Introduction to culture and literature - 5



Stories, narratives are everywhere in our lives; they exist in all kinds of media, produce various types of representations (fairy tales, films, cartoons, history books and novels are all narrative representations) As Introduction to culture and literature - 5 Alasdair McIntyre, contemporary British philosopher put is:

“Man is in his actions and practice, as well as in his fictions, essentially a story-telling animal”

Another view from Terry Pratchett, author of the Introduction to culture and literature - 5 Discworld novels:

“Stories, great, flapping ribbons of shaped space-time, have been blowing and uncoiling around the universe since the beginning of time. And they have evolved. The weakest have died and the strongest Introduction to culture and literature - 5 have survived and they have grown fat on the retelling. Stories don’t care who takes part in them. All that matters is that the story gets told, that Introduction to culture and literature - 5 the story repeats. Or, if you prefer, stories are a parasitical life form, warping lives in the service of only the story itself. Servant girls have to marry the prince. That’s what life is Introduction to culture and literature - 5 all about. You can’t fight a Happy Ending.”

Here is a very basic definition of narrative

Narrative: “a verbal (?) act consisting of someone telling someone else that something Introduction to culture and literature - 5 happened” (Barbara Herrnstein Smith); the only problem with this definition is that it links narrative exclusively to language (calling it a verbal act), and thus ignores visual narratives (for instance, the story of Christ Introduction to culture and literature - 5 or St. Catherine as depicted on a stained glass window is also obviously a narrative: it tells a story). Nevertheless, in what follows we shall be concerned with narrative mainly Introduction to culture and literature - 5 as a verbal phenomenon.

Narratives have two basic aspects: the story (the material, the “stuff” of the narrative, the “what happens”) and the telling: the way the narrative is actually put together, constructed and Introduction to culture and literature - 5 told.

^ Properties of Narrative (epikus alaptényezők)
plot; character; setting; point of view, voice (narrator)

Plot, character and setting more or less – but only more or less – seem to belong to “story Introduction to culture and literature - 5” aspect of narratives, whereas point of view and voice belong to the “telling” aspect.


^ *PLOT, ACTION, TELEOLOGY


Here is a very simple, or rather, primitive plot.

“There was an old man

And Introduction to culture and literature - 5 he had a calf

And that’s half

He took him out of the stall

And put him on the wall

And that’s all”


This is an “empty”, nonsense plot (“cselekmény Introduction to culture and literature - 5”); it offers the mechanism of plot without making sense, with zero content (the events, the building blocks of the plot, are nonsensical, yet there is a sense of plotting: a sequence Introduction to culture and literature - 5 of events arranged). The sense of there being a plot is reinforced by the fact that one-third of the text (lines three and six) are self-reflexive, they comment on the progress of the Introduction to culture and literature - 5 plot.

The little rhyme above demonstrates our ability to make plots out of nothing: as psychological experiments have shown, we are inclined to think of any kind of movement, activity or Introduction to culture and literature - 5 change in terms of a plot: when people see triangles, circles and other geometrical figures moving around, they will describe the movement in terms of mini-plots (the triangle is following the Introduction to culture and literature - 5 circle, etc.)

What a plot is can be best explained if we compare it to simple action.

Action is simply the sequence of events as they come one after the other

Plot Introduction to culture and literature - 5 means the events arranged in a certain purposeful way. This follows Aristotle’s famous definition: “Plot (mythos) is action (praxis) arranged artistically.”

The English novelist E. M. Forster’s example Introduction to culture and literature - 5 serves to explain the difference between action and plot.

action: “the king died and then the queen died” – this is simply a sequence to two events placed one after another, connected with the Introduction to culture and literature - 5 neutral word “then”.

plot: “the king died and then the queen died of grief” – this is already a mini-plot: in this sequence, there is a causal connection between the two Introduction to culture and literature - 5 events: action 1 causes action 2. Causality (cause and effect relationship) is thus crucial in plots.

(an English critic, Lennard Davis, added a further twist to this sequence: “the king died, and then the queen dies of Introduction to culture and literature - 5 grief. But as it turned out, the bishop killed them both” – this is already a fairly complex plot that involves a peripeteia see below as a separate item.

