After, in the seminar with Cottis,we looked at Novels and Novelistic Narrative, the concept arising in England and France during the 18th century, which also coincides with a historical movement that sought to challenge conventional ideas and beliefs, the Enlightenment, giving the individual rather than the government more power and freedoms. This new type of writing concerned itself with details, and the specifics of time and space relating to the story (making more efforts to adhere to the chosen time period and setting, proven by the tendency of novelists to write a lot of description in their tales, something not as common in previous types of story telling).
Other aspects that form part of the novel's way of writing include first-person narration (which can create mystery, identification or dramatic irony, depending on what the author desires), the Picaresque novel (which often had a questionable/roguish protagonist on a journey (some argue it inspired the 'road movie', which emphasized the journey rather than the destination, again playing to the descriptive nature of the medium) the bildungsroman (the moral and psychological growth of a character over the course of the story), the Pathetic Fallacy (what gives inanimate objects emotions/reflects the situation in the scene i.e. raining at funerals emphasizes the loss and sadness) and objective corrality (a term coined by famous writer T.S. Elliot, who saw it as an object representing something subjective i.e. a family portrait informs us of that character's relationships).
For the exercise, we had to go off, in groups, and come up with a Picaresque story: my group came up with the idea of a young writer who hitchhikes with a young woman, who reveals herself to be a rogue and robs him. Eventually, the two meet up again, the tables turned, and the two begin a relationship ala Bonnie and Clyde, the writer deciding to live the adventure he so often imagines for his stories. Then, after brushing up on some Oliver Twist and briefly discussing Dickens (whose writing style was very filmic, often being very atmospheric and tightly written, much like a movie), we then ha d one last task, which was to be the basis for this week's assignment: make up eight characters to use in a sprawling narrative ala Nashville, Magnolia, Prarite Home Companion etc. My team came up with the following:
- Unemployed mother
- Two school children
- Retired actor
- Wealthy widow