Monthly Archives: September 2015

An Introduction and Some Thoughts on a Life Narrative.

My name is Will Shelling and I’m a resident of Vancouver, BC. I’m a first year student at the University of British Columbia where I am studying Arts and would potentially major in one of the many social science programs that UBC has to offer. I am an avid fan of jazz music, in particular Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. I am also a fan of the San Francisco Giants baseball team, mostly due to my upbringing in America. I enjoy singing and acting in theatrical productions, and talking with friends about anything from politics to food.

One of the questions on my mind regarding the a life narrative is that of perspective. Namely, how does perspective play a role in the telling of a life narrative? It’s fairly easy for one to give a statement on their situation or major event in recent history, but how does perspective shape that narrative? Does it skew the story in the favor of the storyteller, or does it embellish on some facts that otherwise may have been considered “unimportant” or “irrelevant”. Many famous works such as the biography, 12 Years a Slave written by Solomon Northrup have provided an accurate account of social events and cultural norms in other time periods, but other forms of media such as film have changed certain facts about those instances. ( The film version of 12 Years a Slave, has changed the narrative of the author’s life by not only changing the point of view from a first person one to a third person perspective, but by showing the entire situation. How does it change our view of Northrup’s life narrative and in essence, our own views on the time period?

Another question that comes to mind concerning life narratives is a social one. What is distinguished as important in our own life narrative and what isn’t? The advent of social media has made it significantly easier for people to comment on events in another’s life, but it’s also made it more complicated. We can easily post something on Facebook that we regard as interesting to ourselves, but the impact of that one single small event, can either make a brilliant change in our lives, such as the birth of a child, or can be more less significant, like a photo of a cat rolling on a table. Is the basis of a life narrative based in that of many small, seemingly unimportant events strung together in a temporal view that create our story, or is it several major events, spaced widely apart that showcase our individual changes as major, rather than gradual?