Capturing avid listeners with Aesopic fables

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"But the important difference between listening to a story and reading a book is that, while listeners simply allow the word to come to them, readers must themselves make the words move" (Bolter 76). - Writing Material


As soon as I read this line, I immediately thought back to last week when I was reading a book of Aesopic fables. Each night I read a few short tales silently, but before long I found myself reading the words aloud to myself. I even started altering my voice to give the animal characters more depth in the short fables. However much I liked reading the words by themselves, speaking them aloud and taking a bit longer to create individual voices while I read allowed the fables to come alive to me, just as Bolt writes above.

Bolt goes on to discuss Homeric tales of heroes and how these stories were written, yet flexible enough to be changed to suit whichever type of audience was listening to them. When I would read the fables aloud to myself I often imagined that I was reading a bedtime story to a group of children, or to some children in a library reading group. I could picture some of their faces: boys that were excited about a donkey trying to be a lapdog, and girls laughing at silly maids wanting to sleep in. If I could visualize what fables different children liked, then I could change my "funny voices" to play the perfect part to better catch their attention. This is similar to what ancient readers would have done when judging their audiences to make sure they were still interested, rather than nodding off in their seats.

To read what my classmates thought of this section, click the picture below.

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2 Comments

Megan Seigh said:

I too have visualized telling certain stories to a specific kind of audience. If the book I am reading has a lot of adult content but I want a younger audience to hear the story, then I have imagined what parts of the story I would leave and and what other parts I may altar for them to better understand.

Jessie Krehlik said:

I've always enjoyed reading plays aloud rather than silently. It's not the same as fables, but I think the same principles apply. Although there's a lot of value in reading a play rather than watching it, when you read it aloud it definitely adds a lot to the experience, especially when it's done as a class or group activity.

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This page contains a single entry by MadelynGillespie published on January 27, 2010 8:30 PM.

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