Multiple Perspectives in Telugu Short Story

Jagdish Bisa (
Mon, 22 Sep 1997 08:01:42 +0000

	    Multiple Perspectives in Telugu Short Stories

One of the most effective styles employed in many Telugu short stories is 
revealing it from a single character's Point of View (PoV).  Use of an 
omnicient voice of an author describing the events and actions of the 
characters involved is also used but not as frequent.

I think use of a character's PoV gives a different effect. In an omniscient 
PoV, it's almost as though the narrative voice is an additional character,
who can have opinions, etc., about the goings on, but who is _not_ an
actual actor in the drama.  Stories like "saavu kUDu" (Funeral Feast) are
classic examples of an omnicient voice. But when you have a character's PoV,
you instead filter everything through the viewpoint character, who is right 
there in the scene, having full access to the drama of the moment.

The problem with both styles, if done poorly, is the presentation of the
story either from a single character's or the author's perspective. This
may result in conflicting reviews of the story, i.e those readers that
share the PoV presented giving it "thumbs up" and others giving "thumbs

The real writing tour de force, whenever totally different characters are
involved, is the use of multiple PoVs in a single story.  An extremely well
written Telugu story that employed multiple PoVs is Bucchi Babu's "viDicEsina
asalu vishayam."  All the characters involved in this story, including an old
dog, live in entirely different worlds of their own and share very little in
common.  By presenting the story in differnt, chronologically overlapping, 
PoVs the author succeeds in telling the story which is impossible to tell
from a single character's PoV, given that almost no feelings are shared with 
the same meaning between the characters.

Most notable PoV in BB's above story is that of "kEpugADu".  kEpugADu is so
inarticulate and unlikable, the reader may want to see him hanged, and yet
eloquent in explaining himself to the reader and the reader ends up siding
with him as the story progress.  

Given that those characters share very little in common, a single character
PoV would have ruined the story by misrepresenting the views of other 
characters. The omnicient voice of an author would have made the reader as a
silent observer having no access to the intensity of the drama of the moment.

There's no doubt in saying that BB's "viDicEsina asalu vishayam" is one of 
the best short stories I've ever read.

What other Telugu authors employed multiple PoVs successfully in their
short stories and novels?

- Jagdish (Don't tickle my PoV!) Bisa.