TWISTED FICTIONNew ways to have fun with old fiction!
LETS GET THE LANGUAGE STRAIGHT BEFORE WE GET TWISTED!This game will allow us to review the jargon of literature.Well lets start right therewhat is jargon?Alright, now for the rules of the game:There are cards with terms on one side and definition on the other. They will be laid out, term-side down on the table.Students will take turns trying to name the term based upon its definition. Once theyve guessed, they will pick up the card and privately check if they are correct. If so, theyll keep the card. If not, theyll return the card to the table without alerting anyone to the correct term.Each card is worth one point. Plus, some cards also have a bonus opportunity on it, thats worth one point. If the person who earned the card does not get it, the rest of the players can attempt it.The player with the most points at the end wins!
ONE MORE WARM-UP ACTIVITYEven the best English students have some words that still cause them to stumble. Today, well review some of the biggest offenders that all begin with the letter A.And, who better to teach us than our favorite grammar guruMIGNON FOGARTY!
TWISTED FICTION!Alright, now down to serious business
METAFICTIONThis is the real name for twisted fiction.MetafictionFiction in which the author self-consciously alludes to the artificiality or literariness of a work by parodying or departing from novelistic conventions and traditional narrative techniquesThis might sound technical, but youve seen, heard, and read examples of it all the time!
AN EASIER DEFINITIONMetafiction is fiction about fiction. It is a novel, short story, film, play, etcin which the author knowingly draws attention to the fact that it is being made up.
EXAMPLE #1: THE FLIP!Lets read an excerpt from Gregory Maguires 1999 book , Confessions of an Ugly StepsisterIt tells the classic story of Cinderella from the stepsisters point of view.
The wind being fierce and the tides un-obliging, the ship from Harwich has a slow time of it. Timbers creak, sails snap as the vessel lurches up the brown river to the quay. It arrives later than expected, the bright finish to a cloudy afternoon. The travelers clamber out, eager for water to freshen their mouths. Among them are a strict-stemmed woman and two daughters.The woman is bad-tempered because she's terrified. The last of her coin has gone to pay the passage. For two days, only the charity of fellow travelers has kept her and her girls from hunger. If you can call it charity a hard crust of bread, a rind of old cheese to gnaw. And then brought back up as gorge, thanks to the heaving sea. The mother has had to turn her face from it. Shame has a dreadful smell.So mother and daughters stumble, taking a moment to find their footing on the quay. The sun rolls westward, the light falls lengthwise, the foreigners step into their shadows. The street is splotched with puddles from an earlier cloudburst.
The younger girl leads the older one. They are timid and eager. Are they stepping into a country of tales, wonders the younger girl. Is this new land a place where magic really happens? Not in cloaks of darkness as in England, but in light of day? How is this new world complicted?"Don't gawk, Iris. Don't lose yourself in fancy. And keep up," says the woman. "It won't do to arrive at Grandfather's house after dark. He might bar himself against robbers and rogues, not daring to open the doors and shutters till morning. Ruth, move your lazy limbs for once. Grandfather's house is beyond the marketplace, that much I remember being told. We'll get nearer, we'll ask.""Mama, Ruth is tired," says the younger daughter, "she hasn't eaten much nor slept well. We're coming as fast as we can."Don't apologize, it wastes your breath. just mend your ways and watch your tongue," says the mother. "Do you think I don't have enough on my mind?"" Yes, of course," agrees the younger daughter, by rote, "it's just that Ruth-"
"You're always gnawing the same bone. Let Ruth speak for herself if she wants to complain." But Ruth won't speak for herself. So they move up the street, along a shallow incline, between step-gabled brick houses. The small windowpanes, still un-shuttered at this hour, pick up a late-afternoon shine. The stoops are scrubbed, the streets swept of manure and leaves and dirt. A smell of afternoon baking lifts from hidden kitchen yards. It awakens both hunger and hope. "Pies grow on their roofs in this town," the mother says. "That'll mean a welcome for us at Grandfather's. Surely. Surely. Now is the market this way? for beyond that we'll find his house or that way?""Oh, the market," says a croaky old dame, half hidden in the gloom of a doorway, "what you can buy there, and what you can sell!" The younger daughter screws herself around: Is this the voice of a wise woman, a fairy crone to help them?"Tell me the way," says the mother, peering."You tell your own way," says the dame, and disappears. Nothing there but the shadow of her voice.
