Literary Device Noted

It’s Sunday morning. Lily is reading Naylor’s The Girls Get Even, the follow-up title to The Boys Start the War. She stopped reading for a minute to share with me this observation, “Mom, it’s like you can see inside Caroline’s head and inside Wally’s head. But they can only guess at other characters’ thoughts. So Caroline and Wally are like the main characters.” I was tempted to explain the third person limited omniscient point of view and then move on to how even if they are the “narrative minds,” they are not necessarily the main characters. (Although often they would be.) Then I stopped myself. She has turned back to the story. Let her read. The literary vocabulary can come later.

What gave me the tingles of delight was the fact that she noticed the narrative voices and device all by herself. I wonder if it makes her happy to make this one discovery…

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One response to “Literary Device Noted

  1. J. L. Bell

    Recently a young friend told me she liked Jacqueline Davies’s The Lemonade War because “the I switched between chapters.”

    In fact, as in The Girls Get Even, that book is written in the third person. But the point of view from which that narrator describes events does indeed change from one sibling to the other.

    The “I” comment made me think that middle-grade kids understand the notion of point of view well before they have the vocabulary, and that that understanding can outweigh their notion of grammatical forms.


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