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And That Was That
“Call me Ishmael.”
“You dont know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that aint no matter.”
Two of the most famous starting sentences ever, recognizable to most, and the significance of it, you ask? These sentences set the tone for all novels; they set up the whole narrative of a book. Without these the book wouldn’t flow as well and in turn the reader wouldn’t understand what is going on. The narrative of a book is defined as the method of recapitulating last experiences. Many things go into trying to create that best selling novel it all begins with the overall narrative structure and ends with the “Coda.” These structures were thought up by many historic novelists including William Labov and Aristotle to name a couple. Their views on this subject have gone on to shape the way in which many novels, comics, and stories are written.

A good narrative has six main components that make it flow with details that give the reader or listener the answer to all their questions. These include the following:

1. Abstract
2. Orientation
3. Complicating Action
4. Evaluation
5. Result or Resolution
6. Coda
The Abstract is the narrator summarizing the story up in one or two sentences, giving the reader the rundown on what is about to come in the story. An example of this is shown in the book Language in the Inner City by William Labov:

a My brother put a knife in my head.
b Like kids, you get into a fight
c and I twisted his arm up behind him.
d This was just a few days after my father died…
Here the narrator gives an abstract and then at the end of the part in section d. This particular narrative could have just as well begun with section d as it could with a. Both of those sections start up the story and summarize what is to come. The orientation of the narrative identifies the setting, the where, the when, and the who. This sometimes is done in the first one or two sections, but it is usually placed at deliberate places to get the most out of the story. It is quite common to sometimes find what was going on before, like earlier in the day before the narrator got into his real story, they are just giving you some background information. The codas are parts of the story that tells the reader that it is the end of the piece. Two of the most commonly used ones are “and that was that” or “and that — that was it, you know.” The codas also can provide the effects that the events had on the narrator, such as the one below given about a fight:

I was given the rest of the day off.
And ever since then I haven’t seen the guy
�cause I quit.
I quit, you know.
No more problems.
The purpose of many codas is to connect the holes between the moment of time at the end of a narrative and the present. They bring the narrator and the reader back to the point at which they entered the narrative. They close off the succession of complicating actions and indicate that none of the events that followed were important to the narrative. These codas prevent the reader from asking to themselves, “Then what happened?” because it was just told what had happened.

Conceivably the most important part of a narrative is the means used by the narrator to indicate the point of the whole story, why it was told, and where the narrator was getting at. This doesn’t always happen when you are telling your friends a story about what happened yesterday though; you can always tell if there is no evaluation because you will get hit back with, “So what?” then of course you feel like an idiot for telling them a pointless story and from then on you make sure that ever story you tell after that has a point to it. So in every book the narrator is trying to ward off that “so what?” instead they want the reader to ask, “He did what?” or something similar expressing their interest in the story. A complete narrative begins with an orientation, next is the complicating action, is suspended at the focus of the evaluation before the resolution, lastly concludes with the resolution and then returns the listener to the present time with the coda. Narratives can be looked at as answers to a bunch of questions:

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Whole Narrative Of A Book And Purpose Of Many Codas. (April 9, 2021). Retrieved from