What is voice?

Voice means the tone of the narrative. Think about the language used in the narration and what that tells us. In some texts the narrator is also a character. In others, the narrative voice is more distant.

Narrative can be first person – indicating a clear point of view – or third person – which could follow one character closely or take an omniscient standpoint.

To work out the voice of a text, think about the following:

  • Is it in the first person (‘I’) or the third person (‘he’, ‘she’)?
  • What is the feeling or attitude of the narrator?
  • How is the story told? What writing techniques are used?
  • Do we get a clear sense of the narrator as a character in the story? Or is the focus on the characters the narrator is describing?