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The study of narratives, and especially the original myths, is an intrinsic part of semiotics, falling under the rubric of “narratology,” defined simply as the semiotics of narratives. This chapter deals with narratological analysis in a general, non-technical way. For the semiotician, the telling of life stories is not simply a way to make conversation or to while away the hours. Stories emerge to make sense of who we are by weaving the various episodes and events of our lives and the lives of others into a story with a plot, with characters, and with settings. This imparts structure, purpose, and meaning (or lack thereof) to life in the overall scheme of things. Narrative structure might even mirror human consciousness itself. This would explain why children learn abstract concepts through the stories they are told. It might also explain why humans have produced narrative accounts throughout their history to explain who they are, why they are here, and to make sense of otherwise random and chaotic events. Interest in the origin and nature of narratives is as old as history. In ancient Greece, various philosophers viewed the foundation myths, as artful and deceitful, exalting reason and logic instead as the only trustworthy ways to gain access to reality. However, people everywhere are constantly seeking engagement in stories (through movies, television programs, novels) not only to be entertained, but also to gain insights into life through the eyes of the storyteller.
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- Now, You Tell Me About Yourself: Why Do We Tell Stories?
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