Causality, however, is not Introduction to culture and literature - 5 all there is to plots. Something else is also necessary: plots must also be going, moving towards their conclusion.

The useful definition of ^ Peter Brooks indicates what this “something else” is Introduction to culture and literature - 5: “Plot is the design and intention of narrative, what shapes a story and gives it a certain direction or intent of meaning.”

Brooks uses the words “design” and “intention”, which is crucial. Events Introduction to culture and literature - 5 are not simply caused one by another, they also have a general and overarching logic, which connects not only the events that immediately follow each other, but all the Introduction to culture and literature - 5 elements in a plot. Think of the two other meanings of the English word plot. It means a “plot of land”, which indicates that we can imagine plots in space, as a diagram or a Introduction to culture and literature - 5 shape which indicates the overarching logic. This indicates that plot has a spatial form. The second meaning of the word “plot” is “conspiracy” (as in the Gunpowder plot). This is extremely useful Introduction to culture and literature - 5, for it reminds us that in a plot, as in a conspiracy, every single act has a meaning that is more important than itself: it is part of a general design intention Introduction to culture and literature - 5, purpose (in a conspiracy, every event serves a larger purpose, even – and this is important – this purpose is hidden when we witness that particular action: its meaning in the plot Introduction to culture and literature - 5 will only be revealed later. (It is important that the French for “plot” is “intrigue”, that is, összeesküvés, intrika”). What all this makes us see is that plot are not only Introduction to culture and literature - 5 characterised by causality, but also by teleology.

Teleology (teleologikusság, célelvűség, célképzetesség; see also handout) means “having a final aim or objective”, the sense that every Introduction to culture and literature - 5 element (of a narrative, for instance) is moving towards this final aim and that every element makes final sense in the light of this objective. This final objective or aim towards Introduction to culture and literature - 5 which everything is leading is called a telos (“télosz”). The Bible, for instance, is a narrative that is teleological, starting with Creation and ending with the Apocalypse and then the Kingdom Introduction to culture and literature - 5 of Heaven (which is its telos); every little detail of the Bible gains its final meaning only in the light of the telos. European culture tends to be teleological in nature: the stories (private Introduction to culture and literature - 5 and public) that we tell, from fairy tales through love stories to political plans, are mostly teleological.

This, plots are plots because, in them, everything is moving towards the Introduction to culture and literature - 5 final goal/objective (telos), every detail gets its significance in view of the final goal.


^ *ELEMENTS OF PLOT STRUCTURE


Exposition: providing the background information (its opposite is beginning in medias res)

Conflict: not Introduction to culture and literature - 5 a particular moment or episode in the narrative/drama, but the fact that there are opposing forces in it. The conflict is the generating force of the narrative/drama, that which produces a story Introduction to culture and literature - 5. The conflict can be external (between individuals and groups, or between the individual and society Julien Sorel and the unheroic world around him and internal conflict.

^ Crisis: the moment Introduction to culture and literature - 5/period when the conflicting forces are activated

Climax: the moment of highest intensity

Anticlimax: this is not a necessary property of the plot. It occurs when we expect a climactic moment, suspense Introduction to culture and literature - 5 is generated, but instead of the climax we have something trivial, a non-event (e.g. when someone holds someone else at gunpoint and we expect the gun to go off every Introduction to culture and literature - 5 minute, and in the end there is only a click and the gun does not work, or there is no bullet in it, etc.)

Resolution (Dénouement) of the conflict: when the conflict is solved Introduction to culture and literature - 5, tension falls


^ In medias res: beginning in the middle of the action, and providing the necessary information later in the narrative

Foreshadowing: referring to the future in a narrative; anything might be Introduction to culture and literature - 5 a foreshadowing (for instance, as Chekhov famously said, if there is a “the gun on the wall” during the play, it will go off sooner or later). Here is an example Introduction to culture and literature - 5 of a particularly effective foreshadowing:

“On the day he was killed, Santiago Nasar got up at half past 5 in the morning in order to see the arrival of the bishop’s boat” (Gabriel Introduction to culture and literature - 5 García Márquez: ^ Chronicle of a Death Foretold); Because the death is foretold, we read every sentence of the narrative as stages of a journey leading to the protagonist’s death Introduction to culture and literature - 5 (cf. the opening sequence of American Beauty)

Flashback: referring to the past in a narrative

Suspense: creating a sense of mystery, a missing piece of information, a secret in a character’s Introduction to culture and literature - 5 past, increasing the tension in the reader/viewer, for instance by indicating that something terrible will happen but in an ambiguous way, not letting us know precisely what will happen. Some types Introduction to culture and literature - 5 of narrative are dominated by suspense (detective stories, thrillers).

