Point Of View Essay

1251 words - 5 pages

David Leavitt's work, Territory the author writes in the third person to enhance the feelings and perceptions of the narrator; as well as to influence how the reader identifies with each of the characters and views the events throughout the narrative.The assumed narrator in the work is a person by the name of Neil, an openly homosexual man. It appears that Neil wrote the story, but referred to himself in the third person. Neil tells the story with a unique perspective that the reader increasingly appreciates throughout the work. His is the point of view of a man who has had a hard time fitting into any social category; he is a person who has had to define himself under direct attack from the society in which he was raised. Being homosexual, Neil feels that he has a constant need to justify himself to those around him, and in general. "Neil thinks, I have returned nothing, I have simply returned. He wonders if [his mother] would have given birth to him had she known what he would grow up to be" (Leavitt 691). This is a profound example of Neil's feeling of personal inadequacy. He feels that he is a failure, someone who should or could have been different. Here we notice that the author has made use of the third person to convey directly what Neil thinks and how he feels. The reader knows that Neil feels worthless and unhappy because s/he identifies with Neil. Had the narrative been written in a different point of view, the reader would not be able to identify directly with Neil, and may not be able to understand or even notice some of the problems and issues he deals with. Since Neil's feelings are directly stated, it is easy for the reader to feel for Neil and to understand him; perhaps even empathize with him.Neil is incredibly insecure about himself and especially about his sexuality. "For years he had believed his sexuality to be detachable from the essential him, but now he realized that it was part of him" (Leavitt 690). Neil feels like an "embarrassed adolescent" (Leavitt 690) when he thinks back on or is confronted with anything that refers to his sexuality. These two quotes contain valuable insights that the reader gains from the author's use of the third person. Neil feels that he has to incorporate all the different aspects of his life into one essence, and bringing Wayne to his mother's home means attempting to join those two separate areas. This interpretation of the text is supported by Neil's reluctance to bring Wayne, his lover, home to meet his mother after planning to do so. "Neil wants to go to a motel, but Wayne insists on being pragmatic....Neil reminds himself that he loves this man, that there is a reason for him to bring this man home" (Leavitt 692). This excerpt shows clearly Neil's insecurity and hints at a fear of confrontation; this fear is made clear when Neil thinks about Wayne's arrival. "[Neil] feels renewed terror at the thought that Wayne will be here soon: Will they make love? He has never had sex in his parent's...

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