Lack of Attachment: A Main Feature of 1st Person Witness– Ifeyemi

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Yesterday, Whitemosquito’s message was portrayed on our website. Today, Ifeyemi clarifies the difference in the first person protagonist and first person reteller…

Why do we enjoy some stories more than the others? It has less to do with the storyline and more to do with how engaged the writer made us feel, which is a function of the NARRATIVE.

There are the first, second and the third person points of view- Whitemosquito

The first person point of view is written by a participant in the story. That is, the narrator is directly involves in the story.
First person point of view is a general term.
We can sub-divide it into the first person protagonist and the first person witness.

The First Person Protagonist is the main character in the story, telling the story by himself. We can know his thoughts and why he acts the way he does. The story is written in his own perspective and so we see things from his own eyes. It’s easy for the reader to be carried away with the opinion of the narrator. This can be an advantage as the writer can use the narrator’s opinion to divert the reader from forming objective opinions and which helps the writer in presenting to the readers an unexpected end.

The first person protagonist has the events of the story wrapped around him, and he tells the story by himself. This makes him very attached to the story, he is directly involved, which in turn affects the reader’s participation in their mind.

The first person witness is also a character in the story, but he is not the main character. He does not know the thoughts of the protagonist or that of other characters in the story. He only reports events, and does it from his own perspective. We have access to his opinions about situations and again, it is possible to be carried away with his own opinions. He may even be in a better position to sway our minds better than the protagonist because he acts as an impartial observer, and all the while feeding us with his own opinions. (This further depends on who he is in the story, whether he acts as the protagonist’s wife, mother, son, neighbour, friend, and so on).

The first person witness also has limited knowledge of happenings. His narration is only limited to how much he has seen and this can equally be taken advantage of. The writer can, through this create enough suspense for the reader.

He is also less attached to the story. There is a distance between the narrator and the events, since he tells the story of another, and not of himself.

Whether the first person protagonist or the first person witness is used affects how the story is written. It affects the tone, language, mood, length of sentences and so on.

How the story is being told should also be decided. Whether the narrator is writing the story down or thinking it aloud, making a confession and so on. Whichever way it is presented affects how engaged the reader is with the story..


Ifeyemi is a graduate of law, University of Ibadan. For her, reading and writing are not just hobbies, they are companions. She is a lover of words, of logic and of suspense and these are seen in her works.

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