Persona 2

Amy Nguyen

Persona: In literature, persona is the narrator, or the storyteller, of a literary work created by the author. The expression originates from the Greek word “persona” meaning “mask”. Other roots of the word stem from Latin “persona”, meaning “actor’s mask,” or “character acted”.  The persona is not the author, but the author’s creation; the voice through which the author speaks. Persona is not representative of the author’s inner feelings or personal voice; it is a portrayal of how the author wants to be perceived through the character that they have created.

Example: In Michael Ondaatje’s novel, In the Skin of a Lion, many different personas are used to comprise the whole story. The novel often shifts points of view, each time causing a shift in persona. This allows Ondaatje to speak through many characters that he’s created to give the story dimension. An example of this is on page 157 where the story is currently in Patrick’s point of view. He states “each person had their moment when they assumed the skins of wild animals, when they took responsibility for the story”. This quotation does not only pertain to the story, but also hinting to the title of the novel. Ondaatje uses this persona to illustrate his message.

Works Cited

“Persona Literary Term.” Types of Poetry. Web. 03 Feb. 2011.

“Guide to Literary Terms Persona.” Literature Study Guides, Lesson Plans, and More. Web. 03 Feb. 2011.

Kennedy, X.J, and Dana Gioia. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 10th ed. New York: Longman, 2007. Print.


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