By Patrick Colm Hogan
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Additional resources for Affective Narratology. The Emotional Structure of Stories
Jean-Paul Sartre refers to this experience as nothingness. Stiva’s location is not only a matter of where he is, but equally of where he is not. My first contention here is that spatiality, the “existential” experience of location, is fundamentally an emotional experience. As my character29 ization of Stiva’s place already suggests, nothingness—the judgment of where one is not but should be or should have been—is first of all a function of what one feels about locations. In this case, there are two aspects to the feeling.
Events themselves compose episodes. An “episode” in this sense is a series of events that begins and ends in temporary normalcy. Above the episode, we have stories. A story begins and ends in permanent normalcy. To understand the segmentation of incidents here, and particularly its emotional nature, it is helpful to establish the context for Stiva’s meeting with his wife. One important aspect of emotional response is that our experience of emotion does not operate on an absolute scale. It is in part a function of the gradient of change from one moment to the next.
However, even in the short term, that would not prove much of a solution. Where would he go? He could not simply remove himself to another part of the house, since Dolly could follow. If he left the house, where would he spend the night? I do not believe that this is a matter of long-term calculations, as the preceding questions might suggest. The exclusion of flight as a possible response is much the same as would occur in cases of physical threat when all escape routes pose dangers (the predator could catch me if I go right, but there is a battlefield with landmines to left).
Affective Narratology. The Emotional Structure of Stories by Patrick Colm Hogan