GCSE English-Moments of change: Why metamorphosis is central to storytelling.
‘’Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.’ (Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng).
How many points of change and intrigue can you identify in the above? Remember it is the first line of a novel and must create interest and engage the reader sufficiently for them to read on.
Moments in writing are points of change. But what are these changes? What could they signify? How can you talk about moments? Think about some useful ideas or words to help you talk about moments in texts. Here are a few thoughts, all similar, all potentially revealing:
The revelation. A character realises something important. This will show in their speech or actions or both. The Detective learns a truth about a situation. Recognises the truth or the pregnant lie. Creates change. New direction. Undermines the old life values or direction. A character realises they want something other than their previous life. A revelation implies enlightenment of some sort. For example Scrooge and his evolving relationship to time as symbolised through the ghosts.
An epiphany. Similar to a revelation but with a more spiritual slant. Or something huge in terms of life choice perhaps. The drama may be huge or low key depending on how this happens and to whom the moment applies. Scrooge again. Elizabeth Bennet at Pemberley and meeting Darcy’s housekeeper. Then Darcy saves her family from Wickham.
A moment can be a pivotal event in terms of plot. You might want to think about the way a character’s thoughts or actions anticipate something else. Foreshadowing, expectation, anticipation, reinforcement. Sheila’s avowal that the working class are ‘people’ in the first Act. Beginning of her moral growth and opposition to her intransigent, heartless family.
Turning point. Leading to consequences. Character development or Arcs. For example, Macbeth meets the witches, then he talks to his wife and as a consequence sees the knife and reads it as a confirmation of his murderous destiny.
Like revelation or epiphany. Something life changing. Macbeth meets sees Banquo. Falters and progressively unravels. Elizabeth Bennet reads Darcy’s letter about Wickham. All her preconceptions about Darcy are transformed. Adjustment and moral growth follow/ ensue.
Evolution of character. Progression. Maturity. Sheila in Inspector Calls. Or opposite, downfall. Fatal flaws or fallibility shown. Macbeth yielding to his lower self. Dr Jekyll’s self-pity. Remember in a text, MOMENTS take place within the SCHEME of the text. Deliberately alter the meaning of the character or events. Might be subtle or dramatic.
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