Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How Plot Affects the Reader's Experience

In this short treatise, Belnap gives a cogent discussion of how the structure of a plot affects the reader's experience and how it relates to the period in which the work was created. To illustrate his thesis, the author used Shakespeare's King Lear and Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment.

In King Lear, Belnap discusses the use of characters and how scenes such as recognition scenes or reconciliation scenes affect the audience. I found the discussion fascinating. It made me think about how Shakespeare structures both scenes and characters to get the reaction he wants from the audience.

In Crime and Punishment, Belnap discusses how effectively Dostoevsky works with the psychological plot to draw the reader into the murder committed by Raskoinkov. His discussion highlighted for me how Dostoevsky uses thoughts and feelings to increase the tension leading up to the final act.

The treatise by Belnap is preceded by a long introduction by Robin Feuer Miller. Although the introduction is informative, I found Belnap's discussion easier to follow. I particularly enjoyed how he introduced other books and authors to illustrate the points he made primarily using Shakespeare and Dostoevsky.

I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys literature either writing or reading. It will enhance your understanding of how authors work to draw you into their fiction.


I received this book from Net Galley for this review.