Saturday, July 27, 2013

The pull of narrative

Stories, however perfectly conceived and powerfully written, however moving, do not accomplish successfully their allotted function. Each story and each repetition or variation of it leaves some uncertainty or contains some loose end unraveling its effect, according to an implacable law that is not so much psychological or social as linguistic. This necessary incompletion means that no story fulfills perfectly, once and for all, its functions of ordering and confirming. And so we need another story, and then another, and yet another, without ever coming to the end of our need for stories or without ever assuaging the hunger they are meant to satisfy.
Miller, J. Hillis. "Narrative." Critical Terms for Literary Study. 2nd ed. Eds. Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin. Chicago: U. of Chicago P., 1995. 66-79. Print.

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