Intro to Fiction Key Terms
|Always Already|| - paradoxical relationship between causes and effects (what appears to be a symptom may in fact be a predisposition).|
- a characters "nature" is a result of that characters position or function within a structure.
- thus it is impossible to find a first cause or fist instance of a particular behavior or effect.
|Ambivalence|| - the state of possessing multiple meanings or attitudes|
- NOT the same thing as ambiguity ( the multiple meanings are specifiable).
- the multiple meanings are often in conflict with one another, perhaps even mutually contradictory.
|Binary Opposition||- pair of concepts whose terms contradict, oppose, or exclude one another.|
- binary oppositions tend to affiliate with other binary oppositions, to line up symmetrically with analogous oppositions.
- binary oppositions tend to be hierarchical.
- binary oppositions particularly susceptible to reversal or inversion
|Diachronic|| -diachronic relations are relations of sequence or temporality|
- histoire (order in which events in story take place) and récit( order in which author tells the sequence of events) are both types of diachronic relations; both the events and their narration take place in time.
- diachronic relations need to be distinguished from synchronic (simultaneous "the force" affects everything) relations
|Logocentrism|| - narrowly, privileging of speech over writing|
- more generally, privileging of originals over copies
- idea that mediation is distortion
- paradox of logocentrism is that every copy can become can become in turn an original
|male homosocial spectrum||- spectrum of all intensely-freighted emotional relationship between men|
- the exact valence, configuration, or nature of the relationship is not as important as the intensity of the bonding; for instance, rivalry and loyalty are both example of homosocial bonding.
- spectrum runs from homoeroticism and homosexuality at one end ( though rivalry, loyalty, and "male-bonding") to homophobia at the other extreme.
- highly exclusive of women - often to the point of misogyny.
|Mediation|| - mediation means both communication and representation|
- mediation by definition takes place within a concrete medium
- opposed to immediacy
|Metaphor|| - a figure of speech in which you literally state that something is what it is not ("my love is a red rose")|
- metaphor implies the noting of a similarity
- metaphor is usefully distinguished from metonymy, in which things are connected by proximity or habitual association rather by identity.
|Metonymy||-figure of speech in which you refer to something by naming something that is proximante to, or habitually associated with it (e.g. the White House today announced)|
- metonomy is usefully distinguished from metaphor; metaphor emphasizes relationships of similarity, whereas metonymy emphasizes relationships of connection or contiguity.
- metonomy is usefully distinguished from synecdoche, which is a relation of a part to a whole ( ex. all hands on deck)
|mediated desire|| - desire is always an imitaion of someone else's desires, not an attraction to something intrinsic in object|
- mediated desire is thus partly a desire to be like someone else
- mediated desire thus usually takes the form of a triangle, with two rivals desiring the same person or object.
|Narrative desire||1. narrative desire is the desire to get to the end, the solution, of a story (it is the desire for closure)|
2. paradoxically, narrative desire is also the desire to prolong or delay the ending, to keep reading
3.technically, narrative desire takes place at the level of the reader or the narrative as a whole, rather than being experienced by individual characters, though individual characters may be figures for this process
|Paternal Interdiction|| 1.literally, what the father prohibits you from doing; but more generally, a prohibition issued by any authority figure |
2.the interdiction functions to thwart or redirect desire
3.paradoxically, the interdiction functions to incite desire
|Primal Scene|| 1.the "primal scene" refers to the witnessing of your own creation or conception|
2. the primal scene is always experienced or remembered retrospectively; thus it is unverifiable
3.the primal scene is traumatic
|Synchronic|| 1.synchronic relations are relations of simultaneity|
2.within a narrative, everything that does not depend on sequence is part of the synchronic structure
3.this includes parallel plots; themes; symbolism and imagery
|Zeno's Paradox||1.technically, the paradoxical fact that if you keep reducing the distance between two things exactly in half, the distance never disappears|
2.one implication is that representation can never catch up with experience; writing can never catch up with the action that it is narrating
3.narrative is inevitably retrospective
|Recit|| 1. the sequence of the narration (importantly distinguished from histoire, that is, from events in the order they took place in the world referred to by the text)|
2. récit always takes place (is enunciated--though this term isn't necessary) within a particular medium
3. all formal organizing devices such as chapter breaks, flashbacks, nested narratives, etc., are an aspect of the récit, not the histoire
|Histoire|| 1. histoire refers to the sequence of events as they "really" took place in the world referred to by a text, fiction, or narrative.|
2.as opposed to récit, histoire is open-ended; it has no formal beginning, end, or divisions
3.though there are multiple récits (multiple ways of telling a story), there is only one histoire
|Ariadne's Thread|| 1) more narrowly: clue replicates the shape of the puzzle|
2)more generally: interpretation retraces structure of object begin interpreted.
3) thus all critique risks taking on character of thing it is criticizing.
|Cinnematic Apparatus|| 1) technique used to create point-of-view in film|
2) uses shot-reverse-shot which is never 180 degrees apart.
3) divides characters (assigns them) into active and passive roles
4) makes us identify with a particular character
|cultural relativism|| 1) belief that no meanings or values are intrinsic or natural|
2) meanings and values are always culturally specific
3) the same fact can have different meanings; meaning is subjective.
|Essentialism|| 1) belief that some qualities or behaviors are intrinsic or natural|
2) such values or ideas would be trans-historical and trans-cultural.
3) resulting meanings could not be variable or subjective
|Oral culture||1) culture organized principally around conversation, storytelling, call and response, music|
2) oral activities entrusted with preserving and transmitting collective experience
3) oppositional relation to "official" culture.
4) distinction between active and passive, speaker and listener, not static fixed.
|Plain Style|| 1) a linguistic style charactized by simple vocabulary and syntax, minimal ornamentation or elaboration|
2) not necessarily clearer than other styles
3) the plain style has not intrinsic effect.
|print culture||1) culture organized principally around printed documents (e.g. declarations, constitutions)|
2) literacy, access to literacy, demographics of literacy, are political issues.
3) printed material has significance beyond its content; it is a sign of power
4) the teaching of reading isn't just a technical skill; it's an initiation into a community and its values.
|Signifier||1) words, or verbal signs, are divided into two parts: signifier and signified.|
2) the signifier is the purely material component of the verbal sign (the sounds of the word, its visual appearance on the page); the signified is the idea or object that the word stands for.
3) the signifier is pure form without meaning ( don't confuse "signifier" with "word"! Think of a signifier as a word with its meaning subtracted.
|similarity disorder|| 1) a type of aphasia - a disorder in which your ability to reach for right word is impaired.|
2) an inability to recognize similarities or to be able to match things together based on a principle of identity.
3) tendency to rely on context, contiguity
4) associated with metonymy.
|synecdoche|| 1) synecdoche is a figure of speech in which the part stands in for the whole|
2) synechdoche implies a natural, intrinsic, organic relation, rather than a relationship of mere proximity ( as in metonymy) or resemblance ( as in metaphor)
|visual culture|| 1) culture organized principally around the production and consumption of images.|
2) privileges images over other kinds of media
3) consequently images become commodities.
4) consumption of images offered as substitute for real power.
5) real power lies in production of images.