This is the final essay for my freshman writing seminar class, and the essay’s on the book If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino.
This essay can actually be on any topics of our choices, but I really want it to be about the structure of the novel. Here’s the prompt of this specific topic. “Examine and analyze the narrative structure of one or two texts we have read this semester. How does the author structure his/her text, and to what end? In other words, how is the structure of the book central to an important concept in the text, or how is it reflective of the author’s overall aim? It is important here to describe no only what the book’s structure looks like– what makes it unique or compelling– but also to argue that the tale must be told in this way for some significant reason. For support, you will want to carefully choose passages that best demonstrate the type of narrative structure you examine in this paper. Analyze these passages carefully, and with a critical eye.”
Here’s what I wrote on our course website about what I think about this topic. Just some really rough thoughts:
“I think a collection of fragmented stories and the way Calvino structures the novel unfolds a more realistic world than most customary linear novels we read in the past. As Yi pointed out in her post, If on a winterâ€™s night a traveler is a novel that forces the reader to think and actively participates as the story proceeds. In this novel, the reader becomes the main character of the novel and the readerâ€™s reality becomes that of the novel.
One thing that makes this novel more realistic is the writing style Calvino chooses. By talking to the reader directly, and writing about the smallest movements and thoughts we have in our daily lives, Calvino makes his novel something reachable and something that we are all familiar with. This eliminates the gap between the reader and the author, and makes it much easier for the reader to put everything else aside, and get to the bottom of the ten short stories. In chapter seven, Calvino writes, â€what are you like, Other Reader? It is time for this book in the second person to address itself no longer to a general male youâ€¦ but directly to you who appeared already in the second chapter as the Third Person necessary for the novel to be a novel, for something to happen between that male Second Person and the female Thirdâ€¦â€ (141). Here, the reader is no longer simply an outsider who reads the story, but someone who makes the story happens. For us readers, whatâ€™s more realistic than us being part of the novel?
I think another thing that makes this novel more real than others is that the stories never end. At first, the open ending annoyed me, and it disturbed the comfort and harmonious feelings of reading. I cannot help thinking about what happens after the sudden endings, and it was then when I sudden realized that the story doesnâ€™t end. Arenâ€™t the thoughts in my mind part of the story as well? Everyone has a different ending for the story, and this is what makes this novel personalized, and more realistic for not only general readers but also for every individual. Just like the seventh reader says in chapter 11, a story doesnâ€™t have to have a beginning and an end, and â€œthe ultimate meaning to which all stories refer to has two faces: the continuity of life, the inevitability of deathâ€ (259).”
O, and even if I chose the five days option, it is not due until May 7th, but our teacher requires a 2-3 pages rough draft due this Thursday 8:00 am (gonna be peer reviewed in class), and I really need a complete rough draft to have my classmates peer reviewed outside class before the due date. So if you could save the drafts and send it to me that will be awesome!!! Especially the 2-3 pages rough draft on Wednesday night!!! Really really really need it! Much thanks!
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