Is there literally any merit to third-person narration?
First-person narration means that the reader acquires the story from the narrator. It allows the reader to see how the narrator sees the world, and allows the narrator to go off on their own tangents and rants and observations that flesh out who they are as a character.
Third-person narration can't accomplish any of those things without very clunkily inserting long monologues, clumsy "he thought that" statements, etc. Furthermore, to be able to write multiple different great narrator characters is the sign of a talented writer. A writer that writes in the same exact narrative style in each (third-person) story can't be said to be as good.
Can you prove me wrong, /lit/? I'd like to know some excellent examples of third-person novels and arguments for their merit. What DOES a third-person narrative style do (that has value) that the first-person style doesn't? I know that third-person allows for a more "omnipresent" narrative which may be good for stories with lots of characters doing different things in different places, but other than that, I don't know.
>First-person narration means that the reader acquires the story from the narrator
the reader always acquires the story from the narrator, the narrator just isn't always a named character in the story.
>It allows the reader to see how the narrator sees the world
unreliable narrators will lie to the reader, so this is not necessarily true, and also why would you prefer the restrictions of subjective experience over the freedom of a more exhaustive, zoomed-out narrative.
>allows the narrator to go off on their own tangents
>implying you can't do that in 3rd-person also
>implying 3rd-person cannot do this to stronger effect, even, since any rants/observations can be stated not as mere opinion but as universal facts within the framework of the story
>Third-person narration can't accomplish any of those things without very clunkily inserting long monologues, clumsy "he thought that" statements, etc.
a good writer wouldn't write "he thought that..." to begin with, or at the very least he would do so sparingly (i.e., showing, not telling), and you are assuming that long monologues are necessarily clunky. you are also assuming that exposition does not exist.
the best POV depends on the type of novel. (if you were not pleb you would realize this.) 1st-person works best for some (e.g., in He Rapes His Sister, Phoebe, 1st-person narration is just about necessary because it is a novel about a flawed worldview, which Salinger wants to show you is wrong), and 3rd-person works best for others (to cite another meme book, GR, where the author's argument encompasses all history and human experience).
Blood Meridian. There is absolutely no semblance of omniscience in the narrator, so you never get inside the head of any of the characters (including never learning the kid's name) and it adds to the horrid inhuman atmosphere. Listening to the kid struggle with his moral decisions wouldn't have the same horrific effect. In fact, McCarthy pretty much only reminds us that he is a human towards the very end where he stutters trying to pronounce a word and you suddenly remember that he's just a 16 year old boy from Tennessee who can not read or write. That effect couldn't happen in first person.
>unreliable narrators will lie to the reader,
this isn't a bad thing and is an excellent character device.
it's true that the reader may not get an unfiltered view of the world, but it is true that they will get a look into the character by seeing how the world manifests itself filtered through their biases
The author may not want you to get "inside" the characters' heads at all, as per
Or maybe he wants to dip in and out of a character's head. Or, he might want to hover around the inner space of many characters in quick, or less quick, succession, à la Mrs. Woolf. A first person narrated novel might accomplish this by dividing it into Johnny's chapter, Maggie's chapter, etc. I believe Faulkner might be a good example. Not the same thing though.
In the end they're all good for what they're good for. Ain't that the truest truism you've heard today?
First person narration is a meme desu.
The only credible characters are thosre who you watch through a window while they don't know you are staring at em.