Delay: the devices the narrative uses in order to put off the ending, to keep our interest alive (e.g. inserting sub-plots Introduction to culture and literature - 5, talking about minor characters, offering descriptions etc). In detective stories, the most frequent strategies of delay are offering false clues.


Teleology (teleologikusság, célelvűség, célképzetess Introduction to culture and literature - 5ég; see also handout) means “having a final aim or objective”, the sense that every element (of a narrative, for instance) is moving towards this final aim and that every element makes final sense Introduction to culture and literature - 5 in the light of this objective. This final objective or aim towards which everything is leading is called a telos (“télosz”). The Bible, for instance, is a narrative Introduction to culture and literature - 5 that is teleological, starting with Creation and ending with the Apocalypse and then the Kingdom of Heaven (which is its telos); every little detail of the Bible gains its final meaning only in the light Introduction to culture and literature - 5 of the telos. European culture tends to be teleological in nature: the stories (private and public) that we tell, from fairy tales through love stories to political plans, are mostly teleological.

This Introduction to culture and literature - 5, plots are plots because, in them, everything is moving towards the final goal/objective (telos), every detail gets its significance in view of the final goal.


*PERIPETEIA

Peripeteia (reversal Introduction to culture and literature - 5): Aristotle’s term: Peripeteia is a basic element of plots. It means a turning upside down, a basic turning point in the narrative/drama. It is important to note that the reversal is not itself Introduction to culture and literature - 5 an event: it means the reversal of our perspective upon the action. The best example is that of the story of King Oedipus: for a long time, he is Introduction to culture and literature - 5 in charge of the investigation after King Laius, unaware of the fact that the King was his own father and that in fact he is investigating after himself. The reversal is the Introduction to culture and literature - 5 moment when he realises that he has been investigating after himself, that he is detective and murderer in one person. No new event has occurred, nobody has been killed etc. The peripeteia Introduction to culture and literature - 5 is simply that all of a sudden everything turns upside down, what we thought was white turns out to be black, and vice versa. We have to reinterpret the whole story in Introduction to culture and literature - 5 light of the new knowledge, from the new perspective. Peripeteia is obviously crucial in detective stories; in Agatha Christie’s novels there are usually several such reversals: each time we are certain about Introduction to culture and literature - 5 the guilt of one character, but suddenly everything is put in a new perspective and our opinion changes. A good example is provided by the film The Sixth Sense: it is only at Introduction to culture and literature - 5 the end of the film that the psychiatrist protagonist Dr. Malcolm Crow (Bruce Willis) realises  together with the spectators  that he has been dead for a year. Thus, although there is no Introduction to culture and literature - 5 new turn in the plot, our perspective immediately changes, and we see the whole film from an entirely different perspective, understanding certain little details that have so far been incomprehensible (for instance, why Introduction to culture and literature - 5 Bruce Willis was ignored by many characters, including his ex-wife). Another well-known example is the film A Beautiful Mind (Egy csodálatos elme), based on the life of Introduction to culture and literature - 5 the Nobel-prize winning mathematician John Nash: about halfway through the film it turns out that three of the main characters of the film (including a CIA agent, a university friend Introduction to culture and literature - 5 and his niece) are the products of Nash’s schizophrenic mind. Thus, since the camera does not distinguish between “real” characters and “imaginary” characters, the viewers of the film are forced to switch their minds Introduction to culture and literature - 5 and revaluate everything they have seen so far.


