Effects of Shifting Point of View

By: Harshida Mistry, Lydia Yu, and Madeline King

Shifting Point of View

Point of View Shifting

  • Intrinsic Shifts (omniscient to 2nd person/character)
  • Shifting from Character to Character

Between chapters


Object Bridge

Baton Pass


Shifting point of view effects the story in many different ways. First it gives depth to the story as well as the characters narrorating and the characters around them. The situation can be understood better since the story is being told through the point of view of the character in the actual situation. Also since shifting point of view goes through more than one character, the story is percieved in differnet ways since no 2 people are the same. This gives the reader something to think about when reading.


"A chill goes through her, for she feels it in her bones, the future is now beginning. By the time it is over, it will be the past, and she doesn't want to be the only one left to tell their story." (10).

This quote is in Dede's point of view and it forshadows the outcome of her family's history. This quotes talks about how Dede feels a chill when her father accidently mentions Trujillo. This reminds her of her sisters dieing. Only the character Dede would have been able to apply this aspect of the story because she is the only one left alive afterwards. This also helps set the mood for the story.

"Sometimes watching the rabbits in their pens, I’d think, I’m no different from you, poor things. One time, I opened a cage to set a half-grown doe free. I even gave her a slap to get her going. But she wouldn’t budge! She was so used to her little pen.....I was the one hurting her, insisting she be free. Silly bunny, I thought. You’re nothing at all like me". (p.11, Minerva)

This quote is in Minerva's point of view and it talks about her beliefs, wants, and view of life. Minerva wants her country to be free but because her country is so used to being controled by a dictator, she is actually hurting her country by wanting it to be free. This still doesn't stop Minerva because she is not scared. This quote gives depth to Mierva's character because it gives Minerva her fighting personality.

"And on the third day He rose again ..." (200).

This quote is said in Patria's point of view and it is a prayer/mantra Patria repeats. This gives depth to Patria's character as well as her situation because that line reflects the stuggles faced. It is a line refered to Jesus rising from the dead and Patria become religious while waiting for her son Nelson to be released from jail.

"And I see them all there in my memory, as still as statues, Mamá and Papá, and Minerva and Mate and Patria, and I'm thinking something is missing now. And I count them all twice before I realize--it's me, Dedé, it's me, the one who survived to tell the story." (321)

This quote is in Dede's point of view when she realizes she miss her old self. after she is done telling the story of her family. This gives depth to Dede's character showing her regrets and her personality as well as the situation's depressing mood. Dede finnally realizes how she actually feels with how her life turned out with no one left.

"The alternative is freezing yourself up, never showing what you're feeling, never letting on what you're thinking. "(231)

This quote is from Maria's point of view showing how her personality and character developed by the end of the story. In the beginning she was childish and reliant on other but by the end of the story this quote showed how she had become mature and understood how to survive in the real world.

"She took both my hands in hers as if we were getting ready to jump together into a deep spot in the lagoon of Ojo de Agua. 'Breathe slowly and deeply,' she intoned, 'slowely and deeply.' "I pictured myself on a hot day falling, slowely and deeply, into those cold layers of water. I held on tight to my sister's hands, no longer afaird of anything but that she might let go." (39)

After Minerva tells Maria Teresa about the secret meetings she has been attending at Don Horacio's house, they have this experience together. It is the moment that Maria Teresa becomes part of the revolutionary movement, if only symbolically. By lying for her sister about their (not so) ill Tio Mon, she demonstrated her loyalty, but now she understands what she was lying about, and she is demonstrating her allegiance.

Discussion Questions

How can different points of view affect the reader?

What are some other books with shifting point of view and how does it affect the book?

What are some positive effects of shifting point of view on people in the world today?

What are some negative effects of shifting point of view on people in the world today?

How is media connected to shifting point of view?


Alvarez, Julia. In the time of the butterflies. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1994. Print.
  • "POV Shifting." Harry Youtt. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2013. <http://www.url-der.org/POVShift.html>.