Discuss the Significance of stories and storytelling in both The…
in both The Penelopiad and Bombshells
sharing his tales of adventure
stories of her time in Ithaca during Odysseus' absence
The entire monologue is Penelope's chance to tell her story.
"...it's my turn to do a little story-making." p 3
"So I'll spin a thread of my own." p 4
- previously voiceless - tell their stories in many different forms. Each literary form provides a deeper understanding of their plight.
What stories are told?
Winsome tells her stories to Patrick and develops a sense of identity beyond that of a "widow"
"I found myself telling him about my life even though there didn't seem to be much to tell" p 31
Many of the women in these texts doubt the significance of their stories. They are plagued with self-doubt and a feeling of incompetence and worthlessness that, as Atwood and Murray-Smith attest, is constructed by the patriarchal systems within which they exist. :explode:
They are refusing to be silenced any longer - are they freed? The owls??
The process of Tiggy telling her story to her audience enables her to make sense of her relationship with Harry
Meryl tells the audience her story and it is frenetic and shocking and explores some hard truths about the isolation and pressure faced by mothers
However, like Winsome she feels she also has "nothing to say" and is panicked by her apparent inability to capture her husband's interest.
Zoe uses the interaction with her audience to tell of her many hardships and to prove her worth in an industry that sees ageing as a failure.
"I've got something to say..." p 36
Unlike many other characters, Zoe refuses to be silenced. Her obstinate refusal to fade into the background despite being portrayed by the media as "washed up" :explode:
What stories are told?
What stories are untold?
We don't hear of these women's successes - except for Mary!! What is it about age and experience and knowledge of "the rules" that stop women from telling the world of their achievements?
Modesty - societal expectation for women :explode:
"...me - with womanly modesty - revealing to him how well I had done at what was usually considered a man's business." The Penelopiad, p89
What purpose does storytelling serve in broader contexts?
we tell stories in order to remember our histories and to make sense of our past
We tell stories to define our sense of self:
Storytelling enables catharsis - purging of emotions,
Builds relationship between storyteller and audience
To boast - to build sense of achievement and accomplishment, to prove ourselves
The texts are 'stories' themselves.
We need to question the accuracy and truth of the narrators in both texts
What is 'truth'?
Both texts force readers to consider the existence of an objective reality as we watch stories shift and change to suit the narrator's purpose. :explode:
"For once, the stories don't lie" Penelopiad p45
The Penelopiad is a "retelling" of a myth