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Multiple Narrative Modes

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Usually a story will keep to a single Point of View throughout. Occasionally, however, a story will change the type of perspective it uses, often between chapters, and will go from, for example, Third to First Person, Third to Second, and so on.

Related to Switching P.O.V., where the story follows different characters or sets of characters. One common way these are combined is to have a primary protagonist, who narrates in first person, and one or more secondary point-of-view characters whom we follow around in third person.


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     Anime and Manga 
  • Doraemon: Usually, the comic only shows us their speech (objective narration). Once the sound is taken the way from the world in the middle of "A World Without Sound", the comic switches to an omniscient perspective showing the characters' thoughts.

     Fan Fiction 

  • Played uniquely in FREAKIN GENSOKYO. The fic starts out in third-person, before switching to first-person. This is lampshaded in typical fashion:
    They came up to- screw it, I'm done with it! Guess who the narrator is?! That's right, me! I'm tired of talking in third person! It just don't feel right with a self-insert friker!
  • Seen in the main stories of the Twice Upon an Age series. They're usually told in third-person, but occasionally, the editor - Varric Tethras - interrupts the narrative to insert a first-person Note from Ed.; sometimes these are directed at the reader, other times they're meant for the author. It Makes Sense in Context... mostly.
  • In My Immortal, the beginning of fake Chapter 39 is told in first-person (the narration style of the actual story), but when B'loody Mary Smith shows up, the narration abruptly changes to third-person.


  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy has multiple narrators, one of which is first-person and the rest of which are third-person.
  • Animorphs does this at one point, switching from first to third person.
  • Arcia Chronicles are written predominantly in third person but, starting from book two, switch to first-person whenever Gerika becomes the POV character.
  • The Matthew Swift books switch between "I" (when the narrator is Matthew himself) and "we" (when it's the "blue electric angels" that possess him). This switching happens extremely frequently, sometimes even within the middle of a paragraph.
  • The frame story of If on a winterís night a traveler uses Second-Person Narration. All the internal stories are narrated in either first or third person. This is sometimes used to refer to both narrators simultaneously. For example, in the first novel read by the frame protagonist, the narrator is introduced thus:
    I am the man who comes and goes between the bar and the telephone booth. Or, rather: that man is called "I" and you know nothing else about him, just as this station is called only "station" and beyond it there exists nothing except the unanswered signal of a telephone ringing in a dark room of a distant city.
  • Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear is mostly written in the third person, but about two-thirds of the way through the book, the primary protagonist magically gives away her name, and all of her POV sections from that point on are in the first person.
  • Slaves of Spiegel by Daniel Pinkwater mostly switches between different first-person narratives, but occasionally it goes into third-person omnipotent when there isn't a convenient first-person narrator. The first time this happens is in a short chapter called "An Unnamed Third Person Who Knows Everything That Happens In This Story Speaks".
  • The first two Dexter novels are written entirely in the first-person, from Dexter's POV. Round three mixes it up when the reader gets intermittent third-person visits from Dex's stalker.
  • This Charming Man by Marian Keyes has four narrators, two of whom are first person and two of whom are third person limited.
  • In Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult, all chapters but one are in second person perspective, using "you" to refer to Willow. The final chapter is told from Willow's first person perspective.
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan, rotates narrators and perspectives with each chapter, including one that is formatted to look like a footnote heavy article in Details magazine, and a 76-page PowerPoint presentation.
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is almost entirely told in the third person, but lapses into first-person diary entries at the very end.
  • Some chapters of American Psycho are told in the third person, as opposed to the first-person narrative of the rest of the novel.
  • In the Outlander books, the narrative is in first-person when the action follows main character Claire, but shifts to third-person when the focus is on someone else, like her husband Jamie or daughter Brianna.
  • Iain M. Banks' Feersum Enjinn is told using four POV characters: three are written in third-person; the fourth is in first-person, using Funetik Aksent.
  • Necessary Evil by Ian Tregillis has several POV characters, most of whom are written in third-person. One, however, is written in first-person in order to avoid confusion: thanks to time-travel weirdness, he's an older version of a different POV character.
  • In Autobiography of Red, the main story is in third person limited (and entirely in verse), but the front and back matter use several other modes, including a nonfiction-style prose introduction to the ancient Greek poet Stesichoros, fragmentary poems in Stesichoros' voice, and a section consisting of extracts from other ancient authors.
  • In William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, the first three chapters are told in first person (in very different ways), and the last chapter is told in third person.
  • The Dinosaur Lords is mostly told in standard third person, but a few chapters (usually those involving the Angels) are written in the style of a stage play script.
  • The novelization of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover is primarily written in the third person, but switches to Second-Person Narration for three scenes involving Anakin Skywalker. These scenes are also in Present Tense Narrative, as opposed to the past-tense narrative that comprises most of the book.
    "This is how it feels to be Anakin Skywalker..."
  • The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew franchises as a whole have this. Their original series and Casefiles/Files spin-offs use third-person narratives, while their two most modern series—Undercover Brothers and Adventures for the Hardys, Girl Detective and Diaries for Nancy—use first-person. In Nancy's case, it's first-person from her point of view (except for one Girl Detective special, where Bess and George instead narrate), while the two Hardy Boys alternate chapters for which one of them is narrating. In the crossover series with the Hardys and Nancy, the narration switches between all three of them.
  • The Lying Game series by Sara Shepard has this: the two main characters are Sutton Mercer and Emma Paxton, long-lost identical twin sisters. Sutton was murdered soon before the first book, and Emma pretends to be her while trying to find out who killed her. Sutton's soul is tied to Emma's as an unseen ghost who can hear all of her thoughts; since Emma's thoughts and feelings are narrated in third-person, while Sutton's are in first-person, the latter comes across as the narrator of the whole story. Since Emma's perspective is shown far more often, it can sometimes be jarring to suddenly hear Sutton's first-person thoughts coming through.
  • In Side-By-Side Dreamers the story switches from third person to first person during dreams.
  • When The Mister is told from Maxim's viewpoint, it uses first-person perspective. When it switches to Alessia's viewpoint, it uses limited third-person perspective.
  • When I Heard That Song Before is being told from Kay's point of view, it's written in first-person. When it switches focus to other characters, it's written in third-person. This offers up different opinions on the central mystery and helps the reader to gain insights that Kay isn't aware of (and vice versa). This is turn creates dramatic tension, as Kay doesn't always realize trouble is right around the corner while the reader is all too aware.
  • In The Broken Earth Trilogy, the sections focusing on Essun are written in second person while the sections focusing on other characters are in third person. This turns out to be because Hoa is narrating the story to Essun to remind her of her past self after becoming a stone eater, while also telling her about what other characters were up to at the same time.

