America was formed on the basis of culture. Many different cultural backgrounds flocked to this one area and in the process many existing cultures were destroyed, while the new influx of humanity meshed to create an American culture. This constant flow of cultures from all over the world has kept the American culture in a state of flux. Each historical period has presented its classical viewpoint of American culture through the eyes of its most accomplished authors. There are narratives about clashes of cultures, presentations of cultures and even some focused on teaching a culture. The narratives provide a glimpse into an era that may no longer exist.
To understand the effect of narrating one must comprehend its make-up. Essentially there is a three-layer distinction in a narrative-- the text, story and fabula. The simplest component of a narrative is the fabula. A fabula can clearly be exemplified by a comic strip in which each box represents a new event in a chronological sequence. Many times a narrative is presented with no obvious order of events. An excellent example of this is Leslie Silko's novel, Ceremony. The main character, or as Mieke Bal describes it in her book Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative, the actor, narrates his life by jumping from his childhood to the present, back to the past and finally ending in the present. In addition to this, Bal, defines the text of a narrative as "a finite structure . . . composed of language signs" (5). Using this definition, one could again feel free to use a comic strip as an example of a narrative, but in reality a narrative is much more complicated. Using the distinct stru...
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...ader with an opportunity to experience a culture that no longer exists, or is yet to come. A look at the layout of classical narratives from the beginning of America to the present describes and relives the lives of so many individuals. In providing this glimpse into the past or the future, narratives shape the readers perspective of that time period, leaving the reader with a specific viewpoint on the history of American culture.
Austin, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Washington Square Press Book, 1960.
Bal, Mieke. Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985.
Gibson, William. Neuromancer. New York: Ace Books, 1984.
Sawyer, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Airmont Books, 1962.
Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony. New York: Penguin Books, 1977.
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