The term “subjective” in literature refers to the expression of thoughts, feelings, and observations from the personal perspective of a character within a narrative. This literary device is essential for conveying a character’s personal biases, opinions, and emotional responses, which may differ from those of other characters or the narrator’s perspective. Employing subjectivity allows writers to dive deeply into character development, making characters more relatable and the story more engaging. It enriches the narrative by showing the world through the character’s unique lens, offering a closer, more intimate understanding of their inner workings.

Pronunciation: suhb-jek-tiv

When do writers use Subjective literary device?

Writers use the subjective literary device primarily to give readers a direct insight into a character’s personal viewpoint, thereby enriching the emotional depth and complexity of the narrative. It is particularly effective in first-person narratives or close third-person perspectives, where understanding a character’s personal experiences and emotional responses is crucial. Subjectivity helps in building a connection between the reader and the character, making the story more compelling and realistic. By presenting events and interactions from a character’s subjective point of view, authors can create a strong emotional resonance, fostering empathy and a deeper engagement with the narrative.

How should I use Subjective literary device?

To effectively use the subjective literary device, follow these guidelines:

  1. Choose the Right Narrative Voice: The subjective device works best with first-person or close third-person narratives, where insights into a character’s thoughts and feelings can be naturally integrated.
  2. Emphasize Personal Bias: Highlight the character’s personal biases and perspectives to distinguish their voice from others and the overarching narrator. This adds depth and authenticity.
  3. Use Internal Monologues: Incorporate internal monologues to reveal the character’s personal reflections and emotional states. This technique allows readers to experience the character’s inner conflicts and joys firsthand.
  4. Focus on Perception: Detail how the character perceives events and other characters, which might differ from reality or other viewpoints. This contrast can enrich the narrative and lead to interesting plot developments.
  5. Maintain Consistency: Keep the subjective portrayal consistent throughout the story to avoid confusing the reader. Consistency in voice and perspective helps maintain immersion and believability.

By following these rules, you can master the use of subjectivity in your writing, enhancing both character development and reader engagement.

Types of Subjective

Subjective expression in literature can be categorized into several types, each providing a different level of insight into the character’s personal perspective and emotional state:

  1. Emotional Subjectivity: This type involves the portrayal of the character’s emotions, often intensified or distorted by personal feelings. It is used to show how emotions influence the character’s interpretation of events.
  2. Perceptual Subjectivity: Here, the focus is on the character’s sensory perceptions—what they see, hear, smell, touch, or taste. This type can be particularly effective in creating a vivid, immersive environment as experienced by the character.
  3. Intellectual Subjectivity: This involves the character’s thoughts, beliefs, and intellectual responses to situations. It often explores philosophical or moral dilemmas from the character’s personal viewpoint.
  4. Relational Subjectivity: This type centers on the character’s relationships with others, showing how these relationships affect their view of the world. It’s used to explore biases, prejudices, and interpersonal dynamics.

Each type serves to deepen the reader’s understanding of the character and enhances the emotional layers of the narrative.

Subjective in Literature

Subjective narration is a cornerstone of many great literary works. Here are some famous examples:

  1. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee: Through the eyes of Scout Finch, the narrative explores themes of racial injustice in the American South, shaped by her young, naive perspective.
  2. “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger: The story is told from Holden Caulfield’s first-person point of view, capturing his subjective experiences and thoughts, filled with cynicism and the struggle against growing up.
  3. “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf: This novel uses stream of consciousness to delve deeply into the subjective experiences of Clarissa Dalloway and other characters over the course of a single day in London.
  4. “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath: Esther Greenwood’s mental health struggles are intimately portrayed through her subjective experience, providing deep personal insights into her descent into depression.

Subjective in Children’s Books

Subjectivity is also effectively used in children’s literature to help young readers connect with characters. Here are notable examples:

  1. “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White: The thoughts and feelings of Wilbur the pig and his friends are shared with the reader, offering a touching, subjective view of friendship and life.
  2. “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” by Beatrix Potter: Peter’s misadventures are told through a close narrative focus on his feelings and thoughts as he navigates Mr. McGregor’s garden.
  3. “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery: Anne Shirley’s imaginative and often whimsical views paint her world with vivid subjectivity, deeply engaging the reader in her emotional life.

