Kiss Me, Petruchio

The study of Narrative is still considered important to the study of literature. Much like diagramming a sentence, you can create a visual (or algebraic) representation of the narrative structure of any novel or extended work of prose. Try this one:

images.jpgDad screws up and Mom packs up the Kid to move far away and begin a new life. They find themselves in an enchanted land and the Kid meets the local equivalent of Prince Charming. Despite her clumsiness, the Prince and the Kid fall in love but the Prince’s evil advisors feel that an unattached prince is better to profit from the kingdom’s raging female hormones so the Kid is hustled off the scene. Sometime later the Kid is selling cookies at the market when the Prince arrives, sees his true love, and courageously announces his love to all the world. The Prince and the Kid clinch over crumbled cookies … The End.

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Morbid Stories Are Good For Children

OZWhen I was young I was often sick and spent many hours lying in bed either moaning in a darkened room with the measles (no vaccines then) or proped up on one elbow reading books and scratching my chicken pox. Sometimes I had books from the library and other times I had to rely on books that accumulated around the house. I got most of my books from Goodwill, used and often musty. Some of my books had evidently belonged to my parents, favorite stories from when they were young and impressed by Jack Hawkins, Bill Sikes,  or Dorothy Gale.

I still have vivid memories of avidly reading those over-the-rainbow books by the local San Diego author L. Frank Baum and unexpectedly flipping to a gnarly and often damned scary illustration that might interrupt my sleep for weeks. Or how about that wonderful illustration by the much revered illustrator N. C. Wyeth in the book Treasure Island that showed the gruesome skeleton of a pirate who had been marooned on the island long ago. In fact, just the concept of being marooned all alone on a desert island added a new level of fright and concern to both my waking and sleeping hours for years to come.

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