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Abstract

The Mass of Men Lead Lives of Quiet Desperation, a novel-in-progress written by the researcher, examines the phenomenon of unconventional point of view and narrative structures within contemporary fiction. The project consists of the creation of a novel that implements an unconventional narrative structure and a literature review that examines the tradition of unconventional narratives in contemporary fiction, while also analyzing how these unconventional narratives work in relationship with reader at psychological and emotional level. Unconventional narratives include any narrative not told in traditional structures of first person singular past or present or third person singular past or present point of view. Among several others, the literature review includes analysis of Julie Otsuka’s The Buddha In The Attic, written in the first person plural point of view, and French artist Edouard Levé’s Autoportrait, written entirely in declarative sentences. Unconventional point of view can be powerful, oppressive, and even cathartic. The goal of the novel is to engage in the unique epicenter of emotional and psychological energy bound in unconventional point of view. The proposed original creative work is told almost entirely in imperative statements (ex. instead of “You sweep the room,” “Sweep the room.”) and limits the use of the pronoun “you”. The novel follows a group of janitors in a high-end corporate office as they plot to burn down the building where they work, with hopes of finding existential catharsis and liberation from tyrannical corporatism. One of the benefits of unconventional point of view is that form fits function, making for a unique, visceral reading experience. The experience of reading a novel told entirely in imperatives, or demands, is mimetic of the inescapable social, psychological, and economic demands of American work life in a tedious, repetitious, capital-driven state.

Category

Visual and Performing Arts (including Creative Writing)

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Apr 15th, 4:00 PM Apr 15th, 4:20 PM

The Mass of Men Lead Lives of Quiet Desperation: A Study of Unconventional Point of View and Narrative Structures in Contemporary Fiction

The Mass of Men Lead Lives of Quiet Desperation, a novel-in-progress written by the researcher, examines the phenomenon of unconventional point of view and narrative structures within contemporary fiction. The project consists of the creation of a novel that implements an unconventional narrative structure and a literature review that examines the tradition of unconventional narratives in contemporary fiction, while also analyzing how these unconventional narratives work in relationship with reader at psychological and emotional level. Unconventional narratives include any narrative not told in traditional structures of first person singular past or present or third person singular past or present point of view. Among several others, the literature review includes analysis of Julie Otsuka’s The Buddha In The Attic, written in the first person plural point of view, and French artist Edouard Levé’s Autoportrait, written entirely in declarative sentences. Unconventional point of view can be powerful, oppressive, and even cathartic. The goal of the novel is to engage in the unique epicenter of emotional and psychological energy bound in unconventional point of view. The proposed original creative work is told almost entirely in imperative statements (ex. instead of “You sweep the room,” “Sweep the room.”) and limits the use of the pronoun “you”. The novel follows a group of janitors in a high-end corporate office as they plot to burn down the building where they work, with hopes of finding existential catharsis and liberation from tyrannical corporatism. One of the benefits of unconventional point of view is that form fits function, making for a unique, visceral reading experience. The experience of reading a novel told entirely in imperatives, or demands, is mimetic of the inescapable social, psychological, and economic demands of American work life in a tedious, repetitious, capital-driven state.