Sunday, December 07, 2014

Conclusion in Progress . . .

Dylan's Muse?

I'm working on my talk's conclusion and attempting to fit it to my paper and the conference's theme:
In his most popular work, Also Sprach Zarathustra, Nietzsche claims that "all poets are liars," and speaking myself as one intimately acquainted with various sorts of poiesis, I agree. We storytellers are tellers of stories and cannot be trusted. But we are trusted. Why? And can any pedagogical lesson be drawn from this fact? Let us see, anyway. Perhaps the reason for the trust lies partly in the expectation set up by a story. Think of Dylan's line, "I married Isis on the fifth day of May." An expectation is established, not especially specific, but we listeners know that some event has to occur next, and it does: "But I could not hold on to her very long." Our expectation is met, confirmed, thus shown to be true. Concurrent with that confirmation is another expectation, more specific this time, namely, that the speaker will perhaps leave, and he does: "So I cut off my hair, and I rode straight away / For the wild unknown country, where I could not go wrong." A story, then, is more than a series of events in sequence, it is a series of expected events in sequence, with each confirmation establishing the 'truth' of the preceding event. This is the experience of reading a story! Of course, not every event conforms to the expectation set up, but such is acceptable if implausible twists in the plot don't occur too often or don't offend narrative sensibilities through some entirely improbable deus ex machina or the like, an implausibility rendering the story ludicrous, a reaction undesired unless a writer intends to evoke laughter, and that's okay, too, for I've heard that laughter is the best medicine, and that's about the best I can do to shape my presentation into fitting the theme of this conference: "Storytelling: Trauma, Healing, and Pedagogy."
Bold and presumptuous of me, I realize . . .

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At 3:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might Jeff, compare the story of Dylan's Isis to Tangled Up In Blue.

Laptop. Or I'd provide you myself.


At 3:45 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

That's also a good one, as is "Simple Twist of Fate."

Jeffery Hodges

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