Subject Function of Small Narratives
Posted by Brian Chen
Posted on Sat Dec 12 20:56:09 1998
From IP  

Every game has its rule. Language game has its rule too. No matter whether it is grand narrative or small
narrative, the most important thing is that they have to follow the rules. Grand anrrative is what people in common,
or rather the 老百姓cannot participate in. If the official history is a kind of grand narrative, then those who
manipulate the official history will be those in power. To be more specific, the government or those who have the
power to decide how a history should be written. Then the grand narrative belongs to the small group of people.
This projects the importance of the other narrative, small local narrative. 老百姓can talk about whatever they are
interested in. The contents of the small local narrative could be truth, gossip, false information, or made-up
stories. People have the right to speak. (I wonder if people in Cummunist countries also have the small local
narrative, since they have to care more about what they speak out in oder not to get some trouble.) So, small
local narrative becomes a very imoprtant path for people to express their opinion. If the history is controlled
by those in power and they can change the events as they want, the official history loses its authenticity and
truthfulness. But, ironically, we as 老百姓have to read this untrue history to get the sense of history. So, I think
the small local narrative seems to me kind of like 野史, comparing it with the official history. Though the small
local narrative is not totally trustful, at least it provides people a way to talk, to judge, to criticize, or to boast."
No one sets the rule that a teacher has to tell the truth. A teacher's speech and lecture can be questioned. So is
a president, a policeman, a Mr. So-and-so. But, one thing I doubt is that, if the small local narrative becomes
influential, will it become one of the grand narrative?? Will it be written in the history?

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