Inevitable Monolith of a Story

I thought that the theme behind Conversation About Bread was interesting because it applies to everything that we read or watch on TV. It questions whether it is possible to write a story about race, class, religion, gender, etc., without creating a monolith out of the group being discussed. One of the short story’s main characters, Eldwin, worded it best; “Didn’t every story provide a narrow representation at best and fetishize somebody at worst?” This was the epiphany that Eldwin came to toward the end of the story, after realizing that he couldn’t write his friend Brian’s story without also writing the story of every other black kid from the South.

If you look closely, you can see this issue in every TV show, movie, novel, or short story that focuses on the issue of a power binary. Everyone experiences different things, so everyone has a different story. Yet, when someone introduces a story about an individual, it is often generalized and applied to an entire group. This is because each reader views each story from a different perspective, and thereby gains a different interpretation of it. In my opinion, the issue is not necessarily with the writer in the creation of a monolith, but with the reader.

3 thoughts on “Inevitable Monolith of a Story

  1. Tao Tao S.

    I think your conclusion is fascinating. That the problem is within the viewer. I think this brings up the question of if anything can be individual or will an experience always be generalized and compared to another.

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  2. Emma L

    I thought this was a really interesting take on this short story and it’s something I hadn’t thought about. I remember each time one of my extended family members would ask me about the content of the America to Me documentary, and what my take was, I would always respond with something along the lines of “I’ve never experienced any of this because I’m white, so I really don’t know and can’t give an inside perspective”. I bring this up because whenever I was asked that I felt like it wasn’t my story to tell, so I didn’t, similar to what you talk about in this post.

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  3. GRACE WERTHMANN

    I agree with your take on the story. It is hard to retell a story that isn’t yours because you did not live it. The reader is doing the best they can to be honest and truthful with the story and when it gets taken out of context, it is usually the reader that does so.

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