Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

‘Bullet in the Brain’

with 3 comments

YouTube has a film version of “Bullet in the Brain,” the Tobias Wolff story I use in introductory fiction classes to show my students how a strong writer can subvert everything I’ve been teaching them about how stories work. (Big ups to PClem.)

Written by gerrycanavan

May 6, 2010 at 11:19 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Tom Noonan is a national treasure.

    Bill Simmon

    May 7, 2010 at 11:10 am

  2. a strong writer can subvert everything I’ve been teaching them about how stories work

    real quick summary of this take on the story, please?

    k-sky

    May 8, 2010 at 12:39 pm

  3. Oh, k-sky, sure. In my fiction classes I would usually do Bullet in the Brain after the lecture on perspective/point of view to show that (1) the general prohibition against switching perspectives in a story can be violated with good results (2) the usual rule that a “close” perspective like third person limited generates more sympathy for a character than a distant one like third person objective doesn’t always hold. Here, it’s only when we switch to the much more objective mode that we are able to connect with Anders and can begin to like him; when we’re in his head, he’s an ass.

    gerrycanavan

    May 8, 2010 at 1:28 pm


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