J. H. Ward's life Blog

Story within a Story

The opening part of the story usually has some exposition, while the closing offers a commentary. Examples are Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, Heart of Darkness by Conrad. Cowichan Secondary English.

A story within a story is a literary device in which one character within a narrative narrates. Mise en abyme is the French term for a similar literary device. A story within a story can be used in all types of narration: novels, short stories, plays, television programs, films, poems, songs, and philosophical essays. The inner stories are told either simply to entertain or more usually to act as an example to the other characters. In either case the story often has symbolic and psychological significance for the characters in the outer story. There is often some parallel between the two stories, and the fiction of the inner story is used to reveal the truth in the outer story. Often the stories within a story are used to satirize views, not only in the outer story, but also in the real world. When a story is told within another instead of being told as part of the plot, it allows the author to play on the reader’s perceptions of the characters—the motives and the reliability of the storyteller are automatically in question. Stories within a story may disclose the background of characters or events, tell of myths and legends that influence the plot, or even seem to be extraneous diversions from the plot. In some cases, the story within a story is involved in the action of the plot of the outer story. In others, the inner story is independent, so that it can either be skipped over or be read separately, although many subtle connections may be lost. Sometimes, the inner story serves as an outlet for discarded ideas that the author deemed to be of too much merit to leave out completely, something that is somewhat analogous to the inclusion of deleted scenes with DVD releases of films. Often, there is more than one level of internal stories, leading to deeply-nested fiction.

I do this quite often when writing but to be completely honest I never have meant for it to happen, I’ve never even looked into this subject before now.

I sometimes have a thought and it leads to another and to another and towards the end it unfolds into something my readers or myself never expected.

Even like a post I just did, it may have a title and a photo that may make some think no this isn’t anything I would read about. but it may not be completly what they think because somewhere among what started off a review of a show/movie/play I insert a thought or tell about something that has happened in my life.

I could just keep it as it seems but my mind doesn’t work like that it’s always spinning, always in the works for something else. I really can’t and don’t want to control it.

I hope my style or craziness doesn’t make you think what just happened but then again I like that LOL.

3 Replies to “Story within a Story”

  1. I like reading things where the writer has added their perspective on things in the middle of everything – I think it makes it more relatable and personal 💖 I agree too, writing is not about control, it’s about letting go – in fact, all of life should be that way! 🌈

    Liked by 1 person

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