Under the character voice is the unreliable narrative voice which involves the use of a non-credible or untrustworthy narrator. This mode may be employed to give the audience a deliberate sense of disbelief in the story or a level of suspicion or mystery as to what information is meant to be true and what is false. This unreliability is often developed by the author to demonstrate that the narrator is psychologically unstable. The narrator of Poe's Tell-Tale Heart, for example, has an enormous bias, is unknowledgeable, ignorant or childish, or is perhaps purposefully trying to deceive the audience. Unreliable narrators are usually first-person narrators. However, when a third-person narrator is considered unreliable for any reason, his or her viewpoint may be termed "third-person, subjective."
Examples include Nelly Dean in Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, "Chief" Bromden in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, Holden Caulfield in the novel The Catcher In The Rye, Dr. James Sheppard in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie, Stark in Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith, and both John Shade and Charles Kinbote in the novel Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov.
A naive narrator is one who is so ignorant and inexperienced that he/she actually exposes the faults and issues of his/her world. It is used particularly in satire, in situations where the user can draw more inferences about the narrator's environment than the narrator. Child narrators can also fall under this category.
Famous quotes containing the words voice and/or unreliable:
“For, surely, surely, where
Your voice and graces are,
Nothing of death can any feel or know.”
—Walter Savage Landor (17751864)
“Nothing is more unreliable than the populace, nothing more obscure than human intentions, nothing more deceptive than the whole electoral system.”
—Marcus Tullius Cicero (10643 B.C.)