Monday, April 14, 2014

What is the truth?

“The story that follow is true.” This statement immediately got me thinking about the recent discussions we’ve had regarding what constitutes the truth in a narrative and the differences between fiction and non-fiction. Because I knew before opening the book that it was written by a third party about true events, I was skeptical that the author was claiming that his narrative was the truth. I quickly began to challenge myself to accept that even in works of fiction like this one there can be some truth. I liked the idea that we ended on in the last class that there is no essential event of which everything is just some biased version. Regardless of the inevitable bias that comes from a persons recounting of a particular event, their experience is no less true than the completely different account that comes from a different perspective. The one thing that frustrated me about Lansing’s book is the fact that he mentions that he has all of the diaries from the expedition members along with a great deal of other resources and information. Similarly to the epilogue of Albanov’s book, I felt like I wanted to see the information in the diaries and draw my own conclusions from them. I recognize, however, that Lansing’s goal was to create a narrative, and felt as though the first page defense of the truth in his narrative made me more willing to accept his account of expedition even though he was not there to experience it first hand.

1 comment:

  1. When I read Lansing's introduction, I was also struck by how aggressively he argued that the following story would be true, and was supported by an abundance of evidence. When Lansing mentioned that the expedition members should in no way be held responsible for any inconsistencies that may have crept into the book, however, it immediately made me think about what Lansing may have changed (or chosen not to include) from diaries to suit his narrative. I wonder if "truth" was always his ultimate goal. I don't necessarily think that this bias detracts from the story, but when truth is being predominantly advertised, it's a factor that is definitely worth being discussed.