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The Narrative Complexity of Ordinary LifeTales from the Coffee Shop$
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William L. Randall

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199930432

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199930432.001.0001

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The Story of My Life

The Story of My Life

Narrative as Metaphor

Chapter:
(p.37) Chapter 3 The Story of My Life
Source:
The Narrative Complexity of Ordinary Life
Author(s):

William L Randall

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199930432.003.0003

This chapter goes in greater depth into the complexity and implications of the life-as-story metaphor, with brief explanations of such familiar story concepts as plot, point of view, character, theme, genre, and atmosphere; and how these concepts have their counterparts in relation to a life story. Four levels are then discussed on which the concept of “a life story” can be understood—the level of existence (outside story), experience (inside story), expression (inside-out story), and impression (outside-in story). These levels are then invoked to speculate on the narrative dynamics at work in such everyday phenomena as secrecy, hypocrisy, self-deception, irony, and even hypochondria. Discussion of these levels is extended to the concept of a story’s “setting,” the setting of our respective life stories being the intricate intersection of larger stories that we live our lives within—e.g., those of our families, communities, and creeds.

Keywords:   narrative root metaphor, plot, character, theme, atmosphere, setting, larger stories, chapters, novelty

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