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Third Person Limited



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When a story is told in first person, the main character recounts her experiences using the “I” point of view (P.O.V.). To Kill a Mockingbird, for example, is told from Scout’s perspective: “It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.”
 
With the THIRD PERSON LIMITED P.O.V., the main character is referred to as “he” or “she”, but, like first person, the narration stays within the bounds of that character’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Harry Potter, for example, is told in the third person, but we only have access to Harry’s internal and external worlds, not those of Ron or Hermione—it’s a limited third person perspective. Notice how in this passage from The Half-Blood Prince, we, as readers, are in Harry’s head:
 
“Dumbledore opened his mouth to speak and then closed it again. Fawkes the phoenix let out a low, soft, musical cry. To Harry's intense embarrassment, he suddenly realized that Dumbledore's bright blue eyes looked rather watery, and stared hastily at his own knee. When Dumbledore spoke, however, his voice was quite steady.”
 
Although Harry doesn’t say anything aloud, we know how he feels inside (embarrassment), and are right there with him as he makes realizations, and looks and listens to the world around him.
 
Your turn, dear writers. In a passage of fiction or nonfiction, experiment with the third person limited P.O.V., as jasonstarlight does here. Make sure to limit your perspective to the thoughts and feelings of one person. As one of the most common P.O.V.’s used in literature, this is a great tool to have in your kit. We can’t wait to enter the minds of your characters!