ERIC Number: ED458620
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
"Based on a True-Story": Using "The Ballad of Frankie Silver" To Teach the Conventions of Narrative.
The distinction between fiction and nonfiction focuses on the aspect of literature teachers usually emphasize when teaching it to students: content. It is equally important, however, for students to understand the "mechanics" of literature, including how a writer crafts his or her material and how the text establishes expectations in a reader. Examining a narrative drawn from fact, such as Sharyn McCrumb's 1998 novel, "The Ballad of Frankie Silver," can deepen students' understanding of what writers do, how writing works, and why literature matters. The story operates on two levels, and by weaving together the two, McCrumb has created a unique work which bridges the fact/fiction gap. This paper shows how a reader of "The Ballad of Frankie Silver" can explore differences in the purpose, technique, and reader response of fictional and nonfictional material in one book. The paper recounts the novel's origins in a true story of an 1832 murder in North Carolina and discusses another book with the same theme, "The Untold Story of Frankie Silver" by Perry Deane Young. It recommends having students read and compare both books. The paper suggests that students scrutinize how McCrumb weaves primary written sources into her text, noting that they can learn a lot about how narrative is shaped and the decisions a writer makes in shaping it from examination of the original materials. It discusses in detail several aspects of the plot. The paper reiterates that reading McCrumb's novel and Young's book and examining original case materials can help students understand the workings of narrative, including theme, point of view, and multi-layered plots, as well as readers' differing expectations for fiction and nonfiction. (NKA)
Descriptors: Fiction, Historical Interpretation, Literary Devices, Literature Appreciation, Nonfiction, Reader Response, Secondary Education, Writing for Publication
For full text: http://www.ferrum.edu/thanlon/truestory.htm.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A