Making Sense of the World through Short Stories

29 Apr

“As human beings, we have a craving or a compulsion to find order amidst chaos, particularly when the world seems the most difficult to understand. To make sense of our lives and find a shred of hope to help us carry onward, we establish-or attempt to establish-order and reasoning to cope. This tendency was especially prevalent during the Modernist period, with daily existence is characterized by disintegrating societal relations due to brutal warfare and man’s own inhumanity. When the entire human race is struggling to find meaning amidst shifting social, moral, and political values, what happens when literature abandons the ‘normal’,  well-organized traditions of the classic novel in favor of writing styles that mimic the upheaval of daily life? Should readers follow their natural instincts and still search for unity in purposefully fragmented genres such as the short story sequence? Rather than merely seeking qualities of surface-level organicism in the short story sequence genre, both readers and critics alike need to embrace the tension and recognize that, as Rolf Lunden argues: ‘the greatness of …short story composites is not diminished blanked, monolithic objects of art. The disruptive elements-the gaps, the ignites, the contradictory chronology, the absence of recurring protagonists-are not flaws; they work either to subvert or reinforce the author’s message. A larger pattern is often thereby established, one that makes room for both order and disorder’ “(55-56).

Introduction paragraph of Celeste Lempke’s paper Faulkner’s “Pantaloon in Black”: The Necessity of the Fringe Story.

Work Cited: Lempke, Celeste. “Faulkner’s ‘Pantaloon in Black’: The Necessity of the Fringe Story”. The Sigma Tau Delta Review: Journal of Critical Writing. 9 (2012): 55-56. Print.

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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


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