Saturday, July 21, 2007

Chpt 5 Shaping Memory, P.114 - 146

The 'Why do we tell stories?' question has popped up again. Basically, he is focusing upon conversational storytelling. Nevertheless, listeners do not change based upon whether they are sitting in a kitchen or in front of a stage. Their own experiences, memory and observations are still with them.

Schank does hit a few tale crafting points to consider in this chapter:
  • "The process of story creation, or condensing an experience into a story-size chunk that can be told in a reasonable amount of time, is a process that makes the chunks smaller and smaller."
  • "Normally, after much retelling, we are left with exactly the details of the story that we have chosen to remember. In short, story creation is a memory process. As we tell a story we are formulating the gist of the story which we can recall whenever we create a story describing that experience." Personal Point: Carmen Deedy said something very similar during our discourse with her on Wednesday.
  • "In order to remember an experience, we must tell it to someone."
  • "When you begin to retell a story again that you have told many times, what you retrieve from memory is the gist of the story itself."
  • "People add details to their story that may or may not have occurred."
  • "Stories change over time because of the process of telling,because of the embellishments added by the teller."

Schank then moves into an psychological assessment of how things are remembered. It was interesting, but mostly focused on psychology. Page 118 to 145 address semantic and episodic memory, dreaming with a lot of Freudian theory similar to that discussed in ETSU Historical & Psychological class, not telling due to bad events that have occurred that you want to forget, repression, and some comments on therapists.

Schank ties a lot of the psychological discussion to why we tell and why we don't, and then concludes that: "We tell stories to make a conscious check on how memory organization is going."

Personal Assessment: This chapter might be useful if a teller plans on working with healing stories, or being part of the NSN Healing Alliance Guild.

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