A. Questions regarding narrative situation
- What is the text’s major narrative situation? Or does it use several narrative situations? If so, what is the pattern or strategy behind the juxtaposition of several narrative situations?
- Does the text stand in the tradition of certain other texts? Or does it deviate in certain respects from the stylistic norm, perhaps to the extent that it originates a new pattern?
B. Questions focusing on the narrator
- Who does the author choose for a speaker? Does s/he have a name and/or a distinctiv voice? Is the narrator overt or covert or somewhere in between? Is the voice quality different in specific location such as (chapter) beginnings and endings?
- Does the narrator make any assumptions about actual or potential addressees? Is there a clear-cut narrator-audience contract? Is the extent of the narrator’s (human) limitation or omniscience ever discussed or problematized?
- Is the narrator largely reliable or does s/he deceive him- or herself or others? Does his or her unreliability concern value judgments or facts?
- If the text were ‘transvocalized’, i.e., narrated by another narrator and in a different narrative situation, which effects would be gained, which lost? (See Stanzel 1984: ch. 3.1 for examples, including the beginning of The Catcher in the Rye.)
C. Questions regarding focalization
- Does the narrator use one or many story-internal focalizers? If the latter, to establish which point? In first-person narration, to what extent is the experiencing I used as an internal focalizer?
- How accurate are the perceptions and thoughts of the focalizers, and to what extent are they fallible filters (Chatman)? Does the narrator ever comment on the focalizer’s perception from a superordinate perspective?
- If there are several focalizers (multiperspectival narration), do their various perceptions contradict or corroborate those of other focalizers?
- Is the general attitude of the narrator one of sympathy/empathy towards his or her focalizer? Are the focalizer’s perceptions and thoughts reported consonantly or dissonantly (ironically)?