There is a narrator in the literary genre of epic. The narrator can take different perspectives and thus influence how we perceive the world of figures in the text. We distinguish four different narrative perspectives: the auctorial, neutral, personal, and the special form of the narrator. The personal narrative perspective is now to be completed.
A personal narrator describes the happenings from the perspective of one or more figures. If he switches between different figures, this is referred to as a multiplier. However, the personal narrator does not slip into the figure itself, which would be the case with an ego narrator, but rather tells the reader what the particular character experiences, sees or feels. Let us look at an example.
K. waited a while, looked from his pillow, the old woman who was looking at him and who watched him with a curious curiosity, but at the same time he was startled and hungry, he rang. Immediately a knock came and a man, whom he had never seen in this apartment, entered. He was slim and yet solid, he wore an attached black dress […]
The above example comes from Franz Kafka’s unfinished novel The Process. As a reader we are introduced to a certain K. and the fact that he was waiting for a while. Furthermore, it is shown what K. sees (opposite woman) and that he rings (to get breakfast). The fact that a man enters the room, whom the protagonist has never seen before, now clearly points to the personal narrator, who knows only what the figure shows.
Therefore, K. does not know who the man is and therefore the narrator does not know either. If he gave background information to the reader, he would know more than the figures involved, would be omniscient, and would therefore be regarded as an authorial narrator.
The colored signal words indicate that the narrator is personal. The acting person is therefore named by his name (K.) or by the personal pronoun he or she is marked. Consequently, there is no I who tells the story from their perspective, but only a narrator who describes it.
Note: A personal narrator does not guide the reader through individual comments or evaluations. The reader thus perceives the narrative only from the perspective of one or more figures. As a personal narrator often refers to the personal pronouns and he or she, he is sometimes referred to as He / She narrator.
What can a personal narrator?
A personal narrator is limited to the figure from whose point of view the story is told. Consequently, he can not know what other figures think or feel when they do not tell the protagonist or the narrator slips into different figures.
This means that as a reader, we only know what the depicted person knows. We have no idea of the relationship between the individual figures, what happens in the heads of the other roles, or the events before and after the action shown, if the protagonist does not.
History is thus limited to the consciousness horizon of a single figure. For this reason, the personal narrative situation is particularly suitable for reproducing psychological processes. This means that situations that show how a person reacts consciously or unconsciously to an event, are represented by a personal narrator.
The problem is that a personal narrator is bound to the selected person. As a result, the narrative can appear monotonous (boring, monotonous). Furthermore, there are some difficulties for the narrator when the narrative situation is fixed.
This is due to the fact that it is very difficult to give the reader specific background information, but these are sometimes important for the story, such as the place or time of the action. One possible way out is to leave the chosen personal narrative situation and to briefly meet the reader as an authorial narrator or slip into various figures.
If a personal narrator jumps between the individual figures and tells the story thus by different characters, this is called a multiperspective. This is, for example, very often the case in crime-mines, when individual chapters alternate between perpetrators, victims and investigators.
Note: A personal narrator is thus basically trapped in the consciousness horizon of a single figure. In order to avoid the problems that result from this, a personal narrator sometimes takes on an authoritarian character and moves between the persons.