Prompt: Reality depends upon who is telling the story
Let’s think about the prompt
- Re-read the article on Wag the Dog. This will give you some insight into how people in a position of power seek to influence us and shape our lived realities – from a social, political, cultural perspective.
- In this prompt, we need to think about who (ordinary people with first-hand experience, people in a position of power, people who occupy positions in influential corporations with specific interests, people who research) and what story they seek to tell and why.
- People often tell stories in such a way as to present themselves in a favourable light. People tell stories for good reasons: they wish to gain support for a cause, they wish to tell their experiences about a (terrible) situation: or they tell stories for deceptive reasons: because they seek to to further their own interests, because they wish to hold onto power, or because they wish to hijack public support for a cause.
- Such stories will influence public debate; they influence the public’s thoughts and feelings; they may influence us in obvious ways, and sometimes in ways that we are not really aware of.
Our essay will be in three parts.
- An engaging beginning: The beginning must clearly relate to the prompt and give an example of story-telling. It may be personal; it may be a quote; it may be a story about someone else that we have read or heard about. See possible “stories” and beginnings. These stories will give you an idea of how to shape your own.
- Secondly, we will write two paragraphs from Wag the Dog: one paragraph will relate to the story and the technology tools used to create and manufacture a story and the narrative/sequence and one paragraph will relate to the words and slogans used to tell the story and shape our response. See short notes from Wag the Dog
- Thirdly, we will use a parallel example. And we will refer to another contrasting point. Can we resist the official narrative? How can we tell our own stories? Thanks to social media and digital technologies we can circulate our own experiences. This is the role of Raif Badawi’s wife. She escaped to Canada after her husband was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes for the “crime” of voicing his own opinions and seeking freedom of expression. It is the role of Chelsea Bradley Manning. See stories.
See Sample Essays using these notes.
- See Sample Essays: mixing and matching these notes (on lies/illusions/stories)
- See also Another Hybrid Expository.
- This one is using a persona such as a student leader. And just in case you liked the beginnings, Daniela di Toro, works as a youth leader. You could use such a persona to tell a similar story from the first-person perspective.