Reality and Fiction Essay

Reality and Fiction Essay

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Reality and Fiction


The front page of a supermarket tabloid is usually splashed with such ridiculous headlines as “Human Baby Born with Dog’s Head!”; or “Olsen Twin Beats Anorexia and Gains 200 lbs!” These titles suggest the type of information that the magazine contains—sensational, outrageous and often untrue stories. Despite these titles, their sensational nature can sometimes spark the curiosity of the reader, prompting them to read further. Although the tabloid is not a particularly well-respected genre of literature, Gloria Sawai adapts it for her own purposes in her writing. In a short story titled “The Day I Sat With Jesus on the Sun Deck and a Wind Came Up and Blew My Kimono Open and He Saw my Breasts”, Sawai draws upon this typically disprespected tabloid-type of narrative, prompting the reader to question their sense of reality. The author adapts several conventions which would typically be found in a tabloid to achieve this. She places ordinary characters in extraordinary situations; she trivializes momentous events by presenting them in very simple terms; she removes all suspense by giving away the plot in the title; she challengers her reader to call her bluff as to whether or not her story actually occurred. Through the adaptation of conventions characteristic of tabloid literature, Sawai successfully challenges her reader to question their perception of what is “real”, prompting them to the ponder whether or not this extraordinary story might have actually taken place.

Perhaps one of the most recognizable characteristics of tabloid-type narrative is the description sensational, and often unbelievable events occurring to everyday people living in ordinary milieus. In the third paragraph of “The Day I Sat W...


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...narrative conventions in this short story help to illustrate this situation, and in the process, give the reader cause to question whether or not this unbelievable event could actually occur. Sawai presents her readers with this challenge to their perception of reality through the story’s title, in the way that she trivializes a miracle by placing it in an ordinary setting, and also through the possibility that the story is semi-autobiographical, thus making it true. The author is playing a game with the reader, never revealing whether or not her story is based on reality or not. Of course, one would most likely assume that Jesus did not in fact appear in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan on September 11th, 1972. Nevertheless, Sawai intices her audience to play with the idea for a moment, challenging the socially accepted standards of what is reality and what is not.

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