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Narrative as the Reflection of Inner Nature of the Humanity

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We are creatures that live on narratives, entertained by the stories we hear and directed by the stories we believe about ourselves and the world. They are fundamental to thinking and are a part of everyday communication to convey any message. In these messages, the elements of a narrative may not be obvious but are inferred through personal identification with the situation.Narratives are ideologically driven and can be used to legitimise the values of particular groups. They enter and create other worlds helping us to better understand our own.

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Narratives are an enticing pathway for representing, understanding and engaging with society and its ideas. Through narratives we explore human interactions, their motives and reactions, whilst inspiring change or consolidating stability through displaying issues that may be present now or in the future. Most of all stories connect content with emotion. Reinvigorating memories and placing us into the characters shoes, igniting experiences that can be used to make judgements and trigger actions that can only be discovered through the power of stories.

As a tale of betrayal, suspected infidelity, and murder, Othello makes a powerful statement about human nature. Certainly, this Shakespearean play was made in 1603, however, its controversial themes continue to retain their relevance in our modern world. Some of the themes in Othello that impact the way we see the world today include those relating to relations, jealousy, domestic violence, racism, betrayal, and corruption. In the play, othello (a moor) must defend his courtship and subsequent marriage to desdemona (a white elizabethan women). Invariably, the theme of domestic violence focuses our thoughts on the male-female dynamic in a relationship. Shakespeare explores female suffering against the backdrop of male paranoia (othello slaps desdemona), leading us to question how we choose our closest confidants and how we approach domestic relationships.

In othello we are widely connected and involved in the narrative. We are basically hand in hand with iago as he manipulates and controls every character in the plot. During this we engage in a first hand experience of how people think and react, actively grasping the dynamics of human understanding and how the actions of individuals can cause certain reactions. Collectively, because all of us have felt like outsiders at some point, we wonder if we are that vulnerable and easily manipulated. Correspondingly, othello is referred to not by his name but by racist epithets like “the moor”, “thick lips”, “old black ram” and “barbary horse” – which is an affront to modern sensibilities. The difficult reality about othello from a racial perspective is that othello eventually becomes a villian and murders his innocent wife. Consumed by the worst kind of jealousy, misogyny and patriarchy he turns on everyone around him. It was understood that he was returning to his old savage moorish roots.

But what makes the story so powerful, is that it is infact a manipulative venetian society, embodied through iago, which tears him away from his cultural morality. It was his roots that made him the respected and loved man that he was. So after watching him self destruct, it is painful to see as it bought so much relevance to today and how many other men (not just african men) are similarly twistest and pushed to their limits by an equally alienated society. This greatens our awareness to how racism impacts societal harmony. For me othello is all about power and when i think about iago, i think about the structures of power which marginalize and consume the minority. That is the message of othello at large, it’s about fake news, it’s about alternative facts. So part of the fear we feel today, with the 45 president in america and the rise of right winged political movement, is intolerance and the places that we come from.

In a way it mirrors what’s happening in the play, the play is rife with intolerances, the play is rife with empire and violence, it is rife with how all the political, economical and social ruptures play out in the ordinary lives of other people. These are the sort of attributes a narrative contains that make shaping our understanding of the world so evident and powerful.When comparing new boy to othello they are polar opposites (in the sense that othello deals with the adult dynamics of thinking) and new boy mainly focuses of the (child dynamics). This broadens the spectrum and allows further understanding of how the other half of society responds to issues in their environment.

In the narrative ‘Osei’ the son of a Ghanaian diplomat, finds that he’s the only black student in a “parade of pink-and-cream suburban Americans.” From the outset his presence in this homogenous environment causes friction as he’s therefore isolated and subjected to racism – some of it direct, a lot of it casual. the novel explores the personality of a boy isolated by racial difference even from the school teachers; they joke between themselves saying, “I think I hear drums”, “afraid even to touch his skin” and “Given her a taste for chocolate milk?” which is breathtaking. It speaks volumes in regards to the issue of race in contemporary politics and society.

Osei is the outsider whose treatment bears distinctly uncomfortable parallels with the experience of black people and migrants today. The schoolyard is but a micro stage of the larger national and international stage inhabited by adults. This creates a profound depiction of adult versus child paradigms, and how they clash, especially with regard to race. Looking at it from a different angle, if you were to strip away the adults in this novel and have only children remaining, race would not have been a factor at all. Really, the only people who subjectified Osie, were the adults (certain teachers and parents alike). And if there is a child on the playground that showed racist tendencies, it was correctly shown that those attitudes were learned. So the underlying fact is that children learn racism from adults, it is an inherited concept not a preconceived one. In thinking about the central themes, children experience the same issues just on a different level and without the filters, adults carefully construct to appear neutral. In a world where children really do not have any control new boy identifies a place where they do and adults have only nominal control (the playground).

This book arguably expresses the idea that we don’t listen to children enough. Children see the world with a clarity that adults often forget they also once enjoyed. Children are still innocent and therefore freer and more open-minded. They see people not for the colour of their skin but for how that person respects them. I think the greatest tragedy in life is an adult forgetting what it was like to be a child. It’s a perfect example of how powerful literature can be, because it transports you to a place you’ve already been, yet still teaches you something entirely new. All in all, Chevalier demonstrates that the colour of racism has hardly even altered its shade in four hundred years. She focuses on children, on the cusp of adolescence, a time of insecurities when egos are newly formed and fragile.

This narrative is especially powerful for teenagers and adults alike because it reinvigorates some of the nostalgia that you may have forgotten about. Simultaneously, highlighting how a difference in society shapes our understanding of outsiders and where we learn that behavior from.Narratives shine a light on some of the biggest issues marginalised communities feel today. What it does is provide a bridge between old and new generations and establish a common medium for one and another to understand each other and how the world operates Both of these texts are just a small example of how narratives explore stories from past and present eras illuminating and conveying ideas, attitudes and values. Helping us to realise how much power and influence they play in shaping our understanding of the world.

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