. Anagnôrisis and Other Greek Concepts: In On Poetics (the first known work of literary theory) Aristotle focuses on the concept of self-consciousness in tragic narratives through his use of the term anagnôrisis—its translation being “recognition” (Aristotle 22). Consider Aristotle’s discussion of the importance of “recognition,” “entanglements” (desis) “reversal” (peripeteia) and other Greek concepts in his theory of narrative. How might these terms apply beyond their use in a tragic narrative? When might these terms take place in “The Child Hero’s Lament” or in “Sonny’s Blues”? (Don’t forget to read Seth Benardete and Michael Davis’ footnotes!)
3. “Nothing is a One”: Aristotle suggests that a narrative can never truly account for a single person because that single person is connected to a multitude of others, each with their own stories (Aristotle 25). How do you see this at work in any one of the three narratives you read (Frank’s diary, “Sonny’s Blues” or “The Child Hero’s Lament”)? What does the interconnected nature of these narratives suggest about the development of one’s own self-consciousness?
4. What is the Poetics Really About?: Often when students consider Aristotle’s Poetics they take his work to be a literal how-to guide on how narratives ought to function—for instance, they focus on his description of the three-act story structure with a beginning, middle and end, how virtue is rewarded while wickedness is condemned, the various proper rules of a good tragedy, etc. However, how might you look at Aristotle’s Poetics as a philosophical consideration of the
10/19/22, 12:44 AM Topic: Introducing Our Thematic Frameworks
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relationship between human action, narrative, and self-consciousness? Consider Aris’ own frustration with the SWBAT (Students Will Be Able To) portion of her lesson plan (Acevedo 70). Can you quantify self-consciousness as a specific “skill” to be learned in a lesson?