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Notes on “Miss Harriet’s Room”

 Point o f View

·       An autobiography is told from the writer’s perspective, or point of view.  The first-person point of view reflects only the writer’s thoughts, feelings, opinions, and biases.

·       The third-person point of view can be used to reflect the opinions, feelings, thoughts, and biases of multiple characters.

·       Third-person limited point of view is limited to the experience and consciousness of single character.

·       Third-person omniscient point of view is told by an all-knowing narrator who understands and can reveal the thoughts and feeling of all characters.



·       The details about Miss Harriet’s class show what kind of teacher she is.

·       Characterization is the author’s development of characters.

·       Byars characterizes Miss Harriet by the activities she arranges and by her power to change family customs.



·       The first-person I tells you that author Betsy Byars is relating something that happened to her.  This type of writing in which authors tell about events in their own lives is called Autobiography.



·       Character is revealed by what people in a story do, think, and say; what other say about them; and how others interact with them.

·       Byar’s character is revealed through her thoughts.


Author’s Purpose

·       Byars probably had three purposes in mind for including “Miss Harriet’s Room” in her autobiography.

o     Her writing is entertaining, for example, when she creates suspense about whether she will be allowed to stay in Miss Harriet’s room.

o     She is providing information about her formation as a reader/writer and about first grade in the 1930s.

o     She tries to persuade readers about the kind of education that she feels is valuable, and particularly about the role of good literature in a child’s early school experience.

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