Change of Perspective

Musings on Writing, Reading, and Life Narratives

Fiction writers and literary critics speak of point of view. Social scientists are more likely to discuss perspective. But both of these terms refer to essentially the same construct: the consciousness behind the perception and narration of experience. Each individual’s point of view is unique, and point of view shapes the stories people tell to themselves and to others about themselves and their relationships with their environment. The same event narrated from two different perspectives will produce two different stories.

A change of perspective can expand our perception and reframe our thinking about our experiences. We can all benefit from an occasional change of perspective.

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Monday, September 3, 2007

Quotation of the Day

book cover
“. . . we need stories that normalize our suffering and show us we are part of a community of pain, sin and suffering. We need to be known, to be understood. Fellow sufferers who can empathize contribute to the process of normalization.”

Joseph Gold, Read for Your Life: Literature as a Life Support System (pp. 353-354)

Thank you, Joseph Gold. This is exactly what I was trying to say a few days ago in my review of The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood. During the course of the novel Mary Baxter learns that other people have also experienced pain; each one’s pain has been just as deep as Mary’s, and each has lived to tell the story. Our individual stories differ, but they all illustrate the great abstraction of suffering that is an inevitable part of the human condition. Telling our stories to each other helps us to cope with and heal from the traumas of our lives.

© 2007 by Mary Daniels Brown

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