How important is story in a novel?

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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We should begin by clarifying what is meant by the term "story".  The characters act and are acted upon by the mise-en-scene, the other characters, and so forth; the plot is the narrative progression of events.  The "story " is the combination of the two--the narration of events along with the revealing and progress of the characters through the fictive time and circumstances.  in a simple story like "Goldilocks"  the story is all there is, but in a novel, ideally, the story embodies aesthetic, philosophical, even spiritual thought and feelings of the author.  So while on the surface, Moby Dick is a story about a sea captain's hunt for a whale, the novel uses this story to convey a compex reading experience.  in many respects, the more overwhelming the story, the less is the quality of the novel. A romance novel, for example, is all story, and very little else,  while a great novel like Herman Hesse's Glass Bead Game has an almost negligible story but is rich in ideas, style, philosophical ideas, etc. 

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