Re: Multiple Perspectives in Telugu Short Story

Jagdish Bisa (jbisa@bbnplanet.com)
Mon, 22 Sep 1997 13:10:55 -0400


V. Chowdary Jampala wrote:

>         Which POV (or how many POVs) to employ depends upon the needs
> of
> the story and to what elements in the story that the author decides to
>
> give the importance. I don't think that there is a golden rule that
> would
> apply in all situations.

I agree.  My point is that an author may fail to convey the point
across, if he choses the PoV for convenience, as opposed to the needs of
the  story.  I used the word *convenience* to stress that it's easy to
use an omnicient voice than a character's PoV, particularly when the
author is more concerned with the overall _effect_ of the story, rather
than the individual actions and feelings of the characters.

What I observed is that an author choses to use omnicient voice to
_distance_  himself/herself from the characters of the story. I may be
wrong here, but that's what I've observed.  It's almost as if the author
is trying his best to portray a particular situation with little or no
regard to the internal machinations of  _any_ of the characters
involved.  If the story can afford such an objective portrayal of
characters at hand, such as Madhurantakam Rajaram's "nammarAni vADu" for
instance, it's OK, since Madhurantakam's characters are always
articulate enough to speak themselves out in any PoV.

Let's look at Swamy's story "sAvu kUDu"
(http://india.bgsu.edu/telugu/Translations/saavu_kooDu.html).  Unlike
Madhurantakam's characters, which speak out naturally no matter how
uneducated or unlikable, the characters involved in this story are
extremely inarticulate and often dysfunctional.  Further, the author
uses omnicient voice to distance himself away from them.  Moreover, the
author, while using sweeps and arcs of metaphor to describe the famine
and some of the events vividly,  fails to portray the origins and
proliferation of the dysfunctionality of the characters.  At the end,
the reader knows nothing about the characters except that they're
dysfunctional, and there's a terrible famine in effect.

This leaves the reader no choice but to, incorrectly, think of such
dysfunctionality either as a function of  famine or a function of a
particular class of people or a combination of both.  Not a desirable
property of a _world class_ story.

My point is Swamy could have avoided this by explaining the same story,
as he did, from the PoV of any one of the characters involved in there.

-Jagdish ( What's important is the sustained feeling! ) Bisa.