"Stingy with directions? Then stingy with charity too?" The mother squares her shoulders. "There's a church steeple. The market must be nearby. Come."At the end of a lane the marketplace opens before them. The stalls are nested on the edges of a broad square, a church looming over one end and a government house opposite. Houses of prosperous people, shoulder to shoulder. All the buildings stand up straight-not like the slumped timber-framed cottage back in England, back home ...-- the cottage now abandoned ... abandoned in a storm of poundings at the shutters, of shouts: "A knife to your throat! You'll swallow my sharp blade. Open up!". . . Abandoned, as mother and daughters scrambled through a side window, a cudgel splintering the very door --Screeeee an airborne alarm. Seagulls make arabesques near the front of the church, being kept from the fish tables by a couple of tired, zealous dogs. The public space is cold from the ocean wind, but it is lit rosy and golden, from sun on brick and stone. Anything might happen here, thinks the younger girl. Anything! Even, maybe, something good.
The market: near the end of its day. Smelling of tired vegetables, strong fish, smoking embers, earth on the roots of parsnips and cabbages. The habit of hunger is a hard one to master. The girls gasp. They are ravenous.Fish laid to serry like roofing tiles, glinting in their own oils. Gourds and marrows. Apples, golden, red, green. Tumbles of grapes, some already jellying in their split skins. Cheeses coated with bone-hard wax, or caught in webbing and dripping whitely-cats sprawl beneath like Ottoman pashas, open-mouthed. "Oh," says the younger sister when the older one has stopped to gape at the abundance. "Mama, a throwaway scrap for us! There must be."The mother's face draws even more closed than usual. I won't have us seen to be begging on our first afternoon here," she hisses. "Iris, don' t show such hunger in your eyes. Your greed betrays you.""We haven't eaten a real pasty since England, Mama! When are we going to eat again? Ever?"
"We saw few gestures of charity for us there, and I won't ask for charity here," says the mother. "We are gone from England, Iris, escaped with our lives. You're hungry? Eat the air, drink the light. Food will follow. Hold your chin high and keep your pride."But Iris's hunger a new one for her-is for the look of things as much as for the taste of them. Ever since the sudden flight from England ...
EXAMPLE #1: THE FLIP!After reading:Did your impression of or feelings for the stepsisters change in any way? If so, how? Why?Can you think of any other examples of this type of metafiction?Using this example for clues, what is the flip technique (a term I entirely made up, by the way) in metafiction?
EXAMPLE #2: SELF-CONSCIOUS-NESSSometimes in a work of literature, you are constantly reminded that the work is being written by someone.This prevents the reader/viewer from being lost in the work.But, if done correctly, it can have a very comedic effect!
EXAMPLE #2: SELF-CONSCIOUS-NESSCan you think of any other examples of plays, shows, movies, books, etc where you are constantly aware that the fiction is being created?Some take it a step further and actually talk to the audience!Lets look an excerpt from The Princess Bride, a 1973 fantasy novel by William Goldman.
THE PRINCESS BRIDE
Chapter One: The BrideThe year that Buttercup was born, the most beautiful woman in the world was a French scullery maid named Annette. The year Buttercup turned ten, the most beautiful woman lived in Bengal, the daughter of a successful tea merchant. When Buttercup was fifteen, Adela Terrell, of Sussex on the Thames, was easily the most beautiful creature. Buttercup, of course, at fifteen, knew none of this. And if she had, would have found it totally unfathomable. How could someone care if she were the most beautiful woman in the world or not. What difference could it have made if you were only the third most beautiful. Or the sixth. (Buttercup at this time was nowhere near that high, being barely in the top twenty, and that primarily on potential, certainly not on any particular care she took of herself. She hated to wash her face, she loathed the area behind her ears, she was sick of combing her hair and did so as little as possible.) What she liked to do, preferred above all else really, was to ride her horse and taunt the farm boy.The horse's name was "Horse" (Buttercup was never long on imagination) and it came when she called it, went where she steered it, did what she told it. The farm boy did what she told him too. Actually, he was more a young man now, but he had been a farm boy when, orphaned, he had come to work for her father, and Buttercup referred to him that way still. "Farm Boy, fetch me this"; "Get me that, Farm Boyquickly, lazy thing, trot now or I'll tell Father."
