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Breaking of self-narrative as a means of reorientation?

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Abstract

Autobiographical texts written by “ordinary people” usually relate the life of the author in a more or less linear, chronological order. In narrative psychology, a coherent self-narrative is often celebrated as psychologically “good”. We suggest that sometimes incoherence may be functional. The chapter focuses on a short autobiographical text written by a middle-aged female artist “Anna” about her attempts to quit drinking and smoking. Anna’s text does not proceed chronologically but mostly making loops backwards in time. No links of cause and effect are narratively constructed. The flow of narration is repeatedly broken by ironic remarks questioning the narrator’s ability to see her real motives. We suggest that the author’s intent is to create an anti-narrative which would help her find a personally convincing new self-narrative. Breaking the conventional narrative structure serves as a psychological means to leave the past behind and yet to avoid premature commitment to a new self-narrative.

References

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