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Bennet and Royle: “Narrative” How is it possible to write a reflection paper of 500 about it? Any ideas?

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"Narrative" is an article fundamentally about the importance of stories in our lives. Stories, so the article proposes, help us to understand who we are, and they also help us to understand the world around us. You might start your reflection by considering which stories are important to you. For example, have you ever read or seen a story which helped you to understand anything about your life? Or have you ever read or seen a story which has changed the way that you behave or interact with other people? This could even include stories you were told when you were a child. I read to my children every night because I think that it is good for them to be exposed to different types of characters, and because I hope they will recognize and emulate the goodness in characters like Winnie-The-Pooh and the curiosity of characters like Peter Rabbit.

The article also argues (quite convincingly I think) that stories alter the course of history. For example, the religious stories that we tell have caused wars and still cause much conflict in the world today. So you might want to consider which stories you think have the most impact upon the world, and why. For example, what stories encouraged people to vote for Donald Trump in 2016? And what stories did Hilary Clinton tell? Why didn't Clinton's stories resonate as much as Trump's?

Another interesting idea put forward in the article is that because we are so used to stories with beginnings, middles, and ends, we automatically try to organize the events in our lives in the same way. You might want to consider in your own reflection whether or not you think this predilection for imposing 'story structures' on our own lives is broadly positive or negative. For example, do we tend to neglect pastimes and things which give us pleasure if they don't seem to have any purpose or if they don't 'go anywhere?' Or do we construct stories for our own lives, with beginnings, middles, and ends, which can lead to sadness and depression if the end isn't reached? Should we learn to better appreciate moments and pleasures which don't 'go anywhere'?

One more idea that you might like to consider, and which is raised towards the end of the essay, is the idea that the relationship between the author and the reader isn't simply a one-way relationship. The article proposes that the reader possibly has as much say over how a story is interpreted as an author does. Roland Barthes developed this idea in more depth in an essay called "On The Death Of The Author." With this in mind, you might want to consider in your own reflection some examples of stories which can be interpreted in different ways. This could be an advertisement, a novel, a film, or any other medium which is used to tell stories.

I hope you find some of these ideas useful. Good luck with your reflection!

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