terminology matters

Friday, October 22nd, 2004

So it’s been eval eval eval for the past three weeks and more coming. Anyway, as I read through my short responses to Adam Cadre’s Photopia, I’m coming across interesting views: positive, negative, analytical, and confused. I wonder what it’s like for a student who encounters computer mediated story for the first time, entering the fiction course with little thought given to the forms that we will be covering in the course: from Cheever to Cadre. Then there’s always Los Pasos Perdidos. And why should they think about it, given that fiction and story are associated with “the text” and “the book” and the “Big Screen.” There are more complex issues too: background, education history, and habit.

Nevertheless, as a result of the new encounter, students typically rise to the task and their writing reflects the jolt and the interest. If a person encounters ET in the woods, I’d assume that his or her ability to tell the story would all the sudden be tested. Even so, here’s where the words that we use to describe concepts begin to matter. For example, in Fiction we’ve hammered at definitions, both denotative, connotative, and technical of story, point of view, narrative, event, state, conflict, space, plot, world, structure, history, and with various matters related to modernism and postmodernism, where applicable. It’s these mutiples that help a student grip that rubbery thing not quite recognized, it seems to me. What is its material, its shape, its end, its maker? just to grab from Aristotle. The flexibility to apply them to the work at hand brings some measure of control, some measure of grounding, some measure of analytical sight.

I’m looking forward to the Watchmen work. And the Anywhere work in this regard, too.


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