Persona and Narrative

This is a productive framework to use in comparative analysis as it can be applied to the range of texts well.  At a basic level, the person of pronouns (i.e. first person, third person etc) can be commented on for this approach.
For literary texts, look at the persona used and/or the character(s) created.  You’ll need to examine the language used in terms of how it contributes to these aspects.  For example, any use of dialect or unusual expression is worth noting and also whether the audience is addressed directly.

When working with a novel or a narrative poem, you need to be aware of the type of narration:

  • An intradiegetic narrator is involved in the story s/he is telling.
  • An extradiegetic narrator is an onlooker, not taking part in the story s/he is relating.
  • Chronological narrative runs in time order: first this happened, then this, then this. This might also be described as linear.
  • Analepsis is the term for flashback – a glimpse of the past
  • Prolepsis is the term for flashforward – a jump to a future time

In poetry, how is the persona created? Is it obviously a fictional creation (e.g. in a dramatic monologue), an exaggerated aspect of the poet themselves or something like an ‘everyman’ representation? How is the reader supposed to relate to the poem’s voice? Are we meant to sympathise, react against them or are we at some point in between? Which features lead us to this?

In transcripts, this framework should prompt you to look at how each person comes across.  Who has the most/least status, or is it a symmetrical (equal) conversation?  Who asks questions, or tells others what to do?  Do speakers have any interesting individual features, e.g. dialect forms, particular fillers they use etc?  What can you tell about the people from the way they interact?

For non-fiction and media texts, the thing to look at is the voice.  By this, we mean how the text puts itself across.  Does it address the audience directly?  Use first person pronouns?  Is it an authoritative voice?  An entertaining one?  What kind of relationship does it create with the audience?