Journal of the Plague Year and First Person Perspective

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Meagan Kirchoff
Dr. McNutt
Patterns of Literature
First Person Perspective in Fiction;
An Analysis of A Journal Of The Plague Year by Daniel Defoe

Characterization and point of view are two very important tools that authors use in writing fiction. They both interoperate with one another to advance the plot and contribute significantly to the meaning. An author’s choice of point of view can reveal the purpose, strategy or intentions that he or she aimed for as well. One such author that wrote his fiction with evident strategy is Daniel Defoe in his work A Journal Of The Plague Year. This story is about a man recording the events and observations of the plague “visitation,” as the narrator calls it, to London during the year 1665. Although a work of fiction, Daniel Defoe presents this text as an accurate representation of London during this time period when the plague infected hundreds of its residents, through the eyes of his character. It is not however the events or historical accuracy that makes the story a credible and powerful text but rather the narrator himself. Daniel Defoe strategically utilizes first person perspective as well as creates a unique character to narrate the story. Defoe’s choice of first person perspective is not only strategic, but also necessary because we wouldn’t have as strong a connection with the narrator or see a full scope of how the plague affected a city as large as London.

Before diving into the narrator of the story, one must first look at the point of view and how it shows the author’s strategy. First person point of view, unlike the other perspectives, provides an insider’s look into the mind of the main character or protagonist. Whereas third person reveals an omniscient presence that is looking down on everything and everyone, it is only first person point of view that allows the reader to really understand the motives, desires and thoughts of the main character. Since this journal is meant to be a...
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