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ENGL 1007 Deconstructing Narrative Part 1 Agenda Read sample anecdotes Identify and discuss what makes a compelling narrative Self review of our own anecdotes ANECDOTE 1 I had a teacher named Mr Schellhorn I distrusted him my first male teacher his dark mustache his hard full chest and thick rimmed glasses I never raised my hand to lead the class during the singing of John Brown Jalopy I didn t raise my hand to turn the pages of afternoon stories No matter how hard the other children laughed at his character voices no matter how many times he praised my drawings and even my terrible handwriting I would not budge I would not as it were love him Then the science fair And I hate the other students their maps of constellations lighting up on cardboard their mud mound volcanoes erupting over desktops I don t want to make anything I don t want anything to explode or light up I don t want the bad smelling oak tag the construction paper dry against my fingers I would rather make up math problems while sitting on the radiator For a few days Mr Schellhorn leaves me there He doesn t ask what my project will be But by the time the light up planets begin to show he s back there with black construction paper and a handful of orange tissue paper He folds the black paper in half and cuts for what feels like a half hour moving the big teacher scissors in curves and inside out holes And when he opens the paper it s wings He glues the orange tissue paper behind them It s a monarch butterfly he says They are perfectly symmetrical Do you know what symmetrical means I m still not budging I don t care I answer directing my stare through the back window toward the school lot where the cars are lined up in a green blur I do care I want to know what symmetry means I like the sound of it how his teeth joined at the s his lips touching at the m and curling together to end on the try of the word I do love him you understand I make five more butterflies when he goes As for symmetry the dictionary said match WHAT S AN ANECDOTE When in doubt look it up Oxford English Dictionary Short interesting telling description of the moment personal story Dictionary com or perhaps you have the Merriam Webster Dictionary App ANECDOTE 2 Back when I took piano lessons my piano teacher assigned me Beethoven s famous Moonlight Sonata I quickly learned the piece and by our next meeting I confidently played her the song While I expected her to approve it and assign me a new piece she frowned and made me play the piece again After playing a second time I looked up for approval but she just shook her head Unable to comprehend the situation I sat there disappointed in myself wondering what I possible could have done wrong She then said Jen you are missing something Do you know what that is I stared at her blankly and shook my head You need to play with more emotion She then pulled out her phone and played a performance video of a famous pianist performing the song She explained how the repetition in the song created a sense of longing therefore each note should be played with that feeling in mind to portray the composer s message After that lesson I continued to practice the piece I tried to think of myself longing something or someone while playing Rather than focusing on the mechanics of playing I tried to focus on the musical expressions When our next lesson came around I played the song but she instructed me to practice again After another week of practicing and researching the history of the piece and the composer s life I had a better understanding of the piece and played with all these in mind By our next lesson I was better prepared and she finally approved Looking back I wish to play this piece again At that young age I probably did not portray the true emotions she expected Now that I am much older I can play the piece with a broader spectrum of emotions If I were to play the piece again in twenty years my interpretation and portrayal of the song will be different Everything is a Story every story has a shape What do you think makes a good story What makes a good story or narrative ACTIVITY Look back at the sample anecdotes Make a copy of the document for this exercise Highlight and annotate the documents to indicate where the writer Creates a tension a conflict a difference a before state Reveals emotions Includes details that answer the interrogatives Who What Where When How Include a twist that subverts expectations created earlier on Resolves a tension in some way Partner Discussion Find a partner Share with your partner your highlighted and annotated document Discuss the differences and similarities between your highlights Why did you choose to highlight some place and your partner did not Are there sentences that could have multiple highlights What makes this anecdote a narrative or story Be prepared to share with the class what you Class Discussion What did you note or notice Now your turn Think about the analysis you did of Anecdotes 1 and 2 Now look back at your own anecdote Where do you Create a tension a conflict a difference a before state Reveal emotions Includes answers to these interrogatives who what where when how Perhaps include a twist ending in a place that is different from what audience expected Resolve the tension in some way Revision Reminders Details Draw in the Audience Create tension conflict difference a before state Reveal emotions Include answers to interrogatives who what where when how Perhaps include a twist ending in a place that is different from what audience expected Resolve the tension in some Use specific and concrete way details For Class Next Time Have your three education anecdotes written and uploaded to our shared folder in SharePoint by end of day Monday Read Habits of Practice Collecting and Curating credit Marie Nour Nakhle

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UConn ENGL 1007 - Deconstructing Narrative Part 1

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