State of affairs dynamics in prose fiction
This thesis is a linguistic/ontological inquiry into narrative dynamics. Particular attention is drawn to elucidating the mechanism for recognising story events as one reads narrative discourse. The overall discussion is a criticism of formal approaches to narrative dynamics which tend to make observations on the assumption that there is a fixed relation between language form and meaning (e.g. the distinction between events and non-events in narrative circumstances). As two possible factors responsible for preventing formal analysts from taking an elastic view of story-event structure in narrative, I point out overly metalinguistic and metatemporal attitudes held by many narrative poeiticians, grammarians and formal semanticists. The recognition of narrative dynamics is primarily concerned with our concept of time, so that this thesis focuses a good deal of attention on explicating how time can be conceptualised in narrative. The basic component of the argument, therefore, is made up of ontological observations concerning time, event, and change, which are mainly made in Chapters 3 and 5. This thesis concludes that overly metalinguistic and metatemporal approaches to narrative dynamics tend to be fallacious, and that it is the commonsensical view that counts in the recognition of the event structure in narrative discourse. A hypothetical stance I adopt in constructing a narrative theory is the viewpoint of the ordinary reader of narrative fiction who is not formally trained, and therefore, does not necessarily respond to narrative texts in a highly metalinguistic or metatemporal way. The importance of assuming the ordinary reader's viewpoint for the proper recognition of the story-event structure of narrative is referred to in many different respects throughout the thesis.