Thursday, January 3, 2019

Adam Johnson on the second person point of view

"The second person is out there at the end of the periodic table of point of view. It is mercurial, a complicated thing. Maddening when not used well. It is difficult because the second person personal is singular and plural, hence the need for 'ya’ll.' We also use it to form the imperative. A properly used second person can seem like you are being commanded to do something as a reader; people love that. What I think is the most interesting about the second person is that it is the pronoun with which most persons refer to themselves inside their own mind. It is something you would never let out. So while as the first person is an externalized, orchestrated voice with an inherent sense of audience to it, the second person is very personal, private, an unsentimental voice with which we speak only to ourselves."

- Adam Johnson in an interview with The Rumpus, 2015

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