Racism: Two Short Stories

Topics: Narrative, Character, Grammatical person, Fiction, Protagonist, Narrator / Pages: 4 (894 words) / Published: Mar 22nd, 2011
Individual Oral Presentation Essay (IOP)

Comparing First and Third Person Narratives: Racism

Note: This essay intends to explain the differences in first and third person narratives, highlighting examples within the two stories “Let them call it Jazz” and “A sense of shame”, both of which deal with racism and its subcultures in a first and third person perspective, respectively. The arguments presented are limited to that of first and third person perspectives only.

The differences between first and third person perspectives are detrimental when making the decision on which to use when writing. They are almost exactly polar opposites of each other, ones advantage being the others disadvantage and vice versa. In the aspect of the two short stories “Let them call it Jazz” and “A sense of shame”, we are able to compare one to the other, identify their key features and ultimately understand when and where they are they should be used to bring a bout the strongest effects possible.

We see throughout “Let them call it Jazz” how the focus is very narrow, linking most thoughts, feelings and interpretations of the central idea of racism mostly with the main character herself as the ability to swap point of views in not present. Using the first person narrative, the author develops the story in a way that limits these ideas to that of the main character’s only. Whereas in “A sense of shame”, the idea and taboo of an interracial relationship is widely affected and diluted by multiple characters viewpoints.

The level of intimacy with the characters is also affected by the use of different narratives. In “Let them call it Jazz”, we have this strong understanding and coherent feel with and for the Protagonist as the story completely revolves around her, having no external factors changing her ideas conveyed to us. Whereas in “A sense of shame”, the point of view constantly shifts from character to character, giving us this lack of chance to get “involved”,

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