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!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Class Notes: Introduction To Narrative

Chapter 8: Three Ways To Interpret Narrative

"To tell a story is to try to understand it." The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative, p. 109.

Author H. Porter Abbott states that there are many ways to interpret narrative, but most of them stem from "one of three fundamentally distinct approaches." (p. 100) They are:

Intentional Reading: The ideas and judgments that we infer from the narrative are understood to be in keeping with a sensibility that intended these effects. For example, the interpretation is drawn from the views of the "implied author", who is not be assumed to be the actual author of the work.

Symptomatic Reading: Interpreting a text as symptomatic of the author's unconscious or unacknowledged state of mind, or of unacknowledged cultural conditions. Deconstructionism is an example of this method.

Adaptive Reading: Adaptive readings range from interpretations freed from concerns for overreading or underreading to fresh adaptations of the story either in the same medium or in a different one, such as film adaptions of a novel. The latter example then leads us to a new version of a previously posed question: At what point does an interpretation cease being an "adaptation" and become an altogether different story?

I have to tell you, I'm really glad I won't be tested on all of this later. I get to enjoy rhetorical questions and let them hang around the periphery of my brain while I read, occasionally conjuring up other rhetorical questions such as: Is Chuck Palahniuk himself a distraught libertine (symptomatic) or is it just his implied authors (intentional)?


Jane said...

Ha! I love the Chuch Palauniuk as distraught libertine! I remember my upper reading courses having to do the symptomatic reading approach. It's exhausting!

Lezlie said...

Jaimie ~ That one seems like making things up. :-) It would be kind of fun, though, to see what parallels could be drawn when one does some reseach on the author and the culture.


Gilion at Rose City Reader said...

My! Your post makes my head swim. But I'm already running through possibilities as I consider the book I am reading now -- Ian McEwan's Saturday.

Lezlie said...

Rose City Reader ~ This chapter was a lot to take in. I have not read any McEwan yet, but I plan to change that soon. He seems like a good one to subject to some of these ideas!