NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)
Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!
Friday, February 27, 2009
Class Notes: Introduction To Narrative
It looks like people want to read the composition assignments when I get to them, so post them I will! I'm excited people are interested, but it also makes me nervous. What if you hate them? It will be good to conquer that fear, right? Thanks in advance for helping. :-) I don't know when I will get to the first one, but when I do I will name the posts in a manner that readers will be able to tell what it is. Most likely something clever like "Composition". (I crack me up!)
This, however, is the first "Class Notes" post in which I will share all the fun things I learn while I read my textbooks. I've only taken two college literature classes in my life and those were many years ago. Much of what I'm reading in these texts are things I either never knew or never really thought about. I'm surprised I'm not keeping people awake with all the light bulbs going off over my head!
The chapter I read last night was "Narrative and Life" from The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative. In the book, "Narrative" is defined as "the principal way in which our species organizes its understanding of time." (p. 3) "Narrative time" differs from "clock time" in that clock time relates only to itself and is marked off in regular intervals, be it seconds, hours, days, moons or seasons, etc. Narrative time relates to events or incidents and is not necessarily any time at all.
Those definitions got me thinking about Anne Rice. I get lost in her writing sometimes because she'll spend five pages during which time someone will have walked a city block, then two sentences later a year has passed. That's not a complaint about Anne Rice. It's just an example of the fluidity of narrative time in the hands of an author and the power to mold time to his or her desires. Very cool!
The other interesting bit I had never considered before was how we tend to look for narrative in nearly everything in our lives, consciously or unconsciously. We see a sneaker laying in the middle of the road and wonder how it got there. We look at a painting or a photograph and we create narratives to explain what we're looking at. The more difficult it is for our minds to explain, the more impact the image tends to have. I especially liked one of the examples he used. This is "Dr. Syn" by Andrew Wyeth:
I'll bet some interesting narratives popped into your head to explain that one! What are some of the things you see that you find yourself creating stories around?
While you consider that, I'm going back to my texts to find more light bulb moments. See you tomorrow for more Class Notes!