Occasionally I have read stories where the third person Omniscient/Limited POV Narrator will describe a scene and feelings from a characters POV, but sometimes it seems like the narrator is presuming something about the character or directly inserting their own commentary. It still relates to the characters or the setting but it's not directly inside the characters mind.

Example: JC had it all; fat stacks, a nice ride, a house with view. Everything was as it should be, or was it?

So as the narrator if I write, "or was it?" it merely suggests JC may be having doubts but it's not directly saying he is. In that sense it's the narrators asking the question or posing the question to the reader without breaking the fourth wall.

I have also read some books where narrator inserts an opinion or commentary about the setting.

Example: It was a beautiful home, if one were so inclined to call a dumpster with a lid, home.

In that example,the narrator may or may not be describing the feelings of any particular character but is adding their own perspective to embellish the story. I especially notice this with British humor, such as in Terry Pratchet novels, or "Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy", wherein the narrator will even set aside the main story for time and go off on a tangent.

Is there an actual term for this kind of stylistic choice?

1 Answer 1


It's a subtle form of the literary device called 'authorial intrusion,' in which the author 'intrudes' on the story and draws attention to him- or herself. For instance, to provide an opinion.

The device has broader reach than sharing opinions. If an author takes time in between chapters to explain in textbook fashion the migratory patterns of whales, that, too, would be authorial intrusion.

  • I see online of authorial intrusion, directly speak to the reader. What I'm referring to isn't specifically acknowledging the reader but it might still be a form of that. Thanks for that.
    – Perry_M
    Aug 27, 2020 at 22:05

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