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Chapter 13 - Narrative contestation

H. Porter Abbott
Affiliation:
University of California, Santa Barbara
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Summary

A contest of narratives

Here is a narrative. It is a hot day in the summer of 1892. Father and stepmother rise and have breakfast at 7:00. The elder daughter is away visiting; the younger arises just before 9:00 and has a light breakfast. Her father, an elderly man by now, almost seventy (the younger daughter is thirty-one), goes off downtown on business. A banker, he is an important and wealthy man in this sleepy Massachusetts town. The younger daughter talks briefly with her stepmother, who tells her she has received a note asking her to go visit someone who is sick that morning. After telling the maid to wash the windows, the stepmother then goes upstairs. Later that morning, the father comes back. He is tired from his walking, and his daughter helps him to lie down on the couch in the parlor. She then sets up her ironing board to begin ironing a few handkerchiefs, but soon stops to go out to the barn in search of a piece of lead to fix a screen. Coming back twenty or thirty minutes later, she hears something – a scraping sound, or maybe a groan. She goes into the parlor and there she sees her father, lying half on and half off the couch, his head bloody and smashed almost beyond recognition. Numb with shock, she goes out into the hall, calls the maid, and has her go for the doctor.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2008

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  • Narrative contestation
  • H. Porter Abbott, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Book: The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative
  • Online publication: 05 June 2014
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511816932.015
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  • Narrative contestation
  • H. Porter Abbott, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Book: The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative
  • Online publication: 05 June 2014
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511816932.015
Available formats
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  • Narrative contestation
  • H. Porter Abbott, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Book: The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative
  • Online publication: 05 June 2014
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511816932.015
Available formats
×