In autobiographical literature, the second person is rarely employed. Second-person narration (typically mixed with present tense) places the reader squarely in the shoes of the protagonist, which may be an exciting approach in fiction but is difficult to carry off until (and even if) your story is written as a novel. First person is the normal narrative voice and leaves no room for interpretation.
The only exception to this rule would be if the author wanted to tell the entire story through the eyes of someone else. For example, Henry James's preface to his own book describes some aspects of his life but not others, especially the sexual side. In this case, the first person would have left no room for interpretation because everything described was factual information from Henry's perspective as an observer rather than a participant.
First person is often inappropriate for autobiography because it implies that the writer had access to all aspects of their own lives which most people don't have knowledge of. The reader must therefore make assumptions about what happened during those missing years or whatever other periods are not mentioned by the author.
For example, if the author never mentions any relationships apart from their marriage then we can assume there were no other marriages or partnerships during their lifetimes. If they never discuss their jobs or travels or any other aspect of their lives we have no way of knowing anything about them.
Second-person narration is uncommon in literary literature. The majority of novels are written in one of two styles: first person, in which a narrator narrates their tale ("I raced approaching the gate.") or third person, in which the author tells a story about a character ("He woke up that morning."). Second person narrative is used by authors when they want to address a single reader directly (for example when sending a private message on Facebook), or when they want to mimic the voice and attitude of a real-life friend.
There are several reasons why second person narration is less common in literature than first or third person. One reason is that it can be difficult to maintain interest in the story if the narrator is not interesting or compelling. Another reason is that many readers find it distracting to read about someone else's experience - we want to imagine ourselves in the protagonist's place, not theirs. However, some writers use this technique to great effect; examples include Jane Austen with her letters and Elizabeth Gaskell with her memoirs.
Second person narration is more commonly found in genres such as fantasy, horror, and science fiction where it can be used to create the feeling of being immersed in the world of the story. For example, in Stephen King's novel It, the main character, Bill Davenport, has a habit of speaking directly to the reader at key moments throughout the story.
Second-person writing also makes a writer less likely to waffle on about backstory or use superfluous flashbacks. Something about writing as though you're talking to the reader prevents that from happening, since if you were writing about the reader, the reader would already be aware of the history.
Third-person writing allows the writer to focus on the story at hand without being distracted by such things, which can be good or bad depending on how they affect the narrative.
The second-person point of view is a style of writing in which the observer or reader is addressed directly and generally becomes a character in the story. Because it may be difficult to accomplish well, writers seldom utilize the second-person point of view, especially in lengthier literature. However today many new forms of second-person storytelling have emerged including video games, social media posts, and blogs.
Second person narratives are often characterized by the use of the verb "you" when referring to the reader/audience. For example, a writer might say "You should go look over there," or "You can come up here." These types of sentences create a more direct connection with the reader and can be effective tools for persuasion or informing.
Writers also may use the first-person pronoun "I" to address a specific character within the story. For example, "I went to see a movie yesterday" or "He is a kind boy." Use of the first-person pronoun without any other descriptors such as "he" or "she" is common when reporting events that include more than one character. For example, "We went to the store, but I forgot my wallet so we had to leave."
Finally, writers may use the third-person limited perspective to describe scenes or events.
Most current novels are written in the first or third person, although several notable writers (including Junot Diaz and Lorrie Moore) have produced short stories in the second person. The term "second person" refers to the fact that the narrator of the story is describing his or her own experience.
The modern novel is a product of the Industrial Revolution. It can be traced back to the work of French novelist Denis Diderot (1713-1784), who published Salons, a series of discussions on various subjects with friends and colleagues. The salons were very popular at the time because they gave ordinary people a chance to express their opinions about politics and society while being entertained and educated along the way. A key feature of the salon culture was that everyone had an opportunity to speak without restriction, which means we get to hear from some really interesting people over the years.
In addition to Salons, Diderot is known for coining the word "novel" when he discussed certain books with Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). According to Diderot, these books involved "imagination and invention." Before this time, most literature was composed of poems or plays, so it's possible Diderot used this term broadly, but it most likely referred to novels in the modern sense.
The reader is drawn into the action through the use of the second person. Second person, especially if written in the present tense, allows the reader to experience the tale as if it were their own. Using the pronoun "you" and describing action as it occurs creates a personal sense of urgency that propels the story—and the reader—forward. The second person also gives an impression of intimacy with the reader, as if they were friends or colleagues rather than complete strangers.
First person is equivalent to "I" in the second person. First-person narratives are told from the point of view of one character and often show how that character experiences events instead of telling them as they happen. For example, a first-person narrative about a love affair would describe what happened between the two characters instead of just reporting that "John and Jane had a fling." First person is often used by writers who want to convey a particular feeling or attitude. For example, a first-person narrative narrated by someone suffering from depression might use words like "I didn't feel like going out tonight" or "I felt like crying during lunch break."
Third person is described as being "about" someone or something. In third person, part of the story is seen from the point of view of someone other than the main character. For example, a story about John would be told from the perspective of someone else (perhaps Jane).