narrative modes in The People of Paper

The multiple-character narrative mode is something that interested me most in Salvador Plascencia’s style of writing in this book. The story alternates between first and third person POVs. Many of the characters, such as Little Merced and characters that come encounter with Little Merced and Frederico de la Fe, such as the mechanic and Santos. However, Santos’ narrative perspective shifts from first to third later on– it is only in first-person when he is ¬†coming in contact with Little Merced and Frederico, when the story is still only about those two characters. Santos’ narrative perspective switched to third-person when he becomes part of the story, when the story broadens. So it would seem that Plascencia used the first-person POV when he wanted a character to act as a storyteller, but from a more personal POV, unlike a third-person omniscient narrator like the Baby Nostradamus has constantly and Saturn at times.

The narrative mode applied to Saturn’s character is complex as well, as it is sometimes a third-person omniscient POV and a first-person personal POV at other times when his character becomes a part of the story. Once Saturn becomes a part of the story and his narrative perspective changes to first-person, characters from Salvador Plascencia’s real life come into the story as well, like Ralph and Elisa Landin, to whom a third-person narrative is always applied. Even Liz comes into the story, and though it would sometimes seem that her character is given a first-person perspective through dialogue, her dialogue is always controlled by Saturn/Salvador, because her sides of conversations are really just pieces of S/S’s thought dialogue. So in other words, anytime Liz is speaking, her words are just S/S’s thoughts. The fact that these conversations are thought dialogue and not really happening is obvious because of the way that nothing is in quotations.


I will be writing more on the narrative style in The People of Paper and other postmodern/magical realist works in my final paper.