Tracking Point of View in Narrative
9407019 | cmp-lg
Third-person fictional narrative text is composed not only of passages that objectively narrate events, but also of passages that present characters' thoughts, perceptions, and inner states. Such passages take a character's ``psychological point of view''. A language understander must determine the current psychological point of view in order to distinguish the beliefs of the characters from the facts of the story, to correctly attribute beliefs and other attitudes to their sources, and to understand the discourse relations among sentences. Tracking the psychological point of view is not a trivial problem, because many sentences are not explicitly marked for point of view, and whether the point of view of a sentence is objective or that of a character (and if the latter, which character it is) often depends on the context in which the sentence appears. Tracking the psychological point of view is the problem addressed in this work. The approach is to seek, by extensive examinations of naturally-occurring narrative, regularities in the ways that authors manipulate point of view, and to develop an algorithm that tracks point of view on the basis of the regularities found. This paper presents this algorithm, gives demonstrations of an implemented system, and describes the results of some preliminary empirical studies, which lend support to the algorithm.