“Jakarta” is a short story by Alice Munro, the second in the Nobel Prize winning collection The Love Of A Good Woman. At first it baffles me why this story is called Jakarta as it is not set in Indonesia. Eventually we find out that one of the characters has previously died in Jakarta of a tropical bug. Or has he?
When storytellers focus on the hallways and passages of a building, look for metaphor. Take note of the width of the passageway: Narrow passages might represent the will to escape. Broad passages represent freedom and space. Continue reading “Passages, Hallways and Corridors”
Ah, symbolism. A key to understanding texts. Also immensely irritating, and an excellent way to alienate keen readers from the close reading of texts.
I’ve learned to appreciate a good symbol, but it wasn’t always thus. Pretty sure I snorted in recognition when the following meme was first doing the rounds:
Body swap stories are high concept stories, and their popularity endures. Freaky Friday, for example, started in 1976. We keep seeing new versions.
The mother-daughter body swap is relatively ‘safe’ and the moral lesson is clear: When we literally put ourselves in cross-generational shoes, we understand the other’s point of view.
However, when the body swap is cross gender, pitfalls soon reveal themselves. Likewise, as I am finding out, middle grade human-to-pet body swap narratives are also likely to convey problematic gender ideologies.