Narrative is naturally disorderly
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Posted by Jane on October 29, 1997 at 10:43:42:
In response to Is it nature or nurture?, written by Ann on October 28, 1997 at 23:27:47
] ...Most of the stories we are familiar with, from early-childhood stories on through more adult fare, have that structure. If we grew up with a different structure, would we not find it to be just as normal, as we perceive a narrative to be?
I think that while we are used to hearing stories in precise linear narrative (Once upon a time...), often we hear "real life" stories as inverted and/or nonlinear narratives: we know how something turned out, and then find out how it got to be that way. You know how your grandmother is now...as time goes on, you might find out how she met your grandfather, what her life was like before, how she got to this point.
I read two non-fiction stories this year with not exactly linear narrativer. In Into Thin Air, we start out knowing that there was a disastrous climbing season on Everest, and then hear the story, with interviews of survivors interspersed with the linear story. The mingling of present and past is haunting. Similarly, The Perfect Storm starts with the fact that a ship was lost at sea, and then goes through what happened; knowing the ending makes gives even slight events more weight than if the story were completely linear.
A novel that has fun, so to speak, with narrative that many of us have read isThe English Patient. Another example is the Harold Pinter play turned movie called Betrayal, a series of scenes in backward chronological order (link below; Jeremy Irons and Ben Kingsley).
By the way, I am enjoying the Possession discussion very much----thanks to all of you who are putting so much effort into it.
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