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Twisted Fiction


TWISTED FICTION New ways to have fun with old fiction! – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Twisted Fiction

Twisted Fiction
  • New ways to have fun with old fiction!

Lets get the Language Straight before we get
  • This game will allow us to review the jargon of
  • Well lets start right therewhat is jargon?
  • Alright, now for the rules of the game
  • There are cards with terms on one side and
    definition on the other. They will be laid out,
    term-side down on the table.
  • Students will take turns trying to name the term
    based upon its definition. Once theyve
    guessed, they will pick up the card and privately
    check if they are correct. If so, theyll keep
    the card. If not, theyll return the card to the
    table without alerting anyone to the correct
  • Each card is worth one point. Plus, some cards
    also have a bonus opportunity on it, thats worth
    one point. If the person who earned the card
    does not get it, the rest of the players can
    attempt it.
  • The player with the most points at the end wins!

One more Warm-UP Activity
  • Even the best English students have some words
    that still cause them to stumble.
  • Today, well review some of the biggest offenders
    that all begin with the letter A.
  • And, who better to teach us than our favorite
    grammar guru

Twisted Fiction!
  • Alright, now down to serious business

  • This is the real name for twisted fiction.
  • MetafictionFiction in which the author
    self-consciously alludes to the artificiality or
    literariness of a work by parodying or departing
    from novelistic conventions and traditional
    narrative techniques
  • This might sound technical, but youve seen,
    heard, and read examples of it all the time!

An easier Definition
  • Metafiction is fiction about fiction. It is a
    novel, short story, film, play, etcin which the
    author knowingly draws attention to the fact that
    it is being made up.

Example 1 The Flip!
  • Lets read an excerpt from Gregory Maguires 1999
    book , Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
  • It tells the classic story of Cinderella from the
    stepsisters point of view.

  • The wind being fierce and the tides un-obliging,
    the ship from Harwich has a slow time of it.
    Timbers creak, sails snap as the vessel lurches
    up the brown river to the quay. It arrives later
    than expected, the bright finish to a cloudy
    afternoon. The travelers clamber out, eager for
    water to freshen their mouths. Among them are a
    strict-stemmed woman and two daughters.
  • The woman is bad-tempered because she's
    terrified. The last of her coin has gone to pay
    the passage. For two days, only the charity of
    fellow travelers has kept her and her girls from
    hunger. If you can call it charity a hard crust
    of bread, a rind of old cheese to gnaw. And then
    brought back up as gorge, thanks to the heaving
    sea. The mother has had to turn her face from it.
    Shame has a dreadful smell.
  •   So mother and daughters stumble, taking a
    moment to find their footing on the quay. The sun
    rolls westward, the light falls lengthwise, the
    foreigners step into their shadows. The street is
    splotched with puddles from an earlier

  • The younger girl leads the older one. They are
    timid and eager. Are they stepping into a country
    of tales, wonders the younger girl. Is this new
    land a place where magic really happens? Not in
    cloaks of darkness as in England, but in light of
    day? How is this new world complicted?
  • "Don't gawk, Iris. Don't lose yourself in fancy.
    And keep up," says the woman. "It won't do to
    arrive at Grandfather's house after dark. He
    might bar himself against robbers and rogues, not
    daring to open the doors and shutters till
    morning. Ruth, move your lazy limbs for once.
    Grandfather's house is beyond the marketplace,
    that much I remember being told. We'll get
    nearer, we'll ask."
  • "Mama, Ruth is tired," says the younger
    daughter, "she hasn't eaten much nor slept well.
    We're coming as fast as we can.
  • "Don't apologize, it wastes your breath. just
    mend your ways and watch your tongue," says the
    mother. "Do you think I don't have enough on my
  • " Yes, of course," agrees the younger daughter,
    by rote, "it's just that Ruth-"

  • "You're always gnawing the same bone. Let Ruth
    speak for herself if she wants to complain." But
    Ruth won't speak for herself. So they move up the
    street, along a shallow incline, between
    step-gabled brick houses. The small windowpanes,
    still un-shuttered at this hour, pick up a
    late-afternoon shine. The stoops are scrubbed,
    the streets swept of manure and leaves and dirt.
    A smell of afternoon baking lifts from hidden
    kitchen yards. It awakens both hunger and hope.
    "Pies grow on their roofs in this town," the
    mother says. "That'll mean a welcome for us at
    Grandfather's. Surely. Surely. Now is the market
    this way? for beyond that we'll find his house
    or that way?"
  • "Oh, the market," says a croaky old dame, half
    hidden in the gloom of a doorway, "what you can
    buy there, and what you can sell!" The younger
    daughter screws herself around Is this the voice
    of a wise woman, a fairy crone to help them?
  • "Tell me the way," says the mother, peering.
  • "You tell your own way," says the dame, and
    disappears. Nothing there but the shadow of her

