Narrator and point of view

Ron Rash’s story “Last Burned Bridge” is a third-person narrative. The narrator is outside the story and presents the events from the point of view of the main character Carlyle. Readers have access to Carlyle’s thoughts and memories, which make him more relatable and helps explain the way he acts towards the woman.

The woman is only presented from Carlyle’s perspective: “She looked abandoned, like the dogs that appeared from time to time…” (ll. 28-29). This shows readers how Carlyle perceives others, but also has the effect of giving the woman a very raw portrait, showing how alone she appears to be. Readers do not have direct access to what the woman thinks, though they learn a bit about her backstory through her dialogue. 

Choosing the point of view of a character makes the narrator’s knowledge of the events limited to what the character knows. This is why readers discover along with Carlyle that the woman became a singer: “…Carlyle had not made the connection until he heard the voice and song’s lyrics on the radio.” (ll. 154-155). This has the effect of making the story more intriguing and keeps the readers interested until the end. 



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