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pay attention to the patterns

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 1 month ago

Tropes as Forms

William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin engage their "dream machine"


Paying attention to tropes, as forms that structure our stories, helps us find irreducable patterns of information in our writing and the writer of others. At the same time, tropes are also incredibly slippery in an argument, as one turn of phrase can enable another in response. Tropes may be used intentionally in order to draw on multiple meanings, yet those multiple meanings often elude the control of the author. A trope is both a standard way to state something - a cliche, a commonplace, even a stereotype - and a particular twist or turn of phrase given to a cliche or "commonplace." When remixing each others' narratives, look for both common patterns (in order to export them from one narrative to another) and particular twists. Archetypes and tropes are both ways of orienting our attention, and by focusing your attention on the form in which you write as well as the content, you will can easily find patterns of story-telling, but also of argument and counterargument, as well. Tropes and archetypes are formal features of composition: they shape the ways we understand, and don't understand, each other, no matter how much information we share.



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