Is there a term in literary criticism for a character who espouses the points of view of the author? Especially, but not necessarily, if that character has no other role in the work. (This is different from a "Mary Sue".)


1 Answer 1


A mouthpiece is a person who speaks on behalf of another person, often used in a derogatory fashion. John Galt, for instance, who monologues on the subject at extreme length could be considered a mouthpiece for Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism.

There's also the possibly less apt raisonneur, which Lewis Turco defines as

a "chorus character," one who performs the function of a Greek chorus in that he or she comments on the action of play, sometimes speaking as a surrogate (stand-in, mouthpiece) for the author and acting like the omniscient or ironicalnarrator of a Victorian novel

which also gives surrogate and stand-in as alternatives.

  • While matching what I was looking very precisely, that seems to be an informal term, based on dictionary definition. Is there some sort of "official" literary criticism acknowledgement that this is indeed the standard term used for such characters?
    – DVK
    Mar 12, 2012 at 9:02
  • Added a link to the Google Books version of Lewis Turco's "The Book of Literary Terms". Mar 12, 2012 at 9:16
  • A similar term would be a didact, that is, a character whose views are intended to be didactic. John Galt is a perfect example of a didact. Jul 1, 2019 at 13:38

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