Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Class 3/24

Here is an overview of concepts discussed today.
First, a reminder: we are working towards a better understanding of the grammar of storytelling. To that end, your first assignment on conversational storytelling will help us clarify our analytical tools and develop a rubric to use for our final assignment on formal storytelling.
We discussed the Spoken–Written continuum, and compared it with:
Noting that the more composed the oral work becomes, through repetition of telling, it tends to employ more integrative language typical of written composition as identified by Chafe.

Beyond the analytical tools we have most recently been studying, I am concerned with Labov's question, "So What?" in regards to the overall practice of telling stories. That is: why do we do it? What are our objectives for telling stories and hearing stories? What may be the benefits or "pay-offs"?

We can think of two main areas for consideration: Message and Experience. Certainly there are messages and "meta-messages" being exchanged int he storytelling event. Additionally there is the creation of an experience int he event itself as well as the transference of experience inasmuch as the effective teller gives the involved listener a virtual experience drawn from the recounted story.

Therefore, let us consider:
1. The roles, if any, that grooming behaviors and stroke transactions have on the establishment and maintenance of rank and status.(see Locke and Berne)
2. The effect of "making special" (see Dissanyake)on teller and listener alike.
3. The health benefits of disclosure vs. suppression. (see Pennebaker)

We discussed Donald Davis' telling about his mother in some of these terms, noting that there is pleasure in being reminded of our past, being directed to rethink our past, and being exposed to the common human experience of aging, death, and growth in a manner that was reassuring. (We also noted Donald's background in homiletics.)

Furthermore we discussed Donald's involvement strategies and the manner in which he appears to take care of the listener.

We discussed the grammar from Elizabeth Ellis of stories and story programs progressing from "Ha Ha" to "Aha" to "Aah" to "Amen"

Additionally, consider Donald Davis' grammar of story as: People, Places, Problems, Progress.

COMING UP: Please read
1. "Making Special": An Undescribed Human Universal and the Core of a Behavior of Art by Ellen Dissanyake
2. "Forming A Story: The Health Benefits of Narrative" by James Pennebaker.

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