Narrative framing (embedding): when a story is embedded in another story

^ *KINDS OF NARRATIVE FRAMING

1. Chinese box structure (like Russian dolls or cornflakes Introduction to culture and literature - 5 boxes representing cornflakes boxes): a story embedded in a larger story which is embedded in yet another sory, etc. e.g Wuthering Heights. There are as many narrative levels (reality Introduction to culture and literature - 5 levels) as stories/embeddings. In metafictional stories, sometimes characters or things from one level appear on another level, creating a very disturbing effect (metalepsis, see lecture handout for examples).

2. Decameron type: in such Introduction to culture and literature - 5 framed narratives, there is one basic situation: several characters have to spend some time together, and the characters tell tales (Canterbury Tales, Decameron). For instance, in Boccaccio’s Decameron, it is the Introduction to culture and literature - 5 plague that forces the characters to stay in and they pass the time by telling stories. There are two narrative levels: that of the primary narrative and that of all the inserted tales. The Introduction to culture and literature - 5 primary narrative level is not important, there is no real story going on and no protagonist, it is only a frame, providing an opportunity for all the stories to be told Introduction to culture and literature - 5.

3. Intercalated tales (e.g. Don Quijote): there is the primary story going on with a protagonist etc., but occasionally it is interrupted by inserted tales. For instance, the protagonist meets characters during his Introduction to culture and literature - 5 travels and they tell their stories within the main story. Frequent in picaresque stories.
  • oldrussian.ru/oak-elf-camp-copyright-matters.html
  • oldrussian.ru/chto-takoe-polnocennaya-pisha-zhizn-po-pravilam-zdorovya-razdelnoe-pitanie-osnova-dolgoletiya.html
  • oldrussian.ru/endoscopy-2005-jul377613-6-if-2-rigante-d-gasbarrini-a-presso-il-centro-ricerche-sulla-nutrizione.html
  • oldrussian.ru/sudov-ta-pravoohoronn-organi-ukrani-yuzkova-stornka-12.html
  • oldrussian.ru/1252-vg-maymulov-2009-herald-of-the-mechnikov-saint-petersburg-state-medical-academy.html
  • oldrussian.ru/hotep-sn-a-hall-utni-bkessg-istene-bt-isten-hotepheresz-s-szeretnd-hogy-tovbbra-is-bvljn-krlek-tmogasd-munkm.html
  • oldrussian.ru/metodichn-vkazvki-do-vikonannya-kursovih-robt-z-predmeta.html
  • oldrussian.ru/301-the-iep-and-evaluationre-evaluation-of-gt-students-1.html
  • oldrussian.ru/building-a-school-culture-of-high-standards-2.html
  • oldrussian.ru/prirodoznavstvo-pedagogchna-bblografya.html
  • oldrussian.ru/return-of-the-town-of-gloucester-the-salem-witchcraft-papers-volume-3-verbatim-transcripts-of-the-legal-documents.html
  • oldrussian.ru/67-istoriya-gruzii.html
  • oldrussian.ru/urok24-hacer-unos-recados-ispanskij-za-30-dnej.html
  • oldrussian.ru/metodichn-rekomendac-shodo-mozhlivogo-ushlnennya-ta-samostjnogo-vivchennya-zmstu-programnogo-materalu-v-zagalnoosvtnh-navchalnih-zakladah-z-navchalnih-predmetv-ta-osvtnh-galuzej.html
  • oldrussian.ru/mnsterstvo-osvti-nauki-ukrani-naconalnij-avacjnij-unversitet-stornka-3.html
  • oldrussian.ru/3-grecheskaya-civilizaciya-t3-ot-evripida-do-aleksandrii.html
  • oldrussian.ru/krest-viseliceobraznij-istoriya-razvitiya-formi-kresta-kratkij-kurs-pravoslavnoj-stavrografii.html
  • oldrussian.ru/metodichnoyu-radoyu-chdtu-protokol-9-vd-17-05-2010-cherkasi-2010.html
  • oldrussian.ru/3-how-to-improvise-part-one-do-something-1-what-is-improvisation-4.html
  • oldrussian.ru/i-was-just-sitting-there-relaxing-enjoying-the-sun-and-warming-up-my-metabolism-when-suddenly-i-got-one-of-those-really-weird-out-of-body-experiences-i-sa.html