Focalizer

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The focalizer is the character from whose point of view the story is told.

Contents

Definition

The focalizer is the primary consciousness of a story. The events, situations, interpretations of other characters' dialogue, etc. are all filtered through this focalizer. This character holds the main point of view. The focalizer sometimes changes throughout a narrative, resulting in multiple focalizers for one story. Thus, the focalizer is not always the narrator or the main character.

Examples

"She waited, Kate Croy, for her father to come in, but he kept her unconscionably, and there were moments at which she showed herself, in the glass over the mantel, a face positively pale with irritation that had brought her to the point of going away without sight of him...This whole vision was the worst thing yet--as including in particular the interview to which she had braced herself; and for what had she come but for the worst?"

-Henry James, The Wings of the Dove

Kate Croy here functions as the focalizer because she brings the reader into her consciousness in the passage, making them aware of her thoughts and emotions while simultaneously relating the plot action.

Critical Debates

{is the term contested, challenged, defined differently, etc.?}

Related Terms

focalized, focalization, point of view

References

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