Michael Toolan says that every narrative has three elements: the teller, a tale, and an addressee. Look at the power of the tale above: the arm of the teller is fully stretched towards the sea, but the boys are intent as their gaze is fixed on the teller. What is he telling?
Perhaps it is not that difficult at times.
However, that doesn’t make all things told, narratives. For example, a running commentary on a game that you are watching in a stadium, is not a story.
Hawthorn (1985) says that a story is a sequence of events, directly mediated by telling. We stare at and through it. While our eyes are fixed at the telling, our minds are at that which is being told.
Narrative is different from conversation, and hence in a way describes the narrator. Though there are narratives that are stand-alone. You can take them or leave them. They are not necesarily linked to their authors or the contexts.
Further, there are three crucial element of a narrative.
- Fabrication: Not as spontaneously as a conversation. Some thought and effort goes into planning, arranging, and choosing.
2. Trajectory: Narratives are expected to, and usually they do, ‘go’ somewhere with some development, towards some conclusion and resolution.
3. Prefabrication: All narratives may be unique. But they also have some bits common with many others.
… and so, here I am, getting packed and ready to leave to meet my narratives and the narrators thereof!