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                            Louisiana State University
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'You Are About to Begin Reading': the Nature and Function of Second Person Point of View in Narrative.
	Darlene Marie Hantzis
		Recommended Citation
ProQuest Dissertations
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Louisiana State University
LSU Digital Commons

LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses Graduate School


'You Are About to Begin Reading': the Nature and
Function of Second Person Point of View in
Darlene Marie Hantzis
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Page 81


while recognizing our dependence on old habits."

Oppenheim believes that the process of narration enacted by

second person texts holds a special appeal to the reader.

Oppenheim notes that the intersubjectivity constructed in

second person texts, indicated by the identification and

displacement process, houses their appeal. Indeed,

intersubjectivity functions in second person texts to compel

a "radical reorientation" and construct a "special appeal."

The intersubjectivity in second person texts invokes a

familiarity, an intimacy, among the constitutive elements of

the narrative situation. This intimacy combines with the

commentary on the nature of subjects to constitute the

functions and effects of second person point of view in


Munley describes the experience of a second person

narrative as follows, "the reader must continually switch

roles and relate to the other as to another self. . . "

(italics mine). Given the multiplicity of identities

housed in the second person text, Munley's observation may

be amended to indicate that the reader must continually

"relate to others as to other selves." The nature of a

Hirsch, "Michel Butor: The Decentralized Vision," 348

Oppenheim, Intentionality and Intersubjectivity, p.


Oppenheim, Intentionality and Intersubjectivity, pp.

6 9 Munley, p. 250.

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relationship in which the other functions at the level of

another self, suggests the intimacy, the familiarity, that

pervades the intersubjectivity created by second person

texts. Munley's view echoes in the notion that a kind of

"schizophrenia" characterizes second person texts.

Morrissette suggests this notion when he discusses the

ability of an outside voice, audible to the narrator or

hero, to comment upon actions and thoughts as if in the

voice of the narrator or hero. Thus, the self, in a sense,


While recognizing "the delight one feels in reading"

second person texts, Messerli also notes that the "you"

throws "the reader into confusion by presuming a

familiarity. . . . " HopKins and Perkins partially

counter Messerli's complaint when they assert that, "The

you-mode has yet another advantage. It offers the intimacy

with the character enabled by the first-person mode without

the presumptuous quality of the I-narrator." Every "I"

narrator presumes her/his right to speak and that the reader

is interested, indeed cares, about what s/he has to declare.

The "you" inter-subjectifies the reader, character,

Morrissette, 13. It is interesting to note here

that Fredric Jameson locates schizophrenia in postmodern
discourse. See, Jameson "Postmodernism and the Consumer
Society," The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture,
pp. 111-1271

7 1 Messerli, 293.

HopKins and Perkins, p. 27.

Page 162


Darlene Marie Hantzis is a native of Indianapolis,

Indiana, where she completed her public school education.

Darlene received her Bachelor or Science in Speech

Communication and English from Indiana State University,

Terre Haute, Indiana in 1981 and earned her Master of Arts

degree (with thesis) in Speech Communication from Baylor

University, Waco, Texas, in 1983. Her teaching career

includes one year as an Instructor for Indiana University-

Purdue University in Indianapolis and one year as an

Instructor for Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence

Valley. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the

Department of English at St. Lawrence University.


Page 163


Candidate: Dar l ene Mar ie H a n t z i s

Major Field: Speech

Title of Dissertation: " Y o u a r e about t o beg in r e a d i n g " : The Na tu re and F u n c t i o n of
Second Pe r son P o i n t of View i n N a r r a t i v e


jor Professor and Chairman

ean of the Graduate Sci cH6ol


. $&*^JL


Date of Examination:

May 18 , 1988

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