post a short response to the following prompt

For this discussion, post a short response to the following prompt before class on Wednesday, February 21st. Warning: this is a bit of a weird post.

We all narrate, all the time. In some ways, the seemingly slipshod modernist prose of Joyce’s Ulysses is an attempt to recognize how much we take in with just pure sense perception, but we don’t experience the reality in his stream-of-consciousness style. Most of the time we use our ability to synthesize memories to provide a narrative, a frame through which to read our experiences.

So, for example, I might structure a typical day within a pre-set structure, like a five-act structure:

1: Exposition: sets up Todd’s feeling of being overwhelmed with work, family, and other responsibilities. Todd is struggling against a writing deadline (stress and the deadline and competing responsibilities are the central conflicts)

2: Rising action: Todd writes and writes, while being interrupted by phone calls, emails, and the like. Todd finishes the writing project and sends it off. He leaves to pick up his kiddo, still overwhelmed. (narrative action reflects and intensifies the dramatic aspects of the conflict)

3. Climax: At pick-up, the sight of the kiddo alleviates the tension of Todd’s life. (the tension of the conflict reaches its peak point — in this case, the emotional peek is an alleviation of tension)

4. Falling action: Todd drives home with kiddo, calmly cooks dinner and taking care of unfinished work. (we see the consequences of the climax here)

5. Dénouement: Todd’s spouse arrives home, and the two read to their daughter, a nice family moment to sum up the day. (we have a single, paradigmatic moment summing up where we’re leaving this character and the conflicts that were set up from the beginning)

By staging it this way, I’m taking my experiences and setting them within a narrative structure, one that you can read to understand the emotional ebbs and flows of my life (which is one of the goals of narrative). Put to a wider scope, one might say that what I’m *saying/arguing* here is that everyday stresses seem overwhelming but are surmountable and not as important as interpersonal experiences like the ones we have with family/friends. Had I wanted to depict or leave the reader with a different idea about life, work, family, etc., I may have had the computer crash as the climax, with an ensuing angry sullenness that spoiled the family’s day as well.

For this post, try to sum up a typical day within a five-act structure like this. Try to figure out what you’d depict as a central conflict, where you’d describe the height of that conflict (in the climax), and then where you want to take the story afterward. If you have some larger point to make with it, that’s ideal, but I just need the structure, perhaps with a bit of explanation.

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