  • "Stingy with directions? Then stingy with
    charity too?" The mother squares her shoulders.
    "There's a church steeple. The market must be
    nearby. Come."
  • At the end of a lane the marketplace opens
    before them. The stalls are nested on the edges
    of a broad square, a church looming over one end
    and a government house opposite. Houses of
    prosperous people, shoulder to shoulder. All the
    buildings stand up straight-not like the slumped
    timber-framed cottage back in England, back home
  • -- the cottage now abandoned ... abandoned in a
    storm of poundings at the shutters, of shouts "A
    knife to your throat! You'll swallow my sharp
    blade. Open up!". . . Abandoned, as mother and
    daughters scrambled through a side window, a
    cudgel splintering the very door --
  • Screeeee an airborne alarm. Seagulls make
    arabesques near the front of the church, being
    kept from the fish tables by a couple of tired,
    zealous dogs. The public space is cold from the
    ocean wind, but it is lit rosy and golden, from
    sun on brick and stone. Anything might happen
    here, thinks the younger girl. Anything! Even,
    maybe, something good.

  • The market near the end of its day. Smelling of
    tired vegetables, strong fish, smoking embers,
    earth on the roots of parsnips and cabbages. The
    habit of hunger is a hard one to master. The
    girls gasp. They are ravenous.
  • Fish laid to serry like roofing tiles, glinting
    in their own oils. Gourds and marrows. Apples,
    golden, red, green. Tumbles of grapes, some
    already jellying in their split skins. Cheeses
    coated with bone-hard wax, or caught in webbing
    and dripping whitely-cats sprawl beneath like
    Ottoman pashas, open-mouthed. "Oh," says the
    younger sister when the older one has stopped to
    gape at the abundance. "Mama, a throwaway scrap
    for us! There must be."
  • The mother's face draws even more closed than
    usual. I won't have us seen to be begging on our
    first afternoon here," she hisses. "Iris, don' t
    show such hunger in your eyes. Your greed betrays
  • "We haven't eaten a real pasty since England,
    Mama! When are we going to eat again? Ever?"

  • "We saw few gestures of charity for us there,
    and I won't ask for charity here," says the
    mother. "We are gone from England, Iris, escaped
    with our lives. You're hungry? Eat the air, drink
    the light. Food will follow. Hold your chin high
    and keep your pride."
  • But Iris's hunger a new one for her-is for the
    look of things as much as for the taste of them.
    Ever since the sudden flight from England ...

Example 1 The Flip!
  • After reading
  • Did your impression of or feelings for the
    stepsisters change in any way? If so, how? Why?
  • Can you think of any other examples of this type
    of metafiction?
  • Using this example for clues, what is the flip
    technique (a term I entirely made up, by the way)
    in metafiction?

Example 2 Self-Conscious-ness
  • Sometimes in a work of literature, you are
    constantly reminded that the work is being
    written by someone.
  • This prevents the reader/viewer from being lost
    in the work.
  • But, if done correctly, it can have a very
    comedic effect!

Example 2 Self-Conscious-ness
  • Can you think of any other examples of plays,
    shows, movies, books, etc where you are
    constantly aware that the fiction is being
  • Some take it a step further and actually talk to
    the audience!
  • Lets look an excerpt from The Princess Bride, a
    1973 fantasy novel by William Goldman.

The Princess Bride
  • Chapter One The Bride
  • The year that Buttercup was born, the most
    beautiful woman in the world was a French
    scullery maid named Annette. The year Buttercup
    turned ten, the most beautiful woman lived in
    Bengal, the daughter of a successful tea
    merchant. When Buttercup was fifteen, Adela
    Terrell, of Sussex on the Thames, was easily the
    most beautiful creature.
  • Buttercup, of course, at fifteen, knew none of
    this. And if she had, would have found it totally
    unfathomable. How could someone care if she were
    the most beautiful woman in the world or not.
    What difference could it have made if you were
    only the third most beautiful. Or the sixth.
    (Buttercup at this time was nowhere near that
    high, being barely in the top twenty, and that
    primarily on potential, certainly not on any
    particular care she took of herself. She hated to
    wash her face, she loathed the area behind her
    ears, she was sick of combing her hair and did so
    as little as possible.) What she liked to do,
    preferred above all else really, was to ride her
    horse and taunt the farm boy.
  • The horse's name was "Horse" (Buttercup was
    never long on imagination) and it came when she
    called it, went where she steered it, did what
    she told it. The farm boy did what she told him
    too. Actually, he was more a young man now, but
    he had been a farm boy when, orphaned, he had
    come to work for her father, and Buttercup
    referred to him that way still. "Farm Boy, fetch
    me this" "Get me that, Farm Boyquickly, lazy
    thing, trot now or I'll tell Father."

