Definitions

Focalization

Focalization

[foh-kuh-lahyz]
Focalization is a term coined by the French narrative theorist Gerard Genette. It refers to the perspective through which a narrative is presented. For example, a narrative where all information presented reflects the subjective perception of that information by a certain character is said to be internally focalized. An omniscient narrator corresponds to external focalization. A novel in which no simple rules restrict the transition between different focalizations could be said to be unfocalized, but specific relationships between basic types of focalization constitute more complex focalization strategies; for example, a novel could provide external focalization alternating with internal focalizations through three different characters, where the second character is never focalized except after the first, and three other characters are never focalized at all. The specific domain of literary theory which deals with focalization is narratology, and it concerns not only distinctions between subjective and objective focalizations but various gradations between them, such as free indirect discourse, style indirect libre, or quasi-direct discourse. Narratologists tend to have a difficult time agreeing on the exact definitions of categories in their field; hence its dynamic nature.

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