The Truth About Stories
In the first chapter of The Truth About Stories, King establishes the strategies for telling a “good” story. To begin, he utilizes the story of the turtle as an example of the depth of stories and that we often only understand or receive stories at “face value” without understanding how one’s story was built. In this chapter, King offers us three separate stories, and he tells each one differently, using different strategies.
Identify the three stories King offers and summarize the strategy he uses to tell each one. Determine and explain why he may have chosen each story strategy and how each one affects the depth of the story. Do you think his strategy is effective? Explain.
Choose one of King’s stories in this chapter. Summarize the story and explain how King may have utilized his symbolic “turtles” to make the story resonate with his audience. How might this story have been told to audiences of varying age, demographics, ethnicities?
What other symbols, themes, or storytelling strategies have you noticed so far? Provide examples.
The Truth about Stories
In “The Truth about Stories,” King explores how stories shape human social understanding, interaction and critical life choices. The stories dissect issues of creation, personal experiences, historical anecdotes, racism, and social injustice. These stories include the story of the turtle, the level of Ishi, and the story of Louis Owen, an Irish writer (Christopher 235). King uses rhetoric to narrate the turtle’s story, whereby he leaves the young girl unanswered when she asked the number of turtles present. King uses a “story within a story” technique to narrate the story of Ishi. He does this while delivering a speech to his audience at a small college in California to wow the audience. King narrates the story of Louis Owens, who left picking tomatoes after a mob attacked black and Native workers (Christopher 235). All the strategies affect the story similarly as they influence the audience to believed in the concepts. I think his storytelling strategy was effective because he always presented a story within the respective context to illustrate the impact of the stories on various life contexts.
King tells the story of the turtle denoting the earth as being constructed on the back of turtles. The earth is said to float in space on the back of the turtle. The story appears to change when narrated but retains its primary themes. The symbolic use of the turtle represents the unchanging face of the world. The turtles relate to the overall theme of the book, where it rejuvenates around the creation myth that culminates in the earth being supported by turtles (Christopher 237). This story differs from the Judeo-Christian myth, where King starts with a bigger picture where animals talk. The author does not prefer one story over the other but suggests that readers ought to first disregard the truth in the stories and then shoes to believe or not to believe in the stories. This story can be told to an audience of varying ages through various media such as children could be told through TV programs, and adults can read the story in books. The story also presents suspense and paradox as storytelling strategies as seen in the turtle scenario where the girl is left to make conclusion of by herself about the number of turtles and the relationship between the turtle and the world is a paradox as their dependency is unclear.
Christopher, Lindsay M. “The Truth about Stories: A Native Narrative.” (2008): 235-237.