Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Third Lecture

The intention of Tuesday's lecture was to put you in a frame of mind where you could see that your life has much in common with the form of works of fiction. So, for example the events that make up your life can appear as a story plot; the places you go form the settings; characters go without saying; and you, certainly, are the hero. And if you don't think villains exist in your story, re-think your last road-rage experience.

There is a complementary relationship, then, between fiction and life. On one side, as you learn, in this course for a start, to analyse, understand, and enjoy fiction better, you are, mutatis mutandis, better enabled to understand your own life. It is a real challenge to ask yourself -seriously ask- the question: what is the theme of my life so far? And on the other side, the particular place in your own life story that you have reached at the time that you read a work of fiction affects what benefit you take from reading a story: either in delight of pure enjoyment or in self-awareness.

The particular stories we studied were of the realist genre. Designed to show "unadorned-life-as-it-is" they read quite like personal blogs do. They allow an observer (that is, reader) to witness a reflected image of a particular slice of life different from one's own. In a sense, reading realism is an educative experience (look up the etymology of education in the OED for the sense of that statement.)

Thursday's lecture will introduce a different kind of story, which will be described as experiential . . . .

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