  • "As you wish."
  • That was all he ever answered. "As you wish."
    Fetch that, Farm Boy. "As you wish." Dry this,
    Farm Boy. "As you wish." He lived in a hovel out
    near the animals and, according to Buttercup's
    mother, he kept it clean. He even read when he
    had candles.
  • "I'll leave the lad an acre in my will,"
    Buttercup's father was fond of saying. (They had
    acres then.)
  • "You'll spoil him," Buttercup's mother always
  • "He's slaved for many years hard work should be
    rewarded." Then, rather than continue the
    argument (they had arguments then too), they
    would both turn on their daughter.
  • "You didn't bathe," her father said.
  • "I did, I did" from Buttercup.
  • "Not with water," her father continued. "You
    reek like a stallion."
  • "I've been riding all day," Buttercup explained.
  • "You must bathe, Buttercup," her mother joined
    in. "The boys don't like their girls to smell of
  • "Oh, the boys!" Buttercup fairly exploded. "I do
    not care about 'the boys.' Horse loves me and
    that is quite sufficient, thank you."

  • She said that speech loud, and she said it
  • But, like it or not, things were beginning to
  • Shortly before her sixteenth birthday, Buttercup
    realized that it had now been more than a month
    since any girl in the village had spoken to her.
    She had never much been close to girls, so the
    change was nothing sharp, but at least before
    there were head nods exchanged when she rode
    through the village or along the cart tracks. But
    now, for no reason, there was nothing. A quick
    glance away as she approached, that was all.
    Buttercup cornered Cornelia one morning at the
    blacksmith's and asked about the silence. "I
    should think, after what you've done, you'd have
    the courtesy not to pretend to ask" came from
    Cornelia. "And what have I done?" "What?
    What?...You've stolen them." With that, Cornelia
    fled, but Buttercup understood she knew who
    "them" was.
  • The boys.
  • The village boys.
  • The beef-witted featherbrained rattleskulled
    clodpated dim-domed noodle-noggined sapheaded
    lunk-knobbed boys.

  • How could anybody accuse her of stealing them?
    Why would anybody want them anyway? What good
    were they? All they did was pester and vex and
    annoy. "Can I brush your horse, Buttercup?"
    "Thank you, but the farm boy does that." "Can I
    go riding with you, Buttercup?" "Thank you, but I
    really do enjoy myself alone." "You think you're
    too good for anybody, don't you, Buttercup?" "No
    no I don't. I just like riding by myself, that's
  • But throughout her sixteenth year, even this
    kind of talk gave way to stammering and flushing
    and, at the very best, questions about the
    weather. "Do you think it's going to rain,
    Buttercup?" "I don't think so the sky is blue."
    "Well, it might rain." "Yes, I suppose it might."
    "You think you're too good for anybody, don't
    you, Buttercup?" "No, I just don't think it's
    going to rain, that's all."
  • At night, more often than not, they would
    congregate in the dark beyond her window and
    laugh about her. She ignored them. Usually the
    laughter would give way to insult. She paid them
    no mind. If they grew too damaging, the farm boy
    handled things, emerging silently from his hovel,
    thrashing a few of them, sending them flying. She
    never failed to thank him when he did this. "As
    you wish" was all he ever answered.

  • When she was almost seventeen, a man in a
    carriage came to town and watched as she rode for
    provisions. He was still there on her return,
    peering out. She paid him no mind and, indeed, by
    himself he was not important. But he marked a
    turning point. Other men had gone out of their
    way to catch sight of her other men had even
    ridden twenty miles for the privilege, as this
    man had. The importance here is that this was the
    first rich man who had bothered to do so, the
    first noble. And it was this man, whose name is
    lost to antiquity, who mentioned Buttercup to the

Example 2 Self-Conscious-ness
  • Did you like being addressed directly as a
    reader? Why or why not?
  • What would be the limitation to this?
  • When would it be advantageous?

