrator is not a character in the story but observes what is happening. The narrator knows all the facts, including what all the characters in the story think and feel. Here is an example of text told in the third-person omniscient point of view: “Jason wondered about all the tough times his grandma had experienced throughout her life. Little did he know, she was as thankful for the bad times as she was for the good times.”
When we are reading short stories, we want to know who is telling the story. Is it the main character? Another character in the story? An all-knowing voice beyond the story? This is the point of view. I will use the Point of View Definitions chart to explain how to identify the point of view of a short story.
One way to figure out the point of view is to look for pronoun clues in the text. For example, the pronouns “I” or “We” are used to identify first-person. “His,” “her,” “they,” “him,” “she,” etc. are used to identify third-person.
To determine from which third-person point of view (objective, limited, and omniscient) a story is told, I will look for evidence of character thoughts and feelings. It is important to note that there may be dialogue in the story. If you see “my” in dialogue quotations, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are reading a story written from the first person point of view. The speaker of that quotation may not be the storyteller.
I will identify the point of view in the first three Pointing out the Point of View Excerpts. (Note: Begin reading first excerpt aloud.) As I begin reading the first excerpt aloud, I will look for pronouns and clues in the text. I notice that in the first excerpt “I” is used by the narrator, who is a character in the story. Another clue is the reference of “Mom” rather than, “his mom” or “the mom.” I will write these clues on my Pointing out the Point of View Chart.
I will look at my clues and draw a conclusion about the point of view of the first excerpt. I can conclude that the first excerpt is written in first-person because of the pronoun usage of “I” and the reference to “Mom.” If the story were written in third-person, the sentence, “I secretly felt sorry for him, but I chuckled at his mistake” would be written like this: “Dakota secretly felt sorry for him, but she chuckled at his mistake.”
I will continue to identify the point of view in the second excerpt, looking for pronoun usage and other clues about the point of view. I will read aloud the second excerpt and point out pronouns that tell me that it is written in third-person.
Since the second excerpt is written in third-person, I will figure out whether it is written in third-person objective, limited, or omniscient. I will think aloud: "Does this story share information about what the character or characters are thinking?" I will record any clues about this information on my Pointing out the Point of View Chart.
I notice that the second sentence of the second excerpt tells the reader what is going through Raoul’s mind as he is walking to the pawn shop. After reading the rest of the excerpt, I can conclude that this excerpt is written in the third-person limited point of view because the narrator isn’t a character in the story, and the narrator reveals the private thoughts and feelings of only one character – Raoul.
I will read aloud the third excerpt and identify clues to figure out the point of view. I can conclude that it is written in the third-person omniscient point of view as the feelings of all the characters in the excerpt are revealed.
Ask: "How can I figure out the point of view of a text?" Students should respond that they can look for pronoun usage to determine if a text is written in first person or third person. To determine if the text is written in third person objective, limited, omniscient, they can look for text that describes thoughts or feelings the character might have.
will identify the points of view of the next three excerpts provided in the Pointing out the Point of View Excerpts handout. We will begin reading excerpt four as a class or group. We will identify the pronouns used in the text. We will write these clues on our Pointing out the Point of View Chart.
We will continue reading aloud to see what other clues we can find to figure out about the point of view of excerpt four. For example, does the narrator give us insight into the character’s inner thoughts and feelings? Does the author give us insight into the inner thoughts and feelings of multiple characters? (Have students identify the sentences that refer to the character’s inner thoughts/feelings.) We will write these clues on our Pointing out the Point of View Chart and then draw a conclusion about excerpt four. We will conclude that this excerpt is written in the third-person limited point of view. Then we will continue reading the remaining two excerpts together and look for pronoun clues to draw a conclusion about the narrators' point of view.
will read excerpts from The House on Mango Street on the Pointing out the Point of View Worksheet in your Student Packet. (See page 6 in the Student Packet.) You will use what you’ve learned about point of view to identify the point of view for each excerpt and record your reasoning for how you figured out the point of view of each excerpt.
will come together to share our findings about the point of view of each excerpt. We will discuss the questions: "Why do you think the author chose to write the book from first-person point of view? How does the point of view impact the reader?"
Build Student Vocabulary inherit
|Tier 2 Word: inherit|
|Contextualize the word as it is used in the story||Esperanza is talking about her neighbor Cathy. She says, “Cathy’s father will have to fly to France one day and find her great great distant grand cousin on her father’s side and inherit the house. How do I know this? She told me so.”|
|Explain the meaning student-friendly definition)||When you inherit something, you receive something that belonged to another person. When Esperanza says that one day Cathy will inherit a house, she meant that one day she will own the house that belongs to her distant grand- cousin on her father’s side when her cousin dies.|
|Students repeat the word||Say the word inherit with me: inherit.|
|Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts||When my grandmother died, I inherited her necklace. When my grandfather died, my son inherited his coat. I inherited my father’s bad temper and my mother’s generosity.|
|Students provide examples||Have you or someone you know inherited something? Will you inherit something in the future? Start by saying, “I will inherit ________________________.” Or “I hope to inherit______________.”|
|Students repeat the word again.||What word are we talking about? inherit|
|Additional Vocabulary Words||temporary, raggedy, sassy|
Texts & Materials
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