Monday, May 09, 2022

The absence of narrative context and a distorted interpretation of a novel

I work with my first-year academic writing students on how to provide narrative context when they quote from fiction. An article on Toni Morrison's "Paradise" that I was reading this evening (to discuss with the students in my MA seminar on her middle novels) quoted several passages as if they were in the voices of the men of Morrison's fictional all-black town of Ruby, Oklahoma. But in each case, they were in the voices of women reflecting on what the men said and did. The author's imprecise or even absent narrative contextualization of her quotations led her to a distorted interpretation that erased the novel's women as interpreters of its story. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 9 May 2022)

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