In this Blog post, I want you to practice “reading between the lines” by analyzing crucial, controversial material that is NOT found in a particular story of your choosing. Specifically, you are to write 2 paragraphs of careful, in-depth analysis on the dangers of “single stories” (to borrow pointedly from Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk), OR two paragraphs on the related issue of “master narratives” (as outlined by Derrick Aldridge in the article assigned for this dat).
For your topic, then, I want you to pointedly respond to either the TedTalk by Adichie, OR the article by Aldridge. So, you will either present an alternative “single story”, or a different “master narrative” told by historians about notable figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr. (the focus of Aldridge’s article). If you want to respond to Adichie, I want you to pick out a significant narrative “text” that is either written BY someone from another culture, or written ABOUT some person or occurrence from another place. If you want to respond to Aldridge, you should locate an account of a notable historical figure, and then see how that figure is shaped, framed, limited, or idealized into a simplified “master narrative.”
Because the goal is to use and build on the ideas of (one of) these writers,
you might very well quote them and use their ideas in your analysis, as you
explore the ways in that historical and cultural stories often create “stereotypes,
and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are
incomplete. They make one story become the only story” (as Adichie mentions in
her lecture). So, in looking at your chosen “single story” or “master
narrative”, you might ask/answer the following questions (in some way):
What other stories are there but do not get
told? What are some of the most important gaps or omissions in your
chosen story, and how can you tell? Perhaps more importantly, what are
the ramifications of these gaps for what the reader perceives to be the
“reality” of the situation, the “truth” of the society, political idea, or
historical personage in question? Putting things even more simply, if you
“read between the lines” and deconstruct the narrative (in terms of what is
seen but also NOT seen), what do you find – and why is this so important??
To answer these questions may well require a bit of research, and the key
is to bring some intellectual nuance to an overly-simplified “story”
that will, in the process, allow your reader to more fully see the “big
picture” in regards to the situation in question.