The point of valuing and judging

  • The point of this lesson has been that we use evaluation and judgment to make sense of the world.
  • We us it to rank, order, assess, and categorise things, and to work out what we want more and less of.
  • This is as true in stories as it is in life.
  • At some point we usually need someone in a story—either a character or narrator—to tell us what is good or bad.

Whether in first or third person point of view, we can:

  • Say if something is good or bad, a triumph or a tragedy, using adjectives and noun groups.
  • Describe underlying values that inform why we value something one way or another.
  • Put things into categories based on our evaluation.
  • Describe things with metaphors that imply value and judgment.
  • Connect events to emotional reactions.

In third person point of view, the narrator is different to the point of view character, which means we can get a second opinion on everything:

  • The narrator can describe what the character thinks about something.
  • But the narrator can also say what they think.
  • The narrator's opinion is often invisible, but it can become more obvious when the narrator's opinion contrasts with the character's opinion.
  • The narrator can also choose to 'pop out' and address the audience directly.

Stories are often about the way characters adapt and learn from challenges.

One way we can see characters change is when their values or opinions evolve from the beginning to the end of the story.

Some narrators can't be trusted.

Usually it's the first person narrators you have to watch out for—they see things in a way that suits them, and there is no other narrator to fact check.

Third person narrators aren't as shifty, but they can sometimes hide information from the audience for the sake of a twist or surprise.

We used a range of terms in this lesson, some of which are interchangeable and some which are distinct.

What you think about something can be called:

  • Judgment
  • Opinion
  • Evaluation

The process of deciding what you think can be called:

  • Valuing
  • Judging
  • Classifying
  • Categorising
  • Evaluating

What decides your judgment can be called:

  • Values
  • Knowledge
  • Beliefs