Narrative Representation and Comprehension

Authored by: Arthur Graesser , Jonathan M. Golding , Debra L. Long

Handbook of Reading Research

Print publication date:  March  2016
Online publication date:  April  1996

Print ISBN: 9781138834262
eBook ISBN: 9780203447772
Adobe ISBN: 9781136610745


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When people engage in conversations and interact socially, they frequently convey narratives of interesting experiences. These narratives refer to event sequences that either the speaker experienced, another person experienced, or a fictitious character would experience. Listeners want to know what happened (the plot) and why it is important (the point). Narratives are designed to satisfy a number of communicative objectives such as making a point, entertaining the listeners, griping, provoking an argument, or preventing embarrassing silences. In contrast, conversations are rarely sustained by definitions, comparison/contrasts, logical arguments, and other forms of expository discourse.

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