How about discussing Free Indirect Discourse?

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polymath
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Re: How about discussing Free Indirect Discourse?

Post by polymath » May 30th, 2010, 2:59 pm

I'm on task for a deadline tomorrow with nine hours of work to go. I'll reply in greater detail when I'm a little more caught up. For now, though, GeeGee55, and J. T. Shea, you-all are on target. Yes, FID is subjective with a very few distinctive features some language arts consensuses agree on. The subjective quality comes from signifier and signified, what's intended and what's perceived. What any given writer signifies might not be signified by all readers, if at all.

For example, saying "he felt blue" might in many contexts be clearly uderstood from writer signifier for signified meaning by readers. "His hands felt blue" probably wouldn't.
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Re: How about discussing Free Indirect Discourse?

Post by GeeGee55 » May 30th, 2010, 3:54 pm

You're funny, J.T. I like your attitude. Tests can be playful? Imagine that.

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Re: How about discussing Free Indirect Discourse?

Post by polymath » May 31st, 2010, 4:29 pm

  Chengon bore down on Willem, the towering man's browbeating eyes locked on his. "You are an artless poser. A Westerner hack." Chengon wagged a finger at his face. "Go back home to your blacksmith's forge. Leave sculpture to we who are born to it."
  He wouldn't flinch. "I'll learn what I came to learn. Stick to your own damned business without tearing down mine." He knew he could understand wabi-sabi, even if learning it meant ruining his mind.


My take broken down by clause.

Chengon bore down on Willem, Indirect narrator reporting from no particular perspective point. The only clue to who's the viewpoint character is by default of Chengon in first position. However, with a prepositioned sentence from Willem's viewpoint, Willem would likely be shown as the viewpoint character. Also with a prepositioned sentence pinpointing Willem as viewpoint character, "Willem" could be replaced by him, and the clause would slide closer toward Free Indirect. The clause though is a visual sensation that could be from the narrator's perception or Willem's or Chengon's. Equivocally Indirect or Free.

The towering man's browbeating eyes locked on his. "The towering man's" coordinates with Chengon in the previous clause, "on his" coordinates with Willem. "Browbeating eyes" is an expressed commentary (an estranging metaphor*) of a visual perception reported from possibly either the narrator or Willem. "His" is a de re pronoun slipping closer to viewpoint character perception. Either Indirect or Free, but favoring Free, narrator reported as perceived by Willem.

"You are an artless poser. A Westerner hack." Dialogue is generally direct discourse, especially when tagged with attribution tags. However, without dialogue tags, which are decidedly most commonly Direct Discourse, Chengon's speech is also an aural sensation perceived by either the narrator or Willem. The preceding perhaps Free Indirect "browbeating" clause indicates Chengon's speech leans toward Free as well, narrator reported speech as perceived by Willem.

Chengon wagged a finger at his face. Either narrator's or Willem's visual perception. "His face" de re pronoun "his" slips toward Free. Also reinforces Chengon as speaker, in case there's doubt who's speaking, through an action attribution, obviating a need for a dialogue tag.

"Go back home to your blacksmith's forge. Leave sculpture to we who are born to it." More dialogue narrator reported as an aural sensation of Willem's.

He wouldn't flinch. No overt clues for Free, except de re pronoun "he." Might be an expressed low-key exclamation. The narrator reporting Willem's thought. Perhaps Indirect, perhaps leaning toward Free.

"I'll learn what I came to learn. Stick to your own damned business without tearing down mine." Dialogue again, again narrator reporting Willem's aural sensation and spoken thought. Could be Direct, Indirect, or Free.

He knew he could understand wabi-sabi, De re pronouns "he," and two verbs of thought volition, "knew" and "understand," one modal verb "could," and an expressed exclamation, the trifecta of Free Indirect Thought.

Even if learning it meant ruining his mind. Expressed exclamation emphasizing previous exclamation clause. Sliding away from FIT, but not too far to be necessarily less than FIT.
J. T. Shea wrote:I knew I could understand FID, even if learning it meant ruining my mind!
J. T. Shea's revision illustrates FIT in first person. Plus illustrates a discerning interpretation of an implied subtext. Sublime.

Any given reader might interpret the sample differently. In general, uncertainty is a powerhouse for FID. Uncertainty involves readers' wont to understand and engages their creative vision to interpret a writer's creative vision. Reader participation in a secondary reality participation mystique enhances audience rapport. One factor I've noted for FID, FIT, or FIS, is that less uncertainty is a best practice for less skilled readers, more uncertainty for more expert readers.

* An estranging metaphor is a word or phrase that "estranges" a narrator by using a term a viewpoint character would likely use. Browbeating eyes, for example, eyes don't browbeat, nor do eyebrows beat really, for that matter. Browbeating is a metaphor all by itself. It's just slightly off kilter enough to go unremarked but still be something meaningful narrator reported from Willem's perceptions and thoughts.
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