Storytelling and Interpretation

  • Created by: lydia82
  • Created on: 21-01-19 10:40
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  • Storytelling and Interpretation
    • Main Points
      • The Mariner stops one of every three people he sees
        • The tale is too compelling that listeners have to listen
      • After his experience, he feels doomed so much that he has a burning urge to tell his story, but speech and storytelling is portrayed as a power and blessing
      • 'Strange power of speech'- he doesn't tell his story just to tell it but as a way of communicating in order to save others
        • This can be related to normal storytelling as writers feel compelled to tell their stories in order to communicate
        • Simultaneous curse and blessing of storytelling is a metaphor
      • Poem shows that stories have unique powers of communication
        • It is a story within a story
          • It provides a frame where we can hear the Mariner's story and see its affect on the Wedding Guest
        • They can change and improve people
      • Also investigates the human compulsion to interpret stories
        • Both readers and characters try to interpret the information that they are given
        • It shows that interpretation carries risks- when the Albatross was killed, the crew assumed that it was justified and right, yet they were then killed
      • Coleridge annotated his own poem
        • Shows the limitations of interpretations
          • Like the Mariner must appreciate nature for its entirety, readers must appreciate texts for what they are instead of interpreting it for themselves which can reduce it and lessen its power
    • He holds him with his skinny hand,'There was a ship,' quoth he.
      • The Mariner has stopped one of the wedding guests- he just starts telling the story straight away
      • Shows how storytelling has the power to enthrall listeners
      • The wedding guest becomes invested even before he starts telling the tale and it grips him just the same as his skinny hand
    • I pass, like night, from land to land;I have strange power of speechThat moment that his face I see,I know the man that must hear me:To him my tale I teach.
      • Here, storytelling is shown as a way of teaching
        • The power of speech allows the Mariner to hold his listeners captive and the story can have an impact on their lives
      • Shows that eyes can be used as a way of communicating as he knows who to tell his story to by looking at the faces
    • 'God save thee, ancient Mariner!From the fiends, that plague thee thus! – Why look'st thou so?'- With my cross-bow I shot the Albatross.
      • This introduces the Albatross
        • The wedding guest cuts in here as he can see that the Mariners face looks in agony
          • Instead of the Mariner telling us of his agony, he makes the wedding guest tell it instead
            • This build tension and anticipation
      • Another notion into seeing why he killed the albatross is the Mariner gives into human desire to interpret the existence of the albatross
        • He cannot distinguish its existence, whether it is natural, supernatural, an omen etc SO he kills it to force it into one category- it is dead
      • Also look at Sin and Penance, The Mundane and the Sublime
    • With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,We could nor laugh nor wail;Through utter drought all dumb we stood! I bit my arm, I sucked the blood, And cried, A sail! a sail!
      • Here, Coleridge uses 5 lines instead of 4 or 6 and the alliteration makes the stanza flow beautifully
        • The power of storytelling can represent the sublime here and suggests that the nature is beautiful
    • 'Is it he?' quoth one, 'Is this the man?By him who died on cross,With his cruel bow he laid full lowThe harmless Albatross.…Quoth he, 'The man hath penance done,And penance more will do.'
      • After the mariner's spiritual realization, he is thrown into fit
        • He hears two voices
          • They are basically bitching about him and what he has done
      • Demonstrates how overt Coleridge's storytelling is
        • One of the voices says that he has done penance and will do more
          • The poem ultimately implies that the Mariner's penance is never ending
    • The Mariner, whose eye is bright,Whose beard with age is hoar,Is gone: and now the Wedding-GuestTurned from the bridegroom's door. He went like one that hath been stunned,And is of sense forlorn:A sadder and a wiser man, He rose the morrow morn.
      • Despite the Mariner's age, he still has an urge to communicate his tale
      • Can also show that the age and experience of someone who is telling the story can change the way we interpret it, the wedding guest becomes wiser from it


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