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Multiperspectivity

1. What is it?

Multiperspectivity is when a single event or person is described by different voices. This allows differing accounts of the same incident or character.

In fiction it is a tool to reveal more about characters and events. In history, it is a necessary tool in order to better understand an event or time.

It can also be called ‘polyperspectivity’.

2. How is it made?

Make a character witness an event or give an opinion on a situation.Switch the narrative perspective to another character. Make this second character witness the same event or give their opinion.
Have these alternative viewpoints create contrast or conflict, or reveal additional information.Do not reveal all the information through one Character. Characters may also be unreliable.
 A final perspective may contain a revelation.

3. Examples

“How was your relationship with Malcolm Miller?”
“Malcolm Miller was a great man, in my view, and it pains me to be in this situation: here, now, talking about his death. I joined his company when I was 22, and I would not be the person I am without his help. He was a mentor, not only to me, but all the recruits.”

I found the letter in the bureau. The cream envelope was in Cathy’s handwriting.  I missed her.
‘It is with sadness that I write this letter, but I must tell you the reason I left. That reason is Mr. Miller, a brute of a man. A bully to the women. A man who could not keep his hands to himself. I was only in the company for six months, and yet they are six months that will scar me for six years.’


To this date, I have had full confidence in Ms Smith. She has always been intelligent, punctual, and kind. However, I am not a student, and so before I begin to speak of this amazing, wonderful, dynamic teacher, it makes sense to print my 6-year old Adam’s perspective on his teacher.
“She’s nice.”
Eventually he offered a little more.
“I like her clothes. But sometimes she shouts at Brian and Wendy because they are always talking in class. And some days she smells funny.”
I cannot comment on any of these, except to say I have never noticed Ms Smith’s smell.

4. Task

Write two short scenes in which different characters give alternative perspectives on the same event.

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