|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
Ah, the life of a trope. One day you're just a recurring idea, flitting around in a writer's head, the next you've got your very own wiki page. I remember when I was just a YKTTW, an insignificant blue entry swimming with hundreds of others. Back then, I had fewer Wicks, a lot fewer examples, and my trope description looked like this:
This is a specific type of Framing Device, a first-person Narrator who is looking back on his experiences. Generally (not always), it's an adult looking back at his childhood. These stories are generally big on nostalgia, but they also attempt to capture the naïveté and confusion so prominent in childhood. Since it's the author looking back on things, we may get Unreliable Voiceovers or other inconsistencies, but we also tend to get a candid look at childhood-- including petty fights and foul mouths.
Can overlap with Narrator All Along when the narrator uses a third person limited viewpoint and switches to first person in the last reel.
When adding examples, be sure the narrator is evidently an older self looking back on the past; not all first-person stories qualify.
Anime & Manga
- Horribly subverted in Bokurano: The first narrator's word choices make it sound like he's talking about the distant past, but he's actually only narrating maybe two days back, and even less time until he abruptly dies.
- Stand by Me: The main events of the film are narrated by Gordie, who is writing a short story about the event in the Framing Device.
- A Christmas Story
- Little Manhattan plays with this, as it's about a 12-year-old boy's first love, as narrated by himself, looking back from the ripe old age of 13.
- Amadeus, recounted by a mad Salieri.
- Mad Max 2 (The Road Warrior): At the end we discover that the elderly narrator is actually the feral kid.
- The Dustin Hoffman flick Little Big Man.
- Woody Allen provides this kind of narration for Radio Days.
- Summer of '42
- The Sandlot
- James Joyce's short story "Araby"
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- The A.E. Housman poem "When I was one-and-twenty;" actually a subversion, as it's from the perspective of a 22-year-old looking back on when he was 21. (At least, that's the way that Tommy Makem recites it in the middle of a song, "The Sally Gardens," on Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy.)
- The Warhammer 40000-based Ciaphas Cain novels use his memoirs (complete with footnotes added by a member of the inquisition (and possibly lover).
- Kvothe in The Name of the Wind is unusually young to play this trope straight, but he's looking back on himself from when he was younger nevertheless.
Live Action TV
- The Wonder Years
- Everybody Hates Chris, narrated by comedian Chris Rock.
- How I Met Your Mother: The level of narration Older Ted provides varies from a (sometimes necessary) Mr. Exposition to a framing device to not even appearing.
- Once an Episode on My Name Is Earl, usually when Earl Hickey is describing something on The List.
- Young Indiana Jones originally did this, although the video release and DVDs got rid of it.
- The Winner, I think.
- The Waltons
- Frank Sinatra's "It Was a Very Good Year" sort of combines this with Age Progression Song. ("When I was seventeen...")
- An interesting video game example: The first Prince of Persia: Sands of Time uses this, the two others don't, though the third frames the whole trilogy by calling back to it.
- Slightly subverted in Okami. At first, it seems like a disembodied voice retelling the story. It turns out that Issun is really the narrator.
- In Age of Empires II, the Attila campaign is narrated by a monk who says "sometimes, I miss it", referring to his time being a Hun captive.
- "Let me tell you about the man I met when I was young."
- Both Icewind Dale games use this. The narrator in the first game turns out to be the Big Bad Belhifet stewing over the memory of his defeat and relishing the approaching end of his century long banishment. The narrator of the second is a little girl who accompanied the party for a while on their journey who is now an adult remembering their adventure as she sets out on her own journey.
- Gunnerkrigg Court has Antimony narrating the first few chapters; so far we cannot tell precisely how far in the future she is narrating from, but it's more than two years.
... boy, things sure have changed since then, huh?
- How I Killed Your Master-- shoot, it's right there in the name!
- You Damn Kid does this, sometimes comparing how different things were back then.
- A Modest Destiny kicks off with an elderly Maxim berating his grandkids, then starting to tell the story of the first time he saved the world. Every now and then, the comic cuts back to present day, such as to reveal which of his potential Love Interests he married.
- Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks
- Parodied in an episode of The Simpsons, complete with "Future" Bart's voice being provided by the narrator from The Wonder Years.