Perspective Series: #10 Defamiliarization

Perspective Series: #10 Defamiliarization

In the Perspective Series, we saw different narrative techniques that show how a narrator can tell a story from several perspectives and different points of view. What we will discuss in this article is another Perspective that is the Defamiliarization, a concept that comes from Russian literature.

What is the Perspective of the Defamiliarization?

Defamiliarisation, or alienation, is a new perspective to view something in a different new way. In this way, this technique changes the everyday perception of that particular object.

By the early 20th-century, the Russian literary critic Viktor Shklovsky in his ‘Art as Technique’, coined this term.

To fully understand Defamiliarization, we have to understand that notion from a Russian point of view. For Russian formalists, literary language is essentially different from any other language because, unlike the latter, it has no practical function.

Literature is a language that simply serves to make us see things through different eyes. Moreover, it succeeds in doing so thanks to precise stylistic and structural techniques.

The Russian writer explains, in fact, how Defamiliarization uses language in such a way that ordinary and familiar objects appear different from what they actually are.
When using this perspective, Literary language is a distorted and alienated everyday language.

Why is the Defamiliarization important?

According to Shklovsky, using this perspective and a different language allows for a new and fresh description of the same object. It leads the reader to be surprised by something that he now considers to be habitual. Moreover, the reader can think about this new reality.

If a story simply talks about hills, this image will not materialize in the reader’s mind.
However, the hills acquire a new image by adding details and changing perspective.
They become green, sinuous hills, from which a farmhouse can be reached by a dirt road. Can you see them now in your mind?

Perspectives like Defamiliarization through bibisco

Bibisco aims to help you write a novel that represents you. It allows you to gain an appealing style without losing sight of your writing style.
bibisco is an innovative novel writing software that helps you set up your story, creating the characters, plot, and events. After that, you can focus on the narrative techniques and different perspectives you can use to make your story unique.

Perspective Series- Defamiliarization- bibisco's characters' section - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
Character’s events section


Defamiliarization is a concept that comes from Russian literature. In particular, according to Russian writers, people tend to become accustomed to images of everyday objects. Therefore, they store them as habitual. Defamiliarisation allows the reader to see the same objects from a new perspective and be amazed again.

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