Example 3 The Twist
  • Again, this is just my term for it.
  • This method involves apply a new style to an
    existing story.
  • In the example were going to read, a classic
    fable by Aesop is retold as a political news

The Disenchanted Forest
  • Honorable animals of the forest council,
    Secretary Otter and Chairman Skunk, I'm sorry,
    but I must interrupt. I know that time is of the
    essence. So I will keep my remarks brief. I stand
    before you not an arrogant hare, nor a flashy
    hare as some of you would have it, but merely a
    hare who cares about this forest and all of its
  • I've not come here to cast dispersions on the
    tortoise. This is not a time for partisanship.
    Whether you be a hare man or a tortoise man, we
    must all work together. But to save the forest
    from its impending doom, it's important you know
    the truth about the race known as Tortoise versus
  • Look, I know how this makes me look. The hare is
    a poor loser, you say. The hare has a problem
    with tortoises. Well, I'm going to stop you right
    there. Let the record show that I have nothing
    against turtles of any kind. The snapping turtle
    is godfather to twenty-seven of my kids, for
    crying out loud.
  • But if you think there is any chance that
    tortoise beat me fair and square, you are
    deluding yourselves. Tortoises don't have a
    reputation for being slow. They are slow.
    Everyone knows this. It's not a question. It's
    not debatable. It just is.

  • So imagine my surprise when, one morning, I wake
    up to discover the entire forest is talking about
    how I challenged the tortoise to a race. Think
    about it. Why would a hare challenge a tortoise
    to a race? It doesn't make any sense. What would
    it prove? If I win, I'm an jerk. If I lose, I'm
    an embarrassment to my species.
  • Oh, how I was vilified after that race. In the
    picture they ran on the cover of The Forest Post,
    I'm pulling my whiskers out, stomping on my top
    hat and yelling at a judging official. There I
    was, the arrogant buck-toothed hare that everyone
    loves to hate finally receiving his comeuppance.
    And the lies that were told about the race
    itself-- why would I stop just shy of the finish
    line and eat a large turkey dinner with all of
    the trimmings? Or why would I pull out a beach
    chair and take a sun tanning break? First of all,
    I burn easily. And second, what am I, an idiot?
  • In the days after the race when I put forth my
    multiple tortoises in multiple forest nooks
    theory, I was labeled a paranoid, a conspiracy
    nut, not to mention a specie-ist for suggesting
    that tortoises all look the same. But I knew then
    as I know now that there was a network of them,
    tortoises, all working in cahoots, stationed
    behind trees, hiding in briar patches all along
    the racing route. Nonetheless, the tortoise was
    awarded the title of fastest in the forest. And
    I'd no choice but to shake his wrinkled, little,
    green hand and congratulate him.

  • But dear fellow forest dwellers, back to the
    business at hand of this emergency meeting. As
    Smokey Bear alerted us this morning, the forest
    is burning. Time is of the essence.
  • With all due respect to the authority of this
    council, sending the tortoise as messenger to
    alert the creatures of these woods that there's a
    fire raging and they must run for their lives?
    Not the best choice in the world. The tortoise
    left three hours ago. But if you rise up onto
    your toes, you can still see him creeping along
    down there at the bottom of the hill.
  • So he cheated. And normally, I would let this
    go. Who among us has not cheated at one time or
    another? Opossum has cheated at checkers. Fox has
    cheated on his taxes. And I'm the first to admit
    that because of my own arrogance I've cheated
    myself out of your friendship.

  • But the point is we can no longer let this
    tortoise charade go on. If we don't do something
    now, lives will be lost. So just give me the OK
    to get running and as soon as I pick up my top
    hat at the blockers, fill my jogging pipe with
    tobacco, eat a light dinner of sprouts and Tam
    Tam crackers and get my retainer inserted, I'll
    be on my way. All in favor, say "aye." For the
    love of this forest and all that is good, please
    say "aye."

The Unreliable Narrator
  • Unreliable Narratora narrator whose credibility
    has been seriously compromised
  • How has the hare been compromised as a narrator?
  • Why might the author chose to have an unreliable
  • Twist ending often involve finding that a
    narrator is unreliable at the end. Why?
  • What does it do to the reader emotionally?

A Great Example of An Unreliable Narrator!
For Next Time
  • Unreliable Narrator Exercise
  • The Flip Exercise
  • Choose a character (from a movie/book/song/play
    that you like) that is generally trustworthy or
    reliable and write a part of their story from
    their point of view.
  • But, turn them into an unreliable narrator by
    using what quirks and motivations they might have
    to mold their own stories to suit their own
  • Choose a classic tale, that is generally known,
    but tell the story from the antagonists point of