Browsing by Subject "fiction"

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  • Abu, Adeyemi Samuel (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    In his 1951 essay on Auschwitz, “Cultural Criticism and Society,” Theodor Adorno wrote: “To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric.” In his 1989 article, “Art and the Holocaust: Trivializing Memory,” Elie Wiesel argues that art should be silent about the Holocaust for Auschwitz defeated both culture and art and only those who lived through it can transform it into knowledge. About art Wiesel says bluntly: “stop insulting the dead.” These views expressed by both Adorno and Wiesel mark an uneasy ethical attitude towards genocide, which is often seen as a constant cause of ethical anxiety. They both understood genocide as untranslatable and unspeakable. To them, therefore, art or imaginative literature should embrace silence. This thesis interrogates these ethical concerns in relation to the Rwandan genocide as an event and writing about the genocide as art. Using a comparative ethical approach, this thesis examines two narratives about Rwandan genocide, namely Philip Gourevitch’s We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will be Killed with Our Families (1998), a factual report, and Boubacar Boris Diop’s Murambi, the Book of Bones: A Novel (2000), to explore various ethical dimensions concerning genocidal writings as well as to engage criticisms against imaginative literature as being capable of bearing witness to genocide. This thesis raises three fundamental questions that concern ethics and writing about genocide: should or can genocide be the subject of literary enquiry? Can literature bear witness to genocide and at the same time preserve the memory of the victims? Why should literature speak if genocide is considered unspeakable? This thesis argues that art has the psychological and ethical capabilities of capturing the horrors of genocide and must, therefore, bear witness to it. The study reveals that the literary response of the novel to the Rwandan genocide may take the reader closer to the heart of the tragedy than a factual report. The point of writing about genocide is clear: it is to increase our empathy for those affected, to see where we failed in our collective humanity and to say “never again”. Good literature has the creative and psychological power to bear witness to genocide, and at its best, it can confront and express the inexpressible.
  • Miettunen, Jaakko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    This study investigates what kind of representations of teachers' are constructed in fiction. Previous research indicates that fiction is as powerful as nonfiction in changing peoples' attitudes, beliefs and opinions. The main concept used as a tool for analysis is representation. Representation is as well as an individual mental model of an element, for example teachers', it also shared. Representation is a process in which also TV-series take part in constructing. Representations are also inscribed in wider discourses. In Finland in literature, TV and movies there has been many teacher characters and, despite their well-esteem status in society, their representation has been mainly negative as is evidenced by labels such as discipline keeper or dictator-like. In Anglo-Saxon movies and TV-series teachers' representation is on the contrary mainly positive e.g. charismatic and heroic. This study examines how teachers are represented in a TV-series called Uusi päivä (New day, 2010-) and if the representations relate to earlier representations. The data used for the analysis was five consecutive episodes of the series from the third season (2012 autumn). Characters web-profiles were analyzed. Data was recorded and transcribed. The analysis concentrates on teacher characters' interaction and with other interlocutors. The analysis was made with qualitative approaches of content analysis and discourse analysis. The results of this study are multiple. Two main categories of teachers' representations were identified. These representations were artist teachers and normal teachers. The juxtaposition of these groups was made in discursive forms but also in the plot of the series. Compared to the traditional representation of teachers the artist teacher's representation is more positive and has Anglo-Saxon influences. The normal teachers seem to be following the Finnish tradition. Both of these representations are not only one sided but rather caricature like representations of earlier representations. Teachers' relationship with students is either friendly (artists) or discipline keeping (normal) oriented. The TV-series reflects societal issues such as school reforms and constructs an "appropriate" cultural model for activism.
  • Tarkiainen, Laura; Heino, Eveliina; Tapola-Haapala, Maria; Kara, Hanna (2022)
    This article focuses on the analysis of 14 social work students’ MA course assignments using Lucia Berlin’s short story entitled ‘Good and Bad’. Our focus is twofold: We ask 1) How do social work students describe their learning when analysing Berlin’s short story; and 2) what kinds of skills do they identify as resulting from this learning? Our analysis indicates that social work students view the use of works of fiction in social work instruction as useful for their education in two key ways. First, in most cases, students found that analysing fiction enhanced their analytical strategies, such as advancing their ability to think critically and apply theoretical knowledge in practice. Second, students viewed the analysis of fiction as helpful in adopting skills relevant to social work practitioners, referring, for example, to emotional labour and to operating in situations that involve conflicting interpretations. We conclude that the use of fiction in social work education is beneficial when students are given explicit guidelines regarding how to place fiction into the context of academic theories, scientific knowledge and epistemological considerations. In addition, to enhance students’ learning, encouraging students to self-reflect is vital to discussing their reflections and interpretations in face-to-face encounters.
  • Landert, Daniela; Säily, Tanja; Hämäläinen, Mika (2023)
    This study presents a method for identifying words that appear in corpus data earlier than their first date of attestation in dictionaries. We demonstrate the application of this method based on a large diachronic corpus, the TV Corpus, and the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Combining automatic extraction of candidate terms from the TV Corpus with comprehensive manual analysis and verification, the method identifies 32 words that were used in TV series before their first attestation in the OED. We present a detailed discussion of these words, analysing their distribution across decades and genres of the TV Corpus, their origins, semantic domains and word-formation processes. We also present extracts with their first uses in the TV Corpus and analyse how the words were presented to the large and anonymous mass audience. Our study shows that the method we present is suitable for identifying early attestations of words in large corpora, even though in the case of the TV Corpus, a great deal of manual analysis and verification is needed. In addition, we argue that TV series and other types of fictional texts are an important resource for studying the coinage and spread of terms, due to their function and the fact that they address a mass audience.
