<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Point of View

Point of View
Writing Lab Activity

Leo Borlock is the first-person narrator of the novel Stargirl. Everything we the readers know about the other characters in the story, we know because Leo tells us. We "see" the story from his point of view. This activity will require you to consider how some of the other characters in the story might view the same situations and what effect a different point of view may have on the story itself.


Here is a sample of each narrative point of view required by this assignment. They all describe the same scene from a different point of view.

Omniscient Narrator

The man approached the door of Papa Murphy’s, nothing particularly on his mind except the taste of the pizza he was about to pick up. He had been so hungry when he called in his order that he thought he may have ordered mushrooms instead of black olives (which his son preferred), but at this point he didn’t care. He had been salivating slightly in the car on the way here, but now he was veritably drooling as he thought of the pizza he would soon be devouring.

As he approached the counter, a teenaged girl with her long blonde hair pulled into a pony tail that came out through the back of a Papa Murphy’s baseball cap looked up from her work. With the skill of a Las Vegas poker dealer, she was flicking pepperonis onto a large pizza, but when she saw the man she paused. It was her English teacher. He was wearing an outlandish red hockey jersey. A cap not unlike her own was covering his bald head, except his said “Metallica,” not “Papa Murphy’s.” It wasn’t the way he looked in class, but it wasn’t much worse either. Thompson obviously had no sense of style to begin with. Since the beginning of the year, he had worn the same five shirts and four pairs of pants in a rotating cycle that allowed him to never wear exactly the same combination of clothes more than twice a month, and he never tucked his shirts in. But when he recognized her in return, she felt she ought to smile and say hi.

“Hey Brandi!” he said as he stepped up behind the three people now ahead of him at the cash register. “I didn’t know you worked here!”

“Well,” she said, searching for something polite, “I didn’t know you ate here.”

“More than I should,” he said, patting his belly. “Was that you that took my order?”

“Yeah, I think I did,” she said, and thankfully the phone rang again at that moment. She turned around and answered it quickly, relieved to be out of the conversation.

As he watched her write down the order being called in, Thompson wondered how Brandi got a job here. She was only in the ninth grade, and most ninth graders in his classes were not gainfully employed at anything besides baby-sitting and lawn mowing. ‘Maybe her dad owns the place,’ he thought. ‘Or maybe she’s just really motivated. She’s a good student...seems like a nice kid. If I owned the place, I’d hire her.’ Before he could pursue this line of thinking further, he arrived at the front of the line and paid for his pizza. Brandi looked up as he walked out.

“Bye!” she said.

“Have a good weekend!” he replied and was gone. Brandi had no idea that this simple exchange would end up being part of a lesson on point of view the following week in class.

Third-Person Limited

Wayne had been sitting on the bench in Papa Murphy’s for what seemed like an eternity. ‘How could it take this long?’ he wondered as he checked his watch for the tenth time in as many minutes. ‘All I ordered was a stinkin’ sausage pizza, and they don’t even have to cook it!’ He had placed his order with that cute blonde girl, who looked to be his age, maybe a little younger. He had considered asking her out, but even though he had tried to be charming, she had barely paid him a second glance. And now she was talking to that freak in the red hockey shirt. ‘Who does he think he is, anyway?’ Wayne thought, frowning. ‘Why is she talking to him when she barely made eye contact with me? He’s like an old man!’

“Wayne!” someone called from behind the cash register. It was another girl in a Papa Murphy’s ball cap and she was holding his neatly wrapped pizza out to him. He snatched it from her hands and snarled, “It’s about time!” As he turned around to storm out, he ran headlong into the freak in the red hockey shirt, who had just stepped up to pay for his own pizza.

“Sorry,” said the freak.

“Yeah, yeah,” Wayne grumbled and headed for the door.

First-Person Narrator

I shouldn’t even have been calling Papa Murphy’s in the first place. It’s good pizza, but you have to cook it yourself, and we were short on time as it was. After dropping my mom off at the airport, I still had to pick up Elizabeth from swim practice and get James to a piano lesson. That wouldn’t have been a big deal if I hadn’t made an unplanned trip to the gym right after work. Not only did I then have to clean myself up, but I discovered the clothes in the dryer had just been sitting there over night, not actually drying. I had to wear the first thing I could find, which was my old hockey jersey. It’s a good thing Eileen wasn’t with me. She hates that jersey.

Distracted by all these things, I dialed to order the pizza. I was wondering if I’d really be able to pick it up, cook it, and get both kids where they needed to be on time when a youthful voice said, “Papa Murphy’s on Fairfield! This is Brandi! May I help you?” I think I mumbled something about black olives because James likes them, but when I hung up I couldn’t actually remember what I had ordered. So as I was standing in line, waiting to pick up the pizza, I found my stomach growling with hunger and my mind vaguely wondering what we would be having on our pizza tonight. That’s when I saw Brandi.

She’s in my ninth-grade English class, and I was a little surprised to see her working at this “real job.” Then it dawned on me that she must have been the one who had taken my call, and I thought about asking, “What did I order again?” But she looked busy, flinging pepperonis and spreading cheese on a line of pizzas, so I tried not to embarrass her. (Teachers do that sometimes.) We exchanged pleasantries and I was soon at the front of the line. An angry looking kid with a pizza in his hand turned into me and stormed out, but I was in too much of a hurry by this point to care what his problem was.

I was late picking Elizabeth up, but everything else worked out okay. That evening, while I was glancing over my lesson plans for the coming week, I realized that my writing lab activity on point of view was missing.

“I’ll have to write something up by next Wednesday,” I said and then went out to see if there was any leftover pizza in the fridge.

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