Who Has The Best Point-of-View?

How many are there?!

Every author has their own style of writing. This style can seriously affect a novel’s overall tone depending on how successful or unsuccessful the author’s style is towards the target audience. One factor which contributes to an author’s style of writing would be the point of view of the novel. There are standard points of views which we are all subjected to memorizing in high school and sometimes earlier grades, yet there are different variations of these traditions views which can emerge in more complex pieces of text.

The three most common point of views (that we study in school) include:

a)First Person

b)Second Person

c)Third Person (limited, subjective multiple view points, or omniscient)

Point of View can change everything......

Point of View can change everything……

Connection Time!

If you’ve been following my blog you should know that I’m currently reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. If anyone has previously read this novel, you will have surely noticed that the novel is in the third person with subjective multiple view points. Big words, I know. This basically means that the author changes the point of view (between characters in this case) in some repetitive or formal pattern through out the novel. This can be a risking move on the author’s side depending on how well he/she is able to integrate the switch into the novel while creating a sense of suspense but not completely interfering with the plot of the novel it’s self.  I personally believe that Khaled Hosseini does an excellent job with this point of view in this novel. The switch between the perspectives isn’t distracting to the actual story, and it is spread throughout the novel in an even way which does not make it confusing for the reader at all. Hosseini changes the point of view between two main characters Mariam and Laila when ever one part of the novel ends (ex: part 1, part 2, part 3). Additional to the fact that these changes does not negatively affect the plot, it still manages to create a sense of suspense and tension within the novel that keeps the reader wanting to continue reading to find out how and if the two will end up running into each other. Since the two point of views are telling the story at the same time, there are times where the reader wants to see what the thoughts of the other character are, but are limited to the thoughts and actions of only one.

The two points of views in this novel are shared between the characters Mariam and Laila. Part 1 of the novel is from Mariam’s point of view, part 2 from Laila’s, and part 3 goes back and forth between the two. There are times in the novel when the two characters cross each other yet the novel does not change perspectives.

For example:

a) (Part 2, page 100) Laila’s father, Babi, is taking her to school when she notices Rasheed’s, Mariam’s husband’s, blue Benz, and even refers to Mariam as “his reclusive wife”.

b) (Part 2, page 125) During Ahmad and Noor’s funeral, Laila notices Mariam. “Rasheed’s wife, Mariam, came in. She was wearing a black hijab. Strands of her hair strayed from it onto her brow. She took a seat along the wall across from Laila”.

Although we can not read the thoughts that Mariam is having during these events and points in the story, this all adds to the suspension in the novel of wanting to know how the two are connected and when the perspective is going to switch again.

I found this quite hilarious and relative.

I found this quite hilarious and relative.

As Promised…

Here are the rest of the translations up until chapter 22:

Chup Ko Shut up


Hamwatans Expression: Brothers


Sofrah table cloth except put on the floor to eat on


Ghazals a form of Hindu poetry that fits well with classical music


Inqilabi Revolutionary


Moalim teacher


Sahib boss


Awal first


Numra number


Badmash naughty


Aroos Bride


Shokr e Khoda Expression: Praying to God for your good fortune


Shorwa Type of food


Mozahem Expression: I don’t want to be intruding/imposing/getting in the way


Panjpar Type of card game in the middle east. Panj means 5.


Giryanok Cry baby


Aush Type of food


Pakol Type of wool hat for men


Fatiha Type of wake


Shaheed dead


Pajalusta Means ‘you are welcome’ in Russian. Tariq was probably saying this sarcastically to the soviet’s driving by.


Badar Brother


Kaka Jan Respectful way of addressing someone (male) who is older than you but very close to you and your family, almost like an uncle.



6 thoughts on “Who Has The Best Point-of-View?

  1. I vividly recall the first novel I read that exposed me to multiple points-of-view within a single body of work. It was William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying”. To this day, it remains one of my favorites.

  2. I personally found the first time I was exposed to multiple points- of – view to be a bit confusing during the first few chapters but then it began to grow on me as I kept reading.

  3. One scene in which I found the choice of viewpoints particularly interesting was the scene where Laila was giving birth to Zalmai. Even though it is Laila giving birth, the scene is from the view point of Mariam. From this view point you see Mariam’s admiration of Laila.

  4. Personally, I would have liked to have seen the situation at Rasheed’s house, from the perspective of Aziza. Kids generally have very innocent and naive opinions, however I wonder if Aziza’s life in Afghanistan, during the very violent and oppressive times, would have made her perspective more adult. Also, the abuse seen through the eyes of a child would have created even greater sadness and emotion in my opinion, and sent a stronger message.

  5. I actually never thought of it from that point of view. You’re right, it would be very interesting to seen those events through Aziza’s eyes. I highly doubt it would have made her perspective more adult (excluding the abuse scenes) because of her age. I still believe that she is too young to be effected greatly by what was going on around her and she would still be able to see the innocence in the events. For example, while they were running away, Aziza had no fear at all and would just keep saying “bov” as if it was just another outing for her.

  6. That is an interesting take, I found the interactions between both Mariam and Laila’s life assuring in a way. When I first started reading the novel I didnt understand that it was divided into parts, therefore when Mariam;s part was over I had a small moment of panic but as i continued on reading and read the part where Laila passes by Mariam’s house i was glad that she is still in the novel, furthermore, Liala would mention thing here that would update the reader about the other character.

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