SCMLA: Storyworlds

Colin Irvine, Augsburg College (Minneapolis)
“Reading into the World of Panem”

associate prof, literature, environmental

Marie-Laure Ryan writes on dystopian texts and story worlds
Textual worlds—both imagined and real
Hunger Games, where is District 12 in the Appalachians?
Protagonists stand in for the reader.

How he introduces his class:
Students often enter classroom stories like sleepwalkers, almost unconscious and fumbling.
The Way We Think—about reading, quote
Polar opposite of characters at beginning of Hunger Games

Students entry to course literature.
Ways that they think literarily when introduced to reading.

Couple of cartoons, what is this? Line drawings
Man lifting hat. Gutter/gap fill
Cocreate characters

A vixen sneered at a lioness because she never bore more than one cub.
“Only one,” lioness replied, “but a lion.”
Strange about the story? Animals are talking.

Discussing texts and theories
Gerard Jay’s paratexts and narrative levels
Intra-diegetic level…

Show video from beginning of Get Smart. We walk into the story world, paratext. Gives us clues.

Threshold of paratexts… analyze the texts at the beginning
Ways each text makes most of the liminal space

Hidden, secrets, sources of suspense are common to fiction.
Unfolding and revelation = narrative

Situating protagonist in uncomfortable/unknown setting.
Complicates text.

Hunger Games beginning
Who is the narrator? Where is she waking up? What is reaping?
Divergent opening also.

Who are characters? Where are they? When are they?
Storyworlds themselves. Don’t know where they reside.

Ryan’s topology 5 types.
· Actual world
· Actual possible world
· Non-actual possible (Dems and Reps working together)
· Textual actual world
· Textual reference world (or alternate possible world, housed in mind of writer)

Textual actual v textual reference worlds
Explaining: Rowling’s experience of writing. In middle of the series. Have world. Rowling understood the textual reference world—where seemingly
5 years on HP and Philosopher’s Stones were laying down the rules. What characters can’t do.

Two additional
Textual Actual (fabricated) Arena/Game World (TAGW)
Textual Actual but Initially Unknown World, commonly coming after or outside the first book in series, (TAIUW)

Overlapping textual and actual worlds and way in reader warps into world of characters, we are linked to story by events in story.

What it means to grow up in a changing world.

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