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A novel written through letter-writing is written with which point of view?

A novel written through letter-writing is written with which point of view?

First person

Third person limited


Third person


I agree with the previous two answers but if you add the emotional/mental status of the writer, it could be third person, even omniscient.  How? you may ask?  what if the writer wants to relay very specific and pertinent information but does not want to reveal it is he/she?  i.e. remain anonymous.  Case in point...a person considering suicide but not wanting to admit it is them....e.g. "when you walk down the sidewalk, this time of year, you can't help but notice the crackling of the leaves, the splash of color that blankets the dying leaves, the slight crispness in the air, the Sun's reluctance to give beautiful, so welcoming, you wouldn't notice the gloom that surround one particular house.  I know the girl that lives their, always pale, even in the sun, burnt orange hair her only sign that she is even in existence...."   This is a quick example of someone wanting you to know about their surroundings and their state of mind without giving away their identity.  Sorry I was so long-winded.

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7 Answers

Frankenstein is an excellent example of an epistolary novel.  When the reader is reading a letter written by Walton, it is first person.  When Victor is reading a letter written to him by Elizabeth, it is then third person.  A novel written through letters does not fit neatly into a specific point of view.

An epistle is a letter, and an epistolary novel, such as Dracula, is often written from multiple points of view: we read the characters' letters to one another as well as Jonathan Harker's diaries, the ship's log, and many other "documents" make up a large part of the narrative. When we call something an epistolary novel, we haven't necessarily identified point of view because each letter can be "written" by another fictional character. Think, for example, of Celie's letters to God in The Color Purple, and her sister's Nettie's letters about Africa. Readers see both Celie's life and growth, and Nettie becomes a fully fledged character whose letters comprise a large part of the book's wonder.

Depends on the point of view?  The type of novel you are referring to is called epistolary novel.  A letter or diary can be narrated from any point of view.  It can be someone relating an incident to another person as if they are an omniscient narrator or as a character in the story or as a participant who is in the narrative but quietly observing from the sides. 

McKenzie nailed it.

Take the simplest letter:


How are you? I am fine. I went to the movies with Dave...

The speaker is the "I," sharing their point of view. First person.

"He went to the movies and then he felt sick," is third person.



A traditional letter is a person writing from his/her own point of view, so it is First Person point of view. When the writer is using the pronouns I, me, my, we, our... those personal possessive pronouns indicate First Person P.O.V.

If the letters are written as "I did this today and Jim did this..." then it is first person. I would certainly say it is most likely first person. You are speaking from your experiences to someone.