It’s important not only to be familiar with the key ideas presented in Abbott’s Introduction to Narrative but to be able to utilize them in your writing and thinking. Clearly there is no shortcut in acquiring this knowledge; if you haven’t already done so read the first eleven chapters. There you will find narratological concepts such as closure, narrativity, masterplot, constituent (vs. supplementary) events, character, and many others. One way of preparing for the midterm is to select a few of these terms and apply them to The Talisman. You could even experiment with Abbott’s three modes of interpretation (intentional, symptomatic, adaptive). What would a symptomatic reading of Scott’s novel look like? What would such a reading allow you to say about this historical romance?
This six page excerpt from Shohat and Stam’s Unthinking Eurocentrism could be useful in your study of “the West”:
Citation: Shohat, Ella and Robert Stam. Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media. New York: Routledge, 1994. Print.
“…our human family is presently experiencing something of a turning point in its own history, if we consider the advances made in various areas. We can only praise the positive achievements which contribute to the authentic welfare of mankind, in fields such as those of health, education and communications. At the same time, we must also acknowledge that the majority of the men and women of our time continue to live daily in situations of insecurity, with dire consequences. Certain pathologies are increasing, with their psychological consequences; fear and desperation grip the hearts of many people, even in the so-called rich countries; the joy of life is diminishing; indecency and violence are on the rise; poverty is becoming more and more evident. People have to struggle to live and, frequently, to live in an undignified way. One cause of this situation, in my opinion, is in the our relationship with money, and our acceptance of its power over ourselves and our society. Consequently the financial crisis which we are experiencing makes us forget that its ultimate origin is to be found in a profound human crisis. In the denial of the primacy of human beings! We have created new idols. The worship of the golden calf of old (cf. Ex 32:15-34) has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.
The worldwide financial and economic crisis seems to highlight their distortions and above all the gravely deficient human perspective, which reduces man to one of his needs alone, namely, consumption. Worse yet, human beings themselves are nowadays considered as consumer goods which can be used and thrown away. We have started a throw-away culture. This tendency is seen on the level of individuals and whole societies; and it is being promoted! In circumstances like these, solidarity, which is the treasure of the poor, is often considered counterproductive, opposed to the logic of finance and the economy. While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling. This imbalance results from ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and thus deny the right of control to States, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good. A new, invisible and at times virtual, tyranny is established, one which unilaterally and irremediably imposes its own laws and rules. Moreover, indebtedness and credit distance countries from their real economy and citizens from their real buying power. Added to this, as if it were needed, is widespread corruption and selfish fiscal evasion which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The will to power and of possession has become limitless….