Posted by La Dem on October 28, 1997 at 08:34:36:
In response to Anonymous Advice to Writers, written by Karen R on October 27, 1997 at 16:38:54
Maybe I'm just a shallower reader than some, but I NEED a beginning, middle and end.
Isn't this the essence of storytelling? Deconstruct away, academics, but it is human nature to want beginnings, middles and ends, even if they are slightly out of order.
I'm not sure who said this, but as advice to a new writer: "Begin at the beginning, and when you get to the end, stop!"
That pretty much says it all.
Now to challenge the prevailing views (playing devil's advocate, perhaps). Maybe Byatt has started at the beginning of her real story...the one about Roland's quest, his discoveries about himself and what he should be. The real story of how he finds true love (sorry about the trite expression) and how that love will lead him out of the apathetic life he has been living. Going back and forth with the lives of Christabel and Ash has purpose, but maybe we are seeing it in the correct order.
I agree with Karen. I think the stories parallel for a particular reason. There is a lot of meaning and symbolism in it. And, if we look closely, I am sure we would see the subtle relations and contrasts (time for me to re-read the book ;-) ).
The reason I think we as humans tend to want to have a beginning, middle, and end, in literature in as well as everything else is the fact that we are born to a life which has a beginning, middle, and end. We were raised in a society where history/time/space follows an order, and we are taught that it is our nature and the nature of things. Thus, the reason we prefer our "ordered" narratives ;-)
But now I wonder at the way time and space is perceived. I think books are just as interesting, if not more so, when it jumps around out of order, and you have to look for the links in between. (This influence must come from my schooling: my Art History teacher gave us class completely out of order, jumping around from one art movement to another. By doing this, I think she was trying to make us find associations in a different way).
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