The Point Of View Of Stories

The two short stories chosen ,”The Gift of the Magi” and “The Lottery”,written by Shirley Jackson, both have different points of views. They are both narrated in first-person narration which affects our response to what we read as the narrator doesn’t look into the minds of its characters which leave the reader only seeing the situation through one’s eyes. In “The Gift of the Magi” we see everything through the eyes of Della, however in the second essay….

Short story “The Gift of the Magi,” by O. Henry, is a narrative piece about a young married couple, Della and Jim, who have very little money. Jim had suffered a pay cut, therefore the two have to work hard for everything for their earnings. On the day before Christmas, Della counted the money she had saved for months. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. Sadly, after a good long cry, she is determined to find a way to buy Jim the present he deserves for Christmas.

Jim and Della have two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One is Jim’s gold watch, which has been passed to him from his grandfather. The other is Della’s lustrous hair falling down almost past her knees. As Della passes by a sign and reads: “Mme. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds’, she goes in to whom she sells her hair for twenty dollars. With that money, she tries to find something worthy of Jim, and in which she did, a platinum watch chain.

O. Henry accomplishes several techniques in “The Gift of the Magi” that are representative to most of his other short stories. The story seems to be third person narrated. It is told in the third-person, and only follows Della’s perspective. We don’t see what Jim is doing during the story, and once he does show up, he remains closed to us. Although the story focuses on Della’s point of view, is also shows us as the reader what she sees. It is like the narrator is in the story as a character that is just heard of, but never seen. By O. Henry doing this, it engages us and shares our insight thoughts on the Youngs’ situation. He uses a laid-back sort of expression such as “took a mighty pride” and breaks his story with a humorous tone such as “forget the hashed metaphor.”

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Della explains to Jim that in order for her to buy him his present she needed to sell her hair. Jim found it difficult to understand the situation but Della didn’t understand why. He then takes from his pocket Della’s Christmas present, in which she opens it and finds a set of combs for her hair, which she had been admiring in a store window for a long time. Finally she understands why her husband was so shocked. They exchange their Christmas gifts; however, Jim does not pull out his watch to fit to the chain, as he had to sell his watch in order to buy Della’s combs. Both Della and Jim foolishly sacrifice their gifts and this is why they were called their ‘most precious possessions.’

As in this story, O. Henry started of by introducing the first character Della telling details about setting that hint at plot. In the first paragraph, he opened it up by introducing Della and her money problem. He mentions her decisions that create a more strongly constructed plot which moves from introducing the story on to the surprise ending.

The point of view of this short story does not exactly affect our response to what we have read. Well not mine anyway. If the story was written in another point of view, it would not make it as good as it already is as it would be focusing more on what is happening else where rather then showing us the love shared between two young adults whose gifts were given by the heart. They were wise and ‘They are the magi.”

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In the second story, “The Lottery” is written by Shirley Jackson. Its opening sequence is on a warm June’s day in a tradition town that is common among its nearby villages. In the story we come across some children, which arrive in the town and connect in “boisterous play.” Some of the boys create a “great pile of stones in one corner of the square.” The setting in “The Lottery” was described as relaxing and peaceful, as children were playing and adults were talking about day to day situations. This showed a happy setting distinction with the wild idea of the reality with the lottery. Jackson uses a narrative technique, where she tells the events in the story, which is de described as ‘detached and objective’ [] . The tone of the narrative helps us to recognise the originality of the barbaric acts that are caused amongst it.

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” uses the third person point of view to tell a story about a village that celebrates a yearly event. The narrator provides us with minor details of a lottery taking place, but what interests us the most is that she leaves the most important details until the end, which leaves us hanging with thoughts and questions. The use of the third person point of view is a good way of telling this short story because it helps put together the surprise that happens in the end by hinting out bits of information to the reader through the actions and discussions of the villagers without giving away the final twist.

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