Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Second Person Perspective

At different points throughout her novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan employs the use of the first, second, and third perspective. I find it especially intriguing that Egan chooses to employ the use of second perspective for the chapter “Out of Body”.Throughout the many books that I have read, I have rarely stumbled upon the use of the second person point of view by an author. After reading “Out of Body”, I have come to realize how powerful this style of writing can be. Through the use of " you" statements, second person perspective truly allows the reader to develop a personal relationship with the text that is difficult to copy in first person and third person point of views. In “Out of Body”, the reader can put himself in Rob’s shoes feel like he is inside of Rob as he progresses through the events in the chapter.

I found this personal connection most powerful when Rob informs Drew of Sasha's experiences in Naples. Drew becomes infuriated at the news that Sasha was a thief and a hooker. He storms off, swearing at Rob. Despite Drew’s clear desire to distance himself from Rob, Rob follows him from behind. Through the second person perspective writing, I felt as if Jennifer Egan was transplanting me into the story as Rob. I can sympathize with his actions because I have, several times, told a friend something that they shouldn’t have heard. Each time, like Rob, I have worried about how this information might ruin my relationships with people other than the one to whom I shared the information. I can understand the confusion Rob felt and the impulsive decisions that a situation like that can lead to. This scene, in particular, was especially relatable for me because I have personally seen the east river and know exactly which walkway these people were walking on. I can picture in my brain where they are, which only adds to the relatability of the story. Overall, I feel that the use of second person perspective can bring the reader into the story on a more personal level, which can enhance the overall reader experience of reading a novel.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, I thought that the second person style was very cool. Since the point of view was second person I could relate to the character Rob much better then normal because it was if the other characters were talking to me.