Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 August 2021
Chapter 2 takes its title from a conversation with John Barth (1987) to address the focus on the frame tale in contemporary writing. It shows the central function of the preliminary volatile sites, the preludinal site of nuptial failure, the garden scene, and its narrative function before the advent of Scheherazade. What is missed in scholarship, old and contemporary, is redeemed here to draw attention to the role of the spectacle in exploding hierarchies, power structures, and racial and class distinctions. It draws attention to a number of narrative levels that have to be taken into account when we address the frame tale, not as a container, but a dynamic that offers storytellers the chance to embed tales that are no less explosive. It shows also the implications of narrative functions in relation to issues of relativity, plight, desire, and joy.