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Word Count: 2,019
Point of view always influences the way readers perceive events In literature the point of view the author chooses not only affects the way readers perceive and interpret events but it also determines to some extent what the readers can actually see That is point of view guides the way readers interpret events and draw conclusions by limiting or illuminating the amount and nature of the information from which conclusions can be drawn In Souls Belated Edith Wharton uses point of view to illuminate the thoughts of each character individually while concealing the thoughts of the other and eventually to highlight the vastly different mindsets of both characters involved Wharton first does this by revealing Lydias thoughts to the readers while hiding Gannetts At the exposition the story is told in third person from Lydias point of view This technique allows readers to see directly into Lydias mind To know what Gannet is thinking however they must accept Lydias version of his thoughts He was thinking of it now just as she was they had been thinking about it in unison ever since they had entered the train 673 Since readers have no direct insight into Gannetts brain they have no way to know what he is really thinking but neither do they have as yet any substantial reason to doubt Lydias interpretation of events The third-person-limited point of view is particularly effective because it allows readers to view Lydias thoughts opinions and interpretations as facts If Wharton had chosen to tell the story in first person from Lydias point of view the narrative would be clearly subjective Readers would be aware of the limitations of a first person narrator Consequently they would have plenty of incentive to question the accuracy of Lydias perception On the other hand if the narrator were omniscient it would describe Gannetts thoughts as well as Lydias and thereby remove all questions in this matter The actual third person narrator
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