Alterations are Part of Reality and Don’t Contradict It

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From Keesey’s Introduction to Chapter 4:

“But when we inquire how the artist has achieved this result, we seem to be faced with the paradox that it has been achieved by altering the very reality the artist claims to imitate” (211). 

I think that part of what makes literature so powerful is its ability to mimic accurately the real world and then to alter it slightly, so that those who are blind to the truth are forced to see it.  While this miniscule change to the actual order of things is what causes the epiphany for the reader (and sometimes the characters as well), the mimetic critic views this small aberration as a difficulty.  They see it almost as a bad thing.  However, I don’t think it really poses a problem.  Things in real life do deviate from how we expect them to be sometimes.  After all, how are we to define what is realistic?  If we base the idea of realism on what is normal, this is hardly realistic since there will always be someone somewhere who defies this idea of normalcy.  And if someone exists who breaks these expectations (and is therefore not “normal”), then they must be real, and therefore, are realistic.  I suppose that if one rejects things that are normal, in a sense, they are rejecting the realistic, because in life there will always be people and events which deviate from the norm.  So I guess what I’m saying is that by altering reality slightly, the artist is still realistically representing life, since almost nothing in life is 100% consistent or predictable.   

Read my classmates’ blogs. 

2 Comments

Derek Tickle said:

I agree with you, Greta!

I think that literature does a great job at teaching people about the real world, but by introducing it in a different way.

Take reading literature, for example, and how you picture the characters or events in your mind. Then, go watch that movie and see how different it is compared to the text. It is amazing how the real world differs from text.

Realistic can mean living in the real world each day or it can mean living life through dreams.

I think of it as:

No one can be perfect, so how can a text?

Sue said:

I agree that the mimetic concept is so interesting, especially since it seems to pull us toward realism and escaping reality (at least I think that's what Keesey was trying to say) In literature the author wants us to be realistic because the reader will be able to relate and identify with something that could be going on in their own lives or a piece of work allows the reader to escape into something they wish they could be.

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