I like to start with definitions when I am studying. Looking at this text, Norton’s Introduction to Literature, the editors kind of took a similar approach.
Fiction are stories about imaginary persons and events. The author uses details to make them rich and interesting.
This made me stop. All the stories that I have ever read are about people, creatures or beings that have motivations that have truth to them. So, can it be fiction if it has so much truth to it? The stories that we like the most are the ones that approximate reality the most. Even science fiction and fantasy that have all of these incredible characters and events still resemble us. Whatever! I was overthinking…
The text goes on. When you are reading a piece of fiction, it is helpful to ask some questions.
- Who is telling the story?
- Why is the story being told?
- Do we know all the facts to understand it?
In the story Love at the zoo, I tell the tale of a koala bear who is left by her handlers. If you know me, you know that I love animals, but I cannot really read the mind of a koala. I was using the omniscient narrator. I wanted to tell this story for a specific purpose–to make the point that animals should be respected because they might have feelings like ours. I have a cat, and I am sure that he has feelings. I don’t know if everyone can understand the story, but I tried to include all of the relevant information. This is just one story.
Everyone has a unique story to tell. In fact, two people can tell the same story in different ways. Think about how many versions of Snow White there are out there.
Following along with the text, I became more and more excited. It discussed how our perception of a story can change. First, you will have your expectation of the story from its title and your own bias. You read it and it affects you, changing your view of the story. Hopefully, you share it with others and then that changes it again. Then, the book talks about your own story of reading the story.
Dissecting it, I read Neuromancer when it first came out because a friend had seen the Johnny Mnemonic. I was expecting a technical manual or something and had all of this trepidation believing that I would be bored. I was blown away loving the novel. It made me want to disconnect from computers for fear. Being a computer operator at the time made that impossible. Besides, computers are fun. I talked to people about it and most agreed that it was a great read. So there was a story, my story, around that novel. Thank you Mr. Gibson.
So far, this text is great.