A narrator encounters us in epic texts. He is the voice or the speaker of the work. The narrator can take different positions or perspectives, from which he allows us to take a look at the world of figures of history: the narrative perspective. We distinguish between four narrative perspectives: the auctorial, the personal, the neutral and the narrator. To the latter perspective, the I-narrator, it is now to go.
An ego narrator describes the story from the I-perspective and thus uses the I-form. The story is thus told from the perspective of a single figure, which is why the reader can only perceive what it feels and sees or experiences in exchange with others. Let’s look at an example.
I did not sleep well. The whole night raged a storm, it crashed all the time and I almost fell out of bed. When it was finally resting again-it was probably already bright-Shiva, my cat lady, decided that the night was over. I dared try to ignore them, but I did not succeed, and in the end she got me prematurely and dog-eared out of bed.
In the above example, we have highlighted the signal words that characterize an I-narrator. For example, words like me, me, or even mine, when they are used not only in conversation with another figure, clearly refer to a narrative behavior from the ego perspective.
In this case, as a reader, we only know what the narrator tells us. Everything else remains closed to us, and the voice can not give us any background information about other figures, let alone what is going on in the mind of others. If there were such elements, it would be an auctorial narrator.
Furthermore, the self-narrator differs from the personal narrator insofar as the ego-form is used in the text. If the above example were to be told personally, the ego would be replaced by him, her or the protagonist’s name (“He had slept badly …”).
Note: The narrator of the narrator does not lead us through comments or evaluations through the story that is outside the experience. We can thus only perceive what the figure from whose point of view the whole is told knows, thinks, or feels. The reader is restricted to the horizon of the ego.
What can a self-narrator?
The narrator of the narrator is limited to the view of the figure from whose perspective the narrative is shown. Consequently, he can not know what other figures of the story think, if they do not tell him or several narrator in the text.
This means that as a reader of history, we know only what the figured figure knows. Thus, we can only guess about how other characters are anchored in the text or what they think in the individual scenes. Besides, we do not know anything about the place or the time of the action, if it is not communicated to us by the narrator of the narrative or it is experienced in dialogue.
Furthermore, the narrator is a split narrator. For, on the one hand, the epic distance, which a narrator usually has, is completely abolished by him, because here the narrator and the protagonist merge into a unity and are themselves in the midst of the event. On the other hand, the narrator of course creates a certain distance from the narrative, because he can only tell what has already happened. Thus, distance is lifted and created again by the self-narrator.
That is why we differentiate the ego narrator into the experiencing and narrative self. An experiencing ego is thus directly involved in the happening and at the moment it is itself experiencing a retrospective of a narrative self. So in hindsight about an experience reported.
This distinction now makes it possible for the narrator to make a very intimate look at the character as we can see the innermost of a character. However, this inner view is in turn limited to a very narrow field of view, namely, its own, which is why the thoughts of other figures remain closed. Here the self-narrator approaches the personal narrator.
However, the narrator narrates a story and in most cases his own. If a temporal distance exists, the figure thus remembers past things, it can appear commenting or evaluating, and also know details about the course of the story which it still denies to the reader. In this case, the narrator of the narrative is very similar to the authorial narrator.
These different characteristics of the narrator are confusing. Therefore, a division is possible, which is based on the possible characteristics of the ego-narrator. It is a question of the temporal distance that the narrator has to the event (pronounced or not pronounced retrospective?) And also about the role he plays in the narrative (his own story or stranger?).
Retrospective with a central position: the narrator of the ego looks back on a past event and thus has the necessary temporal distance to act as an auctorial self. He also takes a central position in the narrative, so he has experienced the story himself (eg Autobiography).
Retrospective with Randstellung: The narrator of the narrator has a temporal distance from the happening, it can thus evaluate, comment or anticipate and judge the strings of action. However, he only takes a stand as he talks about the experiences of another figure (example: biography).
There is no marked retrospective at the center position: the experiencing ego does not have a temporal distance from the happening and experiences the situation itself. However, there is a central position of the narrator, so it is about what he experiences (example: letter romance / correspondence).
No pronounced retrospective for marginalization: Here, the narrator of the narrator has a marginal position in the story, so it tells something that another person experiences. In addition, there is no temporal distance from the narrative, which is why it is immediately experienced (eg reportage or report).
Note: The above classification of the narrator of the narrative is based on the literary scientist Franz Karl Stanzel, who presented it in detail in his “Theory of the Story” (1989).
How does an ego narrator work?
When an author uses a narrator to tell the story, this usually has a reason. As a result, the ego narrator has certain characteristics, characteristics, and an effect on the reader, which is why he appears mainly in certain texts.
It has been shown that the narrator of the ego can take two different roles and thus approaches different narrative situations. If he has authoritarian features, he can ally himself with the reader or address him directly, and of course he knows a lot about the background of the story. So he has almost a divine top view on the happenings.
More often, however, the narrator is caught in the consciousness of a single character. Then the epic distance, which is actually created by the narrator between the reader and the figure, is dissolved. The reader experiences the event directly with the ego.
Furthermore, the position of the ego is, of course, engaging, since we are merely presented with the thoughts and feelings of a person. Since, however, there is no worthy or commenting narrator, we ourselves as readers must judge whether everything that the I tells us corresponds to the truth.
A narrator of the narrator therefore always comes to mind when inner processes such as emotions or even a discord of the protagonist are to be presented, or the narrative story is to be directly read by the reader himself, since it is thus extremely authentic.
Overview: The most important to the narrator of the narrator at a glance
The narrator of the narrator can be seen from the fact that we are told the story from the point of view of a single figure using the ego form. Thus, in narrating on the words I, myself, my, etc., goes back.
This narrative situation is essentially similar to the personal. This is due to the fact that the reader only knows what the figure is, and thus is bound to the consciousness horizon of a single protagonist. What other figures know remains uncertain.
However, the ego can also adopt auctorial features. This happens when the narrator of the narrative tells a story from a great temporal distance. He either experienced it himself or reported it as a witness.
If, in a narrative, we are dealing with an ego, this has a very powerful effect and function since we get all the information from this narrator first-hand. It is, however, unclear whether these are always true or the ego deceives.
Important: The concept of the narrator is limited to the literary genre of the epic. In the poem, the speaking voice is called a lyric self. In addition, the author and the narrator can not be equated. The author creates the narrator, but it is not himself.