Story of Evolution/Evolution of Stories
Bryn Mawr College
March 21, 2004

Story Telling "Styles"? and Preferences?
... Eugenides?

Catastrophism vs uniformitarianism I, II

Bibical story"modern" story
force outside/more powerful than humansforces outside, more powerful than humans
may be a judgement on humansmay or may not have anything to do with humans
has a plan, intentionhas no plan, intention
creates human suffering justifiable by plan/intentioncreates human suffering ...
provides hints/clues to the plangenerates new stories/"understandings"
may be given meaning by human thought
opens new possibilities, may or may not maintain some continuityopens new possibilities, always maintains some continuity
resolves plot?does NOT resolve plot

Mining the forum

the novel's unique style makes me curious. The book seems to begin in another world filled with incest, a village life, taboo and genetic mutations and ends up in a completely different world ... Nada

I enjoyed his flowing in and out of Greek tragedy, Elizabethan comedy, and even throwing a little J.D. Salinger in for all our benefit ... Tonda

Cal is unique in his voice and in his story-telling style ... Haley

To me the writing style showed that the mind of the character remained the same regardless of the box that the physical body was placed in ... Liz

It's interesting how hard it is to develop a sense for a person that transcends gender. Gender plays such a large role in how I define people in my mind, and I'd never even noticed before ... Anjali

culture reflecting/individual

I am always leery of first-person narrators who tell stories that contain more information than the narrator could possible have (again with the knowledge of his grandparents relationship). If Eugenides had wanted to, he surely could have written the narrative voice of Cal in a way that corresponded more closely to the sort of stories that we are actaully able to tell about ourselves and our families ... Maria

Like Maria, I've also been wondering about Eugenides's storytelling style ... Throughout the book, he enters his characters' heads indiscriminately; even during the same scene, he'll switch perspectives several times ... Maybe the point of the book was *not* to have a "big epiphany change of writing style" when Callie finally, physically became Cal. Maybe the entire book is an exercise in seeing from two perspectives at once ... But. The thing is, no matter how many times Eugenides enters a female's head, I still feel a sense of detachment---like it's really Cal-the-male operating subtly from inside Des-the-female's skull. I can't explain this feeling; it has to do with his writing style, which still despite everything strikes me as "male." ... Brittany

male/female, perspectival/non-perspectival

Cal offers me an alternative to genetics. "A strange new possibility is arising," he tells me. "Compromised, indefinite, sketchy, but not entirely obliterated: free will is making a comeback. Biology gives you a brain, life turns it into a mind" ... Arshiya

Maybe it comes back to this distinction between transformation and discovery (the latter of which we find in Greek Tragedy). Discovery implies the pre-existence of something which one eventually notices, or finds. Transformation, conversely, is willing reinvention . . . an acted transition from one thing to another ... Anne

discovery/transformation, non-narrative/narrative, cranes/skyhooks?

Where DO story telling styles AND preferences come from? Are they too fixed or changeable?

On to Re-starting and ending?

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