The texts, 'Orlando ' by Sally Potter and 'Sula ' by Toni Morrison are both, in a sense, biographies of fictional people, challenging traditional values and gender constructs. While Italo Calvino’s novel ‘If on a winter’s night a traveller’ and Marc Forster’s film ‘Stranger than Fiction’ examine and reimagine the relationships between author, reader and text. It is through the narrative and linguistic playfulness that the composers engage in that makes them dynamic texts.
Sally Potter’s ‘Orlando’ blurs reality and fiction and challenges gender constructs of what it means to be masculine and feminine. The opening scene of 'Orlando ' shows the Elizabethan male, Orlando, in a field of grass composing an address to Queen Elizabeth. Sexual ambiguity is established as the principal motif of the work by visual, musical and textual means. The voice over in the opening scene begins with "There can be no doubt about his sex, despite the feminine appearance that every young man of the time had aspired to. But when he-"
Orlando looks directly at the camera, and speaks directly to the narrator or audience with the line "that is I", referring to himself without gender specificity and corrects the confinement of his selfhood. Potter breaks conventional narrative codes through the use of direct address and Orlando’s glances toward the camera that serve to create ...
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...o audiences, Stranger than Fiction’s dynamic quality is evident in that the omniscient narrator can also be heard by the protagonist, and it is with such linguistic playfulness that evokes a humorous response from audiences. Mise en scene is used as the narrator torments a frustrated Harold, “Harold was exasperated-“ “Shut up!”. Audiences are drawn from their complacency when the sudden death of Harold is announced, “would lead to Harold’s imminent death”, they face the moral dilemma whether Harold’s death is worth a possible literary masterpiece. Audiences are delighted and surprised by the subversion of traditional narrative techniques in ‘Stranger than Fiction’.
Through the comparison of ‘Orlando’, ‘Sula’, ‘If on a Winters Night a traveller’ and ‘Stranger than Fiction’ the texts subvert traditional narrative techniques leaving readers delighted and impassioned.
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