Metanarrative Project

Endless narratives

By Ashlee Bagnell

Metanarratives are a strange and complicated world of narratives and fictions that explore the deepest and most intricate portions of literature. When I speak of literature, I don’t simply mean books but also the other forms of art that have come out of the digital age. Over the course of this semester, I have explored meta works in all forms. From podcasts to short stories we have defined what makes something “Meta.” This is a hard distinction to make. Metanarratives and metafiction are classified by their multi-layered narratives. (We have been alluding to Inception and Russian Nesting Dolls for comparison.)

In Brigit Neumann’s article Metanarration and Metafiction, she clarifies the difference between the functions of Metanarratives and Metafiction by stating “metafictionality designates the quality of disclosing the fictionality of a narrative, metanarration captures those forms of self-reflexive narration in which aspects of narration are addressed in the narratorial discourse, i.e. narrative utterances about narrative rather than fiction about fiction”(1) But even with a clear understanding of the meta’s, there was a theme that I came across in some of the meta works that we covered that made me consider the role of the narrator in a meta piece. In Stranger than Fiction, Serial, and Supernatural Season 4 Episode 18 “The Monster at the End of the Book”the narrator and the narrated experience direct conflict.

 By analyzing the framework of the narratives, the bias of the narrator, and the voices of those being narrated the meaning of the story can’t be found simply in the narration but it is relative to the perception of all of the voices involved in the narrative as a whole.

In a look in to truth and narratives, Thomas E. Ricks noted that “Ideas are almost always true or false. Narratives are successful or not, interesting or not, influential or not, but narratives do not rely upon truth-value for their success.” I found the idea that truth was irrelevant and meaning was what drove narratives forward.  I took this complicated theory and ran with it. Below are my three evaluations of the aforementioned works and how the narrator vs narrated conflict plays out.

Serial: Sarah Koenig vs Adnan Syed

Stranger Than Fiction: Harold Crick Vs Karen Eiffel

Supernatural: The Monster at the End of the Book: Sam and Dean vs Chuck