A first-person narrative is a story told by one character about that character's own experiences. This literary point of view, found in both fiction and creative nonfiction, can use both singular and plural pronouns. The narrator might double as the story's protagonist, but some
The narrator of a first-person narrative relies on the use of the "I" and "we" pronouns. These two pronouns are known as first-person pronouns. Third-person narratives include first-person pronouns, but only in the course of dialogue — the text contained within quotation marks. A narrator within a first-person narrative refers to himself or herself directly, outside of dialogue and within the descriptive portion of the text.
First-person point of view is used in both fiction and creative nonfiction. For some genres,
Many types of creative nonfiction also work especially well as first-person narratives. Creative nonfiction essentially refers to stories that describe factually accurate events. Memoirs are a type of creative nonfiction that describe an incident or incidents within the life of the narrator. Since these stories revolve directly around the writer's life, many are told as first-person narratives. Unlike the narrator of a fictional first-person narrative, the narrator of a nonfictional first-person narrative is usually one and the same with the writer.
While some first-person narrators double as the protagonist of the story, others merely act as observers to the story's events. Within creative nonfiction, first-person narrators describing a biographical event in someone else's life tell that story from the perspective of an outsider. In fiction, observational first-person narrators may act to provide a more objective, reliable narration, since they are often less affected by the story's events than the protagonist. Nick Carraway, the narrator in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, is a minor character who is able to provide a relatively unbiased perspective since he has little to gain or lose from accurately telling the story's events.
When narrators tell a story and cast themselves as the main character, however, they sometimes come across as unreliable. "The Tell-Tale Heart," by Edgar Allan Poe, is a