Exposition (Blog 3, 6/8)

(Was absent for Religious reasons.)

There are many ways to construct a narrative. One such mode is called a “matrix narrative”: this is where the narrative contains an “embedded” narrative or “hyponarrative” (Jahn N2.4.1). An “embedded” narrative or “hyponarrative” can serve a number of functions, one of which is “exposition”: where “the hyponarrative provides information about events that lie outside the primary action line of the matrix narrative (specifically, events that occurred in the past)” (Jahn N2.4.6). Guillermo Samperio illustrates the effective usage of exposition in his story, “She Lived in A Story.” In the story, the writer Guillermo Sagovia is driving home after having given a lecture to a gathering of students when the narrator breaks from the present time of the text to reveal information about Segovia: “Guillermo Segovia had just turned thirty-four; he had three books of stories, a novel and a series of newspaper articles published domestically and abroad, especially in France, where he received his degree in literature. Returning to Mexico six years before his speech at the Academy, he had married Elena, a young Columbian researcher, with whom he had two children. On his return, the writer took a job at a newspaper, while his wife worked at the National University of Mexico. They rented a small house in old Coyoacan, where they lived comfortably” (Samperio 57). This quote breaks from the primary narrative, and is “embedded” into the larger narrative, in order to expose information about the character of Guillermo Segovia and, more specifically, about his past. The exposition gives Guillermo’s age (“just turned thirty-four”) and it tells of his literary accomplishments (“he had three books …”). The exposition tells of how long it has been since Guillermo returned to Mexico (“six years”), where he now lives (“Mexico”), and reveals the makeup of his family: a wife (“Elena”) and two children. The exposition tells the specific locale of his home (“Coyoacan”) and the nature of his living arrangements (“small house …”). All of this exposition is background information, mostly about past events, and operates in the backdrop of the primary narrative: Guillermo’s arc of travelling home and beginning work on his new story.

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