The power of narrative and the pleasures of interpretation

This page is still under construction. What follows are merely notes.

Case study 1: example based on Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style to show how different narrative techniques change what is ostensibly the same story.

Case study 2: Murder of Thomas Beckett. Shows the ideological nature of narrative. Also, how narrative shapes something that might be deemed objectively true – they to a degree create the events they represent (Kellner in Teaching Narrative Theory 91-2).

Case study 3: example of responses to Huckleberry Finn, showing how different people read stories differently – but in equally important ways – depending on their attention to language, how they read the ending (part of plot), manner in which they ‘read’ characters (is Huck overly influenced by Tom), tone (is it funny?) and so on.

Each of these case studies therefore makes a specific point about narrative – that it shapes and creates rather than reflects understandings and reality; that no narrative is entirely objective or objectively true; and that there are reasons why people can (rightly) interpret the same narrative and the same narrative elements differently.

This completes the Introduction to Narrative unit. You may either return to the front page of this narrative module or proceed to the next unit of this module: Elements of narrative.