Main Storyteller – Concept, examples and other storytellers

We explain what the main narrator is and how he tells a story. Also, examples of this and the other types of storytellers.

protagonist narrator
The main narrators tell their story with full awareness of themselves.

What is the main narrator?

A protagonist narrator is understood to be a narrative voice (a narrator) present in literary and other stories, which is given the task of telling the plot in the first person (I), assuming the main role of it. In other words: it happens when the narrator is the same protagonist of the story.

The main narrators tell their story with full awareness of themselves, so they use personal and subjective language, they allow themselves to make personal references and digressions, and above all they can tell us only what they know or knew at that time, or at most what they have been able to learn today regarding the plot told.

This means that, as the story stars and tells it at the same time, the structural, temporal and narrative organization of the story is due to your convenience or personal considerations.

This type of narrator may well express opinions, ask questions, contradict themselves, doubt and express their subjectivity in other ways in the face of the story they tell us, since it is something that happened to them and they do not have the obligation to be impartial.

The main narrator always uses the first person (singular or plural) to tell. Autobiographies (real or fictional) are good examples of the use of this type of storyteller.

Examples of protagonist narrator

Some examples of protagonist narrator are:

  • Taken from: Lolita (novel) by Vladimir Nabokov

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my entrails. My sin, my soul. Lo-li-ta: the tip of the tongue undertakes a trip of three steps from the edge of the palate to rest, in the third, on the edge of the teeth. It. Li. Ta. It was Lo, just Lo, in the morning, five foot four in bare feet. It was Lola in pants. It was Dolly at school. It was Dolores when she signed. But in my arms she was always Lolita ”.

  • Excerpted from: “Borges y yo” (short story) by Jorge Luis Borges

“The other, Borges, is the one who things happen to. I walk through Buenos Aires and I linger, perhaps mechanically, to look at the arch of a hallway and the front door; I have news of Borges by mail and I see his name in a list of professors or in a biographical dictionary. I like hourglasses, maps, 17th century typography, etymologies, the taste of coffee, and Stevenson’s prose; the other shares those preferences, but in a vain way that makes them attributes of an actor. It would be an exaggeration to say that our relationship is hostile; I live, I let myself live so that Borges can plot his literature and that literature justifies me ”.

  • Excerpted from: “The last customer of the night” by Marguerite Duras

“The road crossed the Auvergne and the Cantal. We had left Saint-Tropez in the afternoon, and drove late into the night. I don’t remember exactly what year it was, it was in the middle of summer. I had known him since the beginning of the year. She had found him at a dance she had gone to alone. It is another story. He wanted to stop before dawn in Aurillac. The telegram had arrived late, had been sent to Paris, and then forwarded from Paris to Saint-Tropez. The burial was to take place the next day, late in the afternoon ”.

Second person narrator

second person narrator
Narrating in the second person allows the reader to “speak”.

There are forms of narrator that use the second person (“you” or “you”) to tell, although they are not usually too frequent. This way of narrating allows him to “speak” to the reader, forcing him to put himself in the place of the protagonist or the narrator (the “listener” of the narrator), to whom the story is referred. This resource can achieve very powerful effects if used correctly in a narrative.

Omniscient narrator

omniscient narrator
The omniscient narrator is rarely part of the story.

The omniscient narrator is the one who knows absolutely everything about its history and tells it in great detail, being able to refer to the reader the thoughts of the characters, the events that occur behind the protagonist’s back and, in short, everything you want.

He is a “God” narrator, since not usually part of the story, but it is present everywhere and at all times. It is very common in fables and children’s stories, and those that pursue a final moral.

Witness narrator

The witness narrator is the one who, as his name indicates, tells a story that he witnessed, without having much more of it than his own observation experience. He does not know what the characters think, he does not know what happens in secret, only what he was able to witness, whether it is part of the narrative plot (that is, whether it is a character) or not.