Framing devices

Kyla Tornheim kyla at merlin.sccs.swarthmore.edu
Thu Apr 3 11:39:55 EST 2003


On Thu, 3 Apr 2003, Robyn Starkey wrote:

> At 08:51 AM 03/04/2003 -0500, you wrote:
> >I just reread _The Hero and the Crown_, and was utterly bewildered as to
> >the precise chronology, since it's awfully vague, even though I've been
> >reading this book periodically for years. The framing device is around
> >just the first few chapters, but since Robin McKinley's writing style is
> >sort of vague (and I mean this in the nicest way possible), I was
> >thinking, "Wait.
> >
> ><spoiler space>
> >
> >I
> >'
> >m
> >
> >t
> >r
> >y
> >i
> >n
> >g
> >
> >t
> >o
> >
> >b
> >e
> >
> >p
> >o
> >l
> >i
> >t
> >e
> >
> >"So Aerin's already fighting dragons? The demon mischief is already a
> >problem? She's hiding in her room? When does she discover kenet? ....oh.
> >Now we go back about four years or so. Now she eats the surka. Now she
> >rides Talat. Now she discovers kenet. Now she starts killing dragons.
>
> Strictly speaking, this isn't a frame, this is in media res (starting the
> narrative in the middle of the story). Frames are when you start with one
> pov and narrator, who then says, I'll tell you a story, and then they go on
> to do this. Famous example: Heart of Darkness. I don't actually think Fire
> and Hemlock is really a frame narrative, either.

Okay, yeah, you're right. I just wanted to complain about it. :^)

What do you call stories-within-stories? Like _Pyramus and Thisbe_ in _A
Midsummer Night's Dream_ (although I'm not sure they *really* tell the
story during the play; the great Bernard Miles children's version I have
does, because, well, it's a children's book). Does _A Thousand and One
Nights_ (or whatever it's called) count as having a frame?

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