Narrator: Definition, Types & Examples

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shamekia Thomas

Shamekia has taught English at the secondary level and has her doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

A narrator recounts the events of a story from a first, second, or third-person perspective. Learn the definition of a narrator and explore the different types and examples of narrators in fiction. Updated: 09/07/2021

Definition of a Narrator

If we observe an accident, we are generally called upon to tell police officers what happened. Sometimes, we may have seen everything that occurred leading up to the accident and other times, our view of the accident may have been blocked by other cars, buildings, or trees. Another driver might have observed something totally different from their point of view or based on a number of different biases, such as if they know the individuals involved in the accident.

When we tell stories to other people, we do so in much the same way an author does when he or she writes a story. In any case, a story can change depending on who is telling the story and their knowledge of what takes place. Let's take a look at the definition of a narrator and the types of narrators a story can have.

A narrator is the person (or animal or object) who tells a story. A narrator is important because their biases and opinions can affect readers' overall opinion of the story. Each type of narrator tells a story from various points of view. Point of view refers to the perspective from which a story is told. A narrator typically guides readers and influences their opinion of a story based on perspective, which can include the first-, second-, or third-person perspectives.

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Types of Narrators

A first-person narrator uses the pronouns 'I' and 'we' and is usually a character in the story. A first-person narrator is able to interact with the other characters in the story, and readers observe those interactions from the narrator's perspective. For example, a story using first-person narration might say: ''I saw the birds all standing in the park before several dogs ran them off.''

A second-person narrator uses the pronoun 'you' to address the reader directly and is less common in literature. A good example of second-person narration is a recipe, which communicates instructions. It might say something like, ''First, you add the sugar and eggs and mix them together, and then you add the butter.''

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