Multiperspective Novels

By Elizabeth Cali

Multiperspective novels are structured to represent the perspectives of various key characters in a novel. Often, chapters in multiperspective novels shift from one character perspective to another, allowing for the insight that third person narrative offers while providing various individual and occasionally even first person perspectives. While this structure is not distinct to African American literary works, it facilitates key thematic emphases that are specific to African American creative expression. It disrupts the rugged individualism championed in much of American literary canonical works for a more dynamic depiction of an individual’s role in their larger communities. It also destabilizes the notion of a single or singular story or historical perspective, which prompts readers to consider the tensions inherent in adhering to a single narrative of history, culture, society, politics, and the future.