CDS’s Autobiographical Narratives

Like most probably did, I first went to the CDS website without a clue of what to expect. The idea of “story telling” itself is quite ambiguous, and I was curious to see what kinds of these stories it would feature.

As I read through many of the stories, it became apparent that they all took the form of short, autobiographical anecdotes. [technical] The vast majority of the stories were all told from the first-person perspective, between 1-5 minutes long (tending towards the latter), and describes some specific event in the storyteller’s life that had a significant effect on the rest of their lives, or, at the very least, a distinct emotional value to it. [technical] Most stories had some sort of background accompaniment music as well, but often it was faint in volume and did not distract the listener from the story. [technical] The stories are not oversights of ones entire life; rather, they are more succinct anecdotes describing a smaller portion of the characters’ lives. [technical] Another aspect I noticed is that some of the categories, specifically the Community and Education ones, contained stories all relevant to immigrants and their children assimilating into other cultures and the resultant struggles. [technical] Dramatic pauses and intonation contributed to the non-fiction of the stories and helped the emotion shine through. [technical]

The Cookbook focused very heavily on the material between the lines, rather than focusing much on the grammatical structure or even the material content of the story. [technical] To think abstractly about it: the writer brings his or her own handful of events to the table which make up this single “experience” that is the material content of the anecdote, and the Cookbook helps the reader tether together all those pieces with these emotional strategies and human interface devices (no pun intended) that allow the reader to not only experience, but connect, become a part of, and relate one’s own experiences to the story. [rhetorical] In short, the Cookbook’s tips change a dry, fact-based, prose-like story into one that can fuse with the reader and bring something more than just a sequence of events. [technical]

Scott Marnik

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~ by n00neimp0rtant on February 14, 2011.

 
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