Does not follow directions : resisting the narrator's lead in the novel, Ellen Foster

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jamy L. Gearhart (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
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Abstract: When readers read, it is all too easy to sink back into the comfort zone of suspended disbelief and uncritical thought. Readers may find that they are outraged or reassured over what they read, without taking the time to reflect on why the text is affecting them the way that it does or to discover if the text is even accurately portraying a situation. This thesis will review and discuss how scotosis, defined by Paula Mathieu as a “rationalized [act] of selective blindness that [occurs] by allowing information to be discounted or unexamined” (114-115), operates within the framework of the novel by Kaye Gibbons, Ellen Foster. In this novel, Ellen repeatedly denigrates the character, Aunt Nadine. Readers are led to condemn Nadine as a bad character, based solely on the way Ellen presents her. The reality is that Nadine tries to assist Ellen on several different occasions. Selective blindness can be discerned when the following questions are asked of the text: What is problematic about Ellen as a narrator? How are the characters framed? What assumptions are we asked to make? What facts are we asked to ignore? What are we expected to dismiss? At the end of this thesis, the story of Ellen Foster will be told from Aunt Nadine’s point of view, to show how radically perspective can change the tone of a story and how pertinent information can be dismissed by a reader.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Gibbons Kaye 1960-Ellen Foster--Criticism and interpretation, Point of view (Literature)
Gibbons, Kaye, 1960- Ellen Foster -- Criticism and interpretation
Point of view (Literature)

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