Tag Archives: Narrative

Solnit on Silence

Screen Shot 2017-12-21 at 1.32.18 PMSilence is the ocean of the unsaid, the unspeakable, the repressed, the erased, the unheard. It surrounds the scattered islands made up of those allowed to speak and what can be said and who listens.

Silence is imposed vs quiet which is sought.

“We are volcanoes, when we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change.” Ursula K. Le Guin

If our voices are essential aspects of our humanity, to be rendered voiceless is to be dehumanized or excluded from one’s humanity. 

The history of silence is central to women’s history.

Liberation is always in part a storytelling process: breaking stories, breaking silences, making new stories. A free person tells her own story. A valued person lives in a society in which her story has a place. 

Who has been heard we know; they are the well-mapped islands, the rest are the unmappable sea of unheard, unrecorded humanity. 

If libraries hold all the stories that have been told, there are ghost libraries of all the stories that have not. The ghosts outnumber the books by some unimaginably vast sum.

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Notes on Narrative and Identity

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 12.29.10 PMNarrative construction of reality – the ways in which we construct narratives in order to bolster our world view (Didion/We tell ourselves stories to survive).

Narratives that support the arc of inspiration –

Insecure people have an ability to upset balance.

Dramatic Pentad: An agent – An act – A scene – a purpose – An agency.

When the ratio between elements becomes unbalanced trouble ensues. Trouble provides the engine of drama.

Everyone has their own version of the narrative

Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity

The Narrative Construction of Reality by Jerome Bruner

Paradox in the context of complex emotional clarity.

Integrity: Courage to tell the truth as you see it.

Promethean Power: To create something that never existed before.

The tension between being and becoming (is where the story usually sits).

“The gaze” to claim power over the many dimensions of sight and seeing.

Drucker: Theory of female pleasure that can emerge from production. Laying claim to the marvelous, entering the space of meaning, the right of vision, clairvoyance and agency. 

Women are the “Silent bearers” of ideology in Western literature. Women have made the “necessary sacrifice to male secularity” which finds its expression in materialist, public activity in a world that cannot – indeed will not – accommodate a woman of action.

Male action/personal fulfillment requires: Selfishness, hardness, ingratitude.

The duty of women is to live for others. Those who indulge their ambition often grapple with self-loathing.  Male action stereotypes the majority and silences the rest. Result for women is anxiety of authorship.

To paint, to write, to think — is to take authority.

The woman who moves, who acts, who copes with vicissitudes and seeks adventure is the minority.

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Critical Theory

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Notes on: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (Benjamin Walter)

Expropriation of the normative narrative results in the condition for analogous insight.

The “Aura” – A strange tissue of space and time. The unique apparition of a distance, however near it may be. To follow with the eye – while resting on a summer afternoon – a mountain range on the horizon or a branch that casts its shadow – is to breathe the aura of that mountain or branch.

An ancient state of Venus – to Greeks this is something you worship. Different context for Medieval Clerics – they view it as a sinister idol. But both saw its uniqueness – an that is its aura.

The earliest artwork originated in the service of rituals. So it was first magical then religious. The artworks’ auratic mode of existence is never entirely severed from its ritual function.

True purpose of film: To give convincing expression to the fairylike – the supernatural. The work of art is produced only by a montage – each component of the montage is a reproduction of a process.

Film makes use of human being’s self-alienation. It’s basically the same kind of estrangement you feel before a mirror.

The actor stands in front of the camera confronting the masses. The masses are not present during the performance yet they control it. This invisibility tightens the authority of their control.

The cult of the movie star preserves the magic of the personality and reinforces the cult of the audience – in an effort to control the narrative and supplant the class consciousness of the masses. So — everyone becomes an expert – which means the viewer gains access to authorship but at the same time – the masses (viewers) are fed a corrupting narrative – one that teaches them to know their place (see Why We Love Sociopaths by Adam Kotsko – A guide to late capitalist television)


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