"As you wish."That was all he ever answered. "As you wish." Fetch that, Farm Boy. "As you wish." Dry this, Farm Boy. "As you wish." He lived in a hovel out near the animals and, according to Buttercup's mother, he kept it clean. He even read when he had candles."I'll leave the lad an acre in my will," Buttercup's father was fond of saying. (They had acres then.)"You'll spoil him," Buttercup's mother always answered."He's slaved for many years; hard work should be rewarded." Then, rather than continue the argument (they had arguments then too), they would both turn on their daughter."You didn't bathe," her father said."I did, I did" from Buttercup."Not with water," her father continued. "You reek like a stallion.""I've been riding all day," Buttercup explained."You must bathe, Buttercup," her mother joined in. "The boys don't like their girls to smell of stables.""Oh, the boys!" Buttercup fairly exploded. "I do not care about 'the boys.' Horse loves me and that is quite sufficient, thank you."
She said that speech loud, and she said it often.But, like it or not, things were beginning to happen.Shortly before her sixteenth birthday, Buttercup realized that it had now been more than a month since any girl in the village had spoken to her. She had never much been close to girls, so the change was nothing sharp, but at least before there were head nods exchanged when she rode through the village or along the cart tracks. But now, for no reason, there was nothing. A quick glance away as she approached, that was all. Buttercup cornered Cornelia one morning at the blacksmith's and asked about the silence. "I should think, after what you've done, you'd have the courtesy not to pretend to ask" came from Cornelia. "And what have I done?" "What? What?...You've stolen them." With that, Cornelia fled, but Buttercup understood; she knew who "them" was.The boys.The village boys.The beef-witted featherbrained rattleskulled clodpated dim-domed noodle-noggined sapheaded lunk-knobbed boys.
How could anybody accuse her of stealing them? Why would anybody want them anyway? What good were they? All they did was pester and vex and annoy. "Can I brush your horse, Buttercup?" "Thank you, but the farm boy does that." "Can I go riding with you, Buttercup?" "Thank you, but I really do enjoy myself alone." "You think you're too good for anybody, don't you, Buttercup?" "No; no I don't. I just like riding by myself, that's all."But throughout her sixteenth year, even this kind of talk gave way to stammering and flushing and, at the very best, questions about the weather. "Do you think it's going to rain, Buttercup?" "I don't think so; the sky is blue." "Well, it might rain." "Yes, I suppose it might." "You think you're too good for anybody, don't you, Buttercup?" "No, I just don't think it's going to rain, that's all."At night, more often than not, they would congregate in the dark beyond her window and laugh about her. She ignored them. Usually the laughter would give way to insult. She paid them no mind. If they grew too damaging, the farm boy handled things, emerging silently from his hovel, thrashing a few of them, sending them flying. She never failed to thank him when he did this. "As you wish" was all he ever answered.
When she was almost seventeen, a man in a carriage came to town and watched as she rode for provisions. He was still there on her return, peering out. She paid him no mind and, indeed, by himself he was not important. But he marked a turning point. Other men had gone out of their way to catch sight of her; other men had even ridden twenty miles for the privilege, as this man had. The importance here is that this was the first rich man who had bothered to do so, the first noble. And it was this man, whose name is lost to antiquity, who mentioned Buttercup to the Count.
EXAMPLE #2: SELF-CONSCIOUS-NESSDid you like being addressed directly as a reader? Why or why not?What would be the limitation to this?When would it be advantageous?
EXAMPLE #3: THE TWISTAgain, this is just my term for it.This method involves apply a new style to an existing story.In the example were going to read, a classic fable by Aesop is retold as a political news story
THE DISENCHANTED FORESTHonorable animals of the forest council, Secretary Otter and Chairman Skunk, I'm sorry, but I must interrupt. I know that time is of the essence. So I will keep my remarks brief. I stand before you not an arrogant hare, nor a flashy hare as some of you would have it, but merely a hare who cares about this forest and all of its creatures.I've not come here to cast dispersions on the tortoise. This is not a time for partisanship. Whether you be a hare man or a tortoise man, we must all work together. But to save the forest from its impending doom, it's important you know the truth about the race known as Tortoise versus Hare.Look, I know how this makes me look. The hare is a poor loser, you say. The hare has a problem with tortoises. Well, I'm going to stop you right there. Let the record show that I have nothing against turtles of any kind. The snapping turtle is godfather...