  • Lepoaho, Sanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This thesis examines how Anthony Burgess' "A Clockwork Orange" uses depictions of violence to tell the story and how these depictions simultaneously challenge the reader to examine their own relationship to violence as well as society’s overall attitude towards it. By using both theory on what possible positive effects depictions of violence can have on the reader and Phelan’s theory on narrative ethics, this thesis will show that the depictions of violence are necessary for the societal criticism Burgess presents in his story as well as for the reader to challenge their own expectations of the nature of violence and the people who commit violent acts. The aim of this thesis is to show why even unpleasant topics should be depicted in literature. Since the reader of fiction is able to identify with the events and the characters of the story, they are able to experience situations and emotions that would be unpleasant for them if faced with in real life, such as fear, anger and sorrow. However, because the reader knows they are not actually in any real danger, the experience of these emotions can become pleasurable. The notion that experiencing negative emotions can become enjoyable goes all the way back to Aristotle, who claimed that by feeling emotions of fear and pity in fiction (drama), the audience is able to experience catharsis and what Aristotle called “proper pleasure”. There exists a wide debate among literary critics whether matters dealing with ethics and morals are even relevant when examining a text. This thesis presents both sides of the argument: I claim that a text should be evaluated purely on its aesthetical values, but also that bad ethics in the story do not make the text worse, any more than good ethics would make a mediocre text better. A Clockwork Orange supports both of these arguments. The inventive language and references to previous literary staples such as Dante’s Divine Comedy make it an interesting piece of writing even with the questionable ethics. However, examining the story on an ethical level reveals that, especially when considering Burgess’ original, unabbreviated ending, the novel actually denounces violence instead of glorifying it. The thesis examines the novel on four different levels based on Phelan’s (2013) four aspects of narrative ethics: ethics of the told; ethics of telling; ethics of writing; and ethics of reading. The conclusion of this study is that since Burgess is in control of what is told and how, he has a responsibility of the way the violence is depicted in the story. Burgess uses language and ambiguity that distances the reader from the events, and he ends the story in a way that condemns the violence that occurs in the beginning of the story.
  • Vauhkonen, Aleksi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The thesis at hand regards the form of performance called “professional wrestling”. A professional wrestling match is where two (or more) performers or wrestlers perform a bout with a predetermined outcome in and in the close proximity of a wrestling ring in front of a live audience. Thus, the performance is a part of a fictional combat sport in that the combatants work together in order to tell a story. This thesis concentrates on the fictionality of professional wrestling but also on the role of the live audience which is active and participatory. Lastly, professional wrestling is examined in the light of theories regarding participatory art. The primary research question of this thesis is the following: can professional wrestling realize the potentials of participatory art? Even though the primary goal of this thesis is not to offer an absolute explanation of the phenomenon of professional wrestling, it is a rather alien subject in aesthetics. Thus, the goals of chapters 1 and 2 are to explain the history of professional wrestling in the United States and to attempt to categorize it in the field of the arts. In chapter 3 professional wrestling is examined in the light of Kendall Walton’s theories on fiction formatted in his Mimesis as Make-believe (1992). The chapter states that professional wrestling presents a uniform fictional world. Chapter 3 concludes in the idea that professional wrestling has in fact historically and organically engulfed its audience as a fundamental element of the fictional world it presents. Chapter 4 is a summary of the main theories regarding participatory art, the main sources on this subject being Claire Bishop’s Artificial Hells (2012) and Jacques Rancière’s The Emancipated Spectator (2011). According to Bishop’s definition, participatory art is such where people constitute the central artistic medium and material, in the manner of theater and performance. Bishop argues that the main motive of participatory art is a critique of spectacle and capitalism. According to Rancière, the ideal of participatory art is a “new theater”, where the audience’s role is to be an active and radical community audience, and even further, where the piece of art is a part of said community. The main thesis of chapter 4 is that the artworld fails to realize the ultimate goals of participatory art, for the artworld presupposes a certain power dynamic between the artist and the audience, and this dynamic leaves no room for a rancièrian “unpredictable subject”. Chapter 5 examines the role of the professional wrestling audience in the performance it is presented with. The chapter includes a thorough explanation on the participatory elements in professional wrestling and the significance of the audience regarding televised professional wrestling. The chapter especially concentrates on recent phenomena in the participation of the professional wrestling audience through case studies. The examples echo the notion that the professional wrestling audience has power that is the product of the fact that the professional wrestling audience is an element of a fictional world. Finally, chapter 5 examines professional wrestling through the ideals of participatory art formatted by Bishop and Rancière. The thesis concludes in the notion that even though professional wrestling fails to realize several ideals of participatory art, it has the potential to become an example of a rancièrian new theater. This is because unlike in participatory art where the dynamic between the artist and the audience is dictated by auxiliary contracts, in professional wrestling the audience has power which is a natural part of the fictional world presented to it. At times the professional wrestling audience can become an active and radical community audience, which is the ideal of participatory art according to Rancière. Thus, participatory art may have things to learn from professional wrestling.