I’ve been thinking about narrative lately and how all narratives no matter what the POV are all really first person narratives. In that I mean, the only real distinction is how the narrator aligns himself to the story, right? So, like third person point of view no matter what flavor is about a narrator who is outside the story, who is reporting it and is not involved in the story at all. Brian went over here, Brian did this, he she what hey. That’s all someone telling you stuff- there is an implied narrator. An authorial construct reporting the activities to you. The narrator may be making all this shit up, may have no interest in anything. But he’s still telling the story. In this kinda thing the narrator does not make themselves known, very rarely do they include the I in the text. Vonnegut was known for revealing narrators to the reader about halfway through his text, all of a sudden bringing out a first person when all along we thought we were reading plain jane third person.
Second person is the same same, more of the same, right? Because someone is telling you stuff. Someone is commanding you. The person telling that story, that narrator, he still exists outside of the framework or the context of the text. In second person the first person may or may not include themselves within the textual framework- by making themselves known, by including the I.
In all of this there is an implied narrator. An implied first person, existing just out of sight, telling you all this craziness. The difference is whether this narrator includes themselves in the story or makes themselves known. That is when point of view takes on actuality, on purpose, when it moves out of the potential first person and becomes first person. All narrators then can be unreliable, all point of views with them implied person speaking is all unreliable…hell, even less reliable then straight up first person. You have to think- why is this person telling me this story, and why are they hiding in the shadows, pretending they don’t exist? You can’t trust someone who wants to be invisible. You can’t trust someone who wants to not exist anymore at all.
And that’s what third person is- it’s a narrator who wants to stop existing. It’s a narrator hell bent on self destruction. By removing itself, by making itself something in the shadows, something out of sight on the page, you have this nihilistic narrator. And you should be scared of this invisible man. He wants something from you. He wants you to kill him.