    Tabletop Games 

  • Ubiquitous in Tabletop RPGs featuring a Game Master: the GM usually narrates events that happen to the Player Party in second ("You all approach the cave and hear a faint rumble coming from its depths") or third person ("Character A feels like he has been here before"), while the players narrate their characters' actions in either first ("I step cautiously into the mouth of the cave") or third person ("Character A follows her inside"), depending on the level of Player and Protagonist Integration.

    Video Games 
  • The Logomancer: The ending is narrated in Omniscient Third Person Narrator style, as described in Ardus's ending, but then he switches to first person as he describes himself.
  • The first game in The Witcher series has only one PC - the eponymous witcher Geralt of Rivia - but gives turns to multiple characters in providing narration. The opening FMV is narrated by a featureless third-person narrator, the intro of the game proper is narrated by Geralt's mentor Vesemir, then Geralt himself narrates most of the in-game cutscenes (and the in-game journal is also written from his perspective), and the ending is narrated by Geralt's troubadour friend Dandelion.

    Visual Novels 

  • Umineko: When They Cry changes perspective and narrators so often it can be confusing and it is a big cause of mind screwing. This becomes especially confusing later on when it is revealed that you only can trust what the detective narrates, which is Battler in EP 1-4 and Erika in EP 5-6.
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors uses first-person narration on the top screen and third-person narration on the bottom screen. The reason for this is revealed near the end: the top screen shows Junpei's perspective, and the bottom screen shows young Akane's perspective.

    Western Animation 
  • Bojack Horseman: The poem "The View from Halfway Down" from the episode of the same title uses this to represent Secretariat's disassociation and then return to reality when he commits suicide by stepping off a high bridge. The poem begins in third-person, is in second-person for a single line in the middle, and then is in first-person until the end.