I experience a certain amount of terror in approaching the subject of point of view because it’s a topic I find sometimes confusing and obscure. I know for a fact that, as a reader, I’m very conscious of shifting points of view that are not well-defined by the writer.
Your choice of point of view plays an important role in characterization. When I first began to write “Winter is Past” I chose first person point of view. One person doing a critique told me that agents want third person, so I dutifully (and foolishly) embarked upon the tedious task of rewriting the entire manuscript. In the process, I lost all emotional connection with my protagonist. Some of my early rejections were based on exactly that reason. Finally, after all but abandoning the novel, I put it back into first person and, able to climb into Claire’s mind, enabled the reader to get to know her again.
In both my novels I’ve written from the point of view of three different characters. To do this successfully, I believe there needs to be a definitive shift between characters such as spaces or chapter changes. To me there is nothing more muddling than scrambling around in more than one person’s head in just one or two paragraphs, and it happens.
A good reference when you are considering point of view choices for a novel or short story is James Frey’s book, “How to Write a Damn Good Novel.” He clarifies the various options available to you.