Reliability of a Narrator in Literature Essay

585 Words 3 Pages
Stories are often told by a narrator giving his/her point of view, by using
omniscient, limited omniscient, or first person. The purpose of the narrator is to give facts
and details, being reliable or not. Three stories we have read in class are "The Body," by
Stephen King, "Defender of the Faith," by Philip Roth, and "Everyday Use," by Alice
Walker; which give examples of a reliable narrator. Each narrator was a reliable source
of information, and told his/her story well.
Stephen King's. "The Body," was an excellent representation of first person point
of view narration. The main protagonist, Gordie, was not only the narrator but a major
character. Gordie told the story as an adult looking back on his childhood experiences.
…show more content…
There is no need for him to embellish the truth, because each event could be altered
slightly by one of the other characters.
"Defender of the Faith," by Philip Roth, is a story in which the narrator becomes
involved with the main protagonist of the story. This story is a good example of reliable
narration, in that, Sergeant Marx goes through a life altering experience. Through his
learning, he shows the reader that each event could have taken place. Marx has not
acknowledged his religious differences until the first conversation with Sheldon
Grossbart. "You can stay and scrub floors or you can go to shul," this is the first
recognition of Marx's religion (Arp 118). Given that Sergeant Marx is Jewish, we are
able to pick out what is true about the religion and what is false. Marx points out more
than one situation where he is manipulated for the benefit of Private Sheldon Grossbart.
In doing this, he is letting the reader into his personal experience, regardless of what
criticism he may receive.
"Everyday Use," by Alice Walker, was an extraordinary use of first person
narration. At first, I had no idea where this story was going to take the reader. The
narrator was passionate of her convictions about her eldest daughter. The narrator felt
more bonded with the younger daughter, because she was willing to stay behind in the
unchanging environment. The narrator showed disappointment when the…