Use of Observer and Character Viewpoints in Storytelling

Posted May 10th, 2010 at 12:53 pm.

Kara Rosania

Mentor: Professor Robert Wozniak

It is unclear whether the concepts a person uses while telling a story are related to the perspective that the speaker has of that story. The purpose of this study is to examine this issue. Speakers represent stories from one of two viewpoints: character or observer viewpoint. A character viewpoint one in which the action is described as though the speaker is performing it himself, as though he were the character in the story. An observer viewpoint is one in which the person represents the character, object being acted upon, and/or action as though he were observing the action from an external perspective.

This study seeks to answer the question of whether a story is more frequently represented from a character viewpoint when telling a story that was read as a first-person narrative than when telling a story read as a third-person narrative, and if a story is more frequently represented from an observer viewpoint when telling a story read as a third -person narrative than when telling a story read as a first -person narrative. Participants are given a story to read and then retell from memory. All participants are shown a story with the same plot, but half are shown a version told in the first-person perspective and half are shown a version told in the third-person perspective. During the retelling, the concepts used by participants are recorded as either Character Viewpoint or Observer Viewpoint.

We hypothesize that those participants who read the story written in the first-person will feel that they are viewing the events from the perspective of the character telling the narrative, and those who read the story written in the third-person will feel like they are viewing the events from the perspective of an observer. These perspectives will match the types of concepts used in the retelling.

Filed under: 2006,Rosania, Kara,Wozniak, Dr. Robert by Ann Dixon

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