Sharon Welch finds that these reinterpretations lead herto "a critique of what counts as goodness, what counts as responsible actionin our culture."
For a woman's narrative to be authentic for the task of feminist transformation,it must begin with the presumption of critique.
Marcus Hartner, Basic Concepts of Narrative Theory: A Polyphonic View. (Review of: David Herman/James Phelan/Peter J. Rabinowitz/Brian Richardson/Robyn Warhol, Narrative Theory. Core Concepts & Critical Debates. Columbus: Ohio State University Press 2012.)
The first of these meanings of point of view is more technical: the story must get told, there are various ways to tell it, each way of telling may bring a different emphasis, different knowledge, different ways in which readers process the story. As a more technical concern, and one which deeply affects how the story conveys its meanings, this is the meaning of 'point of view' most often dealt with in discussion of narrative point of view, and it is addressed by the first four of the following five main topics. The second of these meanings of point of view is more thematic and ideological: how the narrator 'sees' various issues with which fiction may deal, the various questions, conflicts and anxieties in the culture that are raised by the narrative. Considerations regarding this sense of the narrator's 'point of view' or 'perspective' or 'position' are addressed in the fifth main topic, "What is the narrators orientation?"
These questions serve as a pointof departure for the project in which I am now engaged: constructing afeminist methodology for narrative theology and ethics.
David Herman/James Phelan/Peter J. Rabinowitz/Brian Richardson/Robyn Warhol, Narrative Theory. Core Concepts & Critical Debates. Columbus: Ohio State University Press 2012. XIV, 280 p. [Price EUR 31,95]. ISBN: 978-0-8142-5184-3.
There is a caveat (that is, a warning) I will introduce at the beginning: often readers assume that the narrator represents, or speaks for, the author, or that in fact the narrator is the author. This is an area in which one must proceed with care: it often is hard to say that the narrator does not speak for the author, but the narrator is not the author, the narrator is a device of the fiction. Don't make the assumption that the narrator speaks for the author; make the case for it, if you have grounds to believe it to be true, otherwise refer to "the narrator," not to "the author."
There may well be more than one internal narrator. In this case we get the story from more than one point of view, and often such a method emphasizes the subjectivity of experience and the fact that the same event can have different meanings for different people.
This internal narrator may be a protagonist one of the main characters or a less central character, an observer of the protagonists' lives (as, for instance, Nick in The Great Gatsby.)
The internal narrator may tell the story retrospectively, after he or she has lived through it, or as it is happening. It makes a difference which of course, because the retrospective story is told by a person who has lived through the experience and usually has been changed by it. The retrospective narrator knows more than the reader, and is in a position of irony in relation to the events of the story.
When the narrator is a character in the story and is aware that she or he is telling a story, the story is being told from an internal point of view.
Alternatively the internal narrator or narrators may tell the story as it is happening. In this case the narrator knows no more than the reader, does not know the outcome, is in a position of suspense in regard to the story.
A less reflexive or non-reflexive external narrator is one who draws no attention to the story-telling process at all, who, as commentators say, 'naturalizes' it, assumes that that the telling of the story is ordinary, entirely reliable, unproblematic.
Internal narration may take various forms: it may be a voice telling a story, but it may also be a diary, or letters, or a discovered manuscript, even an overheard conversation or telephone call.
A more reflexive external narrator is one who is aware of and comments on the telling of the story. When this consciousness of telling the story becomes very prominent, especially when it is problematized that is, when the external narrator starts pointing out the fact that this is only a story, that he is making it up, that it could be told in another way with a quite different meaning or outcome and so forth we may start using words like 'meta-narrator', 'meta-commentary', 'meta-fiction': the telling of the story itself is being subjected to reflection and questioning.
There can be internal narratives within internal narratives (embedded internal narratives) for instance in Frankenstein the narrator Walton tells the story, which includes the story told him by Dr. Frankenstein, which includes in it the story told to him by the monster. These are embedded internal narratives; generally there will be significant relations among, them, as for instance the parallels between Walton and Frankenstein. A letter within a narrative written by someone other than the narrator, telling of an event, is an embedded internal narrative. Note that there may be a difference between a 'principle' internal narrator and the narrator of an imbedded narrative, in that their intended audiences, who they are narrating to, and what for, may be different