Subjective in Poetry

In poetry, subjectivity is used to convey personal emotions and perspectives. Some famous examples include:

  1. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot: This poem provides a deep dive into Prufrock’s psyche, revealing his fears and thoughts about society and his place within it.
  2. “Daddy” by Sylvia Plath: This poem uses a deeply personal narrative style to explore complex emotions surrounding her father and personal trauma.
  3. “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman: This extensive poem uses a first-person narrator to explore the self in an expansive and encompassing view of humanity and nature, showcasing Whitman’s personal perspective.

Each example uses subjective narration to enhance emotional depth and connection, drawing readers into the personal worlds of characters and poets alike.

Subjective in Songs

Subjectivity in songs allows artists to express personal experiences, emotions, and perspectives through lyrics and music. Here are 10 famous examples:

  1. “Imagine” by John Lennon: Lennon shares his personal vision for a peaceful world without boundaries.
  2. “Someone Like You” by Adele: Adele conveys deep personal heartbreak and longing as she addresses a past lover.
  3. “The Times They Are A-Changin’” by Bob Dylan: Dylan’s personal observations on social change and justice.
  4. “Firework” by Katy Perry: A motivational anthem that delves into feelings of self-worth and personal empowerment.
  5. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem: Eminem explores his personal struggles and the pressures of life and career.
  6. “Back to December” by Taylor Swift: Swift offers a personal apology, reflecting on her regrets in a past relationship.
  7. “Black” by Pearl Jam: The song expresses personal loss and longing, filled with emotional depth.
  8. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash: Cash delivers a powerful, introspective view on pain and regret.
  9. “In My Life” by The Beatles: John Lennon reflects on his memories and people who have influenced him.
  10. “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson: Jackson examines his personal reflection and the changes he wants to make.

Subjective in Movies

Subjectivity in movies is often used to draw viewers into the personal experiences and emotional states of characters. Here are some famous examples:

  1. “American Beauty” (1999): The film uses the subjective viewpoint of Lester Burnham to explore themes of personal dissatisfaction and existential crisis.
  2. “Fight Club” (1999): The subjective experiences of the unnamed protagonist delve into issues of identity and mental health.
  3. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004): The movie uses a subjective narrative to explore Joel’s memories and feelings about his relationship.
  4. “The Truman Show” (1998): Truman Burbank’s realization that his life is a television show unfolds through his increasingly paranoid perspective.
  5. “A Beautiful Mind” (2001): The film portrays the subjective experience of John Nash, who struggles with schizophrenia.
  6. “Memento” (2000): The narrative structure mirrors the protagonist’s memory loss, placing the audience within his confused and fragmented mind.
  7. “Taxi Driver” (1976): Travis Bickle’s descent into madness is portrayed through his subjective view of New York City’s nightlife.

Famous movie line highlighting Subjective

“You talking to me?” from Taxi Driver (1976). This line is delivered by Travis Bickle, played by Robert De Niro, in a scene where he confronts his reflection in a mirror, showcasing his deteriorating mental state and subjective reality.

YouTube link of any relevant movie clip demonstrating Subjective

“Inception” – Cobb’s Dream Space: This clip from Inception demonstrates the concept of subjective reality as Cobb navigates through his constructed dream worlds.

Watch Inception – Cobb’s Dream Space on YouTube

Subjective in Advertising

Subjectivity in advertising often focuses on the consumer’s personal feelings and experiences with a product. Here are some famous examples:

  1. Apple’s “Think Different” Campaign: The ads appealed to consumers’ desire to stand out and be unique.
  2. Nike’s “Just Do It” Campaign: Focused on personal empowerment and overcoming obstacles.
  3. Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” Campaign: Encouraged personal connections by personalizing bottles with names.
  4. Dove’s “Real Beauty” Campaign: Highlighted personal self-esteem issues and promoted body positivity.

Subjective related literary devices

There are several literary devices related to subjectivity that enhance narrative depth and emotional resonance:

  1. Stream of Consciousness: Mimics the continuous flow of a character’s thoughts and feelings.
  2. Unreliable Narrator: A narrator whose credibility is compromised, often through subjective interpretation of events.
  3. Interior Monologue: Provides a direct window into a character’s thoughts, often unspoken.
  4. Free Indirect Discourse: Blends third-person narration with the first-person thoughts and speech of characters.
  5. Selective Perception: Focuses on what a particular character notices or ignores in their environment.

These devices help writers create complex characters and narratives by delving deep into subjective experiences.