The Who? The What? (Blog 9)

Dear old Jahn says that a narrative text can be subdivided into the narrator’s discourse and the characters’ discourse: The narrator’s discourse comprises all the telling of nonverbal events and, if applicable, “evaluative or commentatorial statements”; (as an aside, many of the phrases Jahn uses aren’t English. He’s making them up. Can anyone do that?) the characters’ discourse is made of “verbal events/words” (Jahn N8.1). An example of both types can be found in pretty much any story. In the brain tank that is Don Quixote, the following is such an example: “[1] By now, Don Quixote had come to his senses and, in the same tone of voice that he’d used the day before to call his squire when lying in the Vale of Staffs, he called out to him with the words: [2] ‘Sancho, friend, do you sleep? Do you sleep, friend Sancho?’ ‘How am I supposed to sleep, damn it,’ retorted Sancho boiling with fury, ‘when anyone would think all the devils in hell have been messing with me?’” (Cervantes 129). [1] would be an example of the narrator’s discourse, where a nonverbal telling of events is taking place, and [2] would be an example of the characters’ discourses, where the characters are engaging in verbal communication.

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