Essay about The Function Of Cognitive Literary Theory

Essay about The Function Of Cognitive Literary Theory

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The function of cognitive literary theory is to use literary narratives in order to understand how the reader encounters and understands text as well as how the brain interacts and remembers narratives. In other words, it seeks to answer why human beings are so drawn to creating and propagating narratives either orally through communication or via written literature, which suffuse every aspect of our lives. Much of the narratives that have been studied for this purpose include complex and classic literary works whose narrative strategies compel the reader to become immersed in the fictional world created by the author. Also of frequent study are mystery and thriller novels in order to understand how gaps function in narratives and how authors are able to hide or foreground importance details for unraveling the mystery. However, literary narratives from the young adult genre are not frequently discussed in any arena of academic study. Nevertheless, the narrative strategy and world-building techniques of Maggie Stiefvater in her stand-alone young adult novel, The Scorpio Races, further elucidates the strategies and concepts that cognitive literary theorists have studied.
According to Anezka Kuzmičová in her article “The Words and Worlds of Literary Narratives,” there are two presences that exist within a text with which a reader can interact. In Maggie Stiefvater’s novel, The Scorpio Races, she plays with narrative focalization using two alternating narrations from the point of view of two separate characters. The two main characters of the novel, Puck Connelly and Sean Kendrick, interact with the inhabitants of their island home, Thisby, during the same timeframe. Stiefvater provides an alternating narration so that over other cha...


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...comes to populated with objects, bodies, and forces that is referred to by the narrator’s words (110). Once the story world is envisioned in the reader’s mind using the narrator’s verbal presence, then the reader can begin to experience and interact in the story world in a first person, enacted capacity (113). This is one of Kuzmičová’s greatest assertions that the reader does not participate in the story world as a passive observer, but instead does so in a first person, enacted capacity. However, in order for this to occur, the narrative must have the right ingredients to engage the reader in wanting to experience the story world in an enacted manner. The world becomes physically present in and around the reader when the narrative prompts the reader’s exteroceptive senses and motor reactions by having passages in which the narrator describes such experiences (114).

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