Below are some questions for pondering prompted by the book The insect and the buffalo by Allpress and Shamy.
“For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are.” C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew.
1. “We look at the world through the lens of our assumptions and we interpret what we see according to those assumptions” (Allpress & Shamy, p.9). Can you identify a time when you lacked a sense of perspective and mistook an “insect” for a “buffalo”?
2. “Everybody has a worldview, and that worldview is complex and constantly open to revision by the world around us….all worldviews are embedded in stories….Our very identities are caught up in these stories” (Allpress & Shamy, p.10). In the context of chapter two and the idea of the “true story,” what does it mean that “once you learn to read, you will be forever free?”
3. “…this tapestry of stories comes together in cultures…smaller stories piecing together into large, overarching narratives” (Allpress & Shamy, p.11). What “echoes and surprises” have you encountered as you have formed a larger picture from smaller stories?
4. “True stories teach us to see the world differently. And great stories, the ones that claim to tell the true story of the world, compel us to enter in, to become part of the story, and in doing so, they change the way we view the world” (Allpress & Shamy, pp. 19-20). What do you think it means to become part of the story?
5. “How a story begins is always important. The beginning introduces the audience to the main characters, the scene and the main themes of the plot” (Allpress & Sharmy, p.25). How does the beginning represent the rest of the elements of the Narrative such as the theme, the plot, the characters and the scene?
6. “There are two ways to tell the story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz…the Wizard will solve all their problems… (or) the difficulties along the yellow brick road were the means by which the characters achieved their quest. The same story has to be told more than once – forwards from the start and backwards from the end – in order to discover its full meaning” (Allpress & Sharmy, pp.34-35). How does reading “backwards from the end” affect our reading of the story?
7. “The best way to keep an audience waiting at the end of a story is with a cliffhanger. Leave something unresolved. Leave a question hanging. The higher the stakes the longer the audience will wait” (Allpress & Sharmy, p. 54). What question do you think is left hanging?
8. “Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story…in which every chapter is better than the one before” (C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle). “Narrators who tell stories with two ends do so to drive home the reality that the two ends are more than compatible, they are the same… The end looks both similar to and different from the beginning” (Allpress & Sharmy, p.66). Chapter six is entitled “Peering through a crack in time and space”. What would you think is similar and different about the endings?
9. Allpress and Sharmy invite readers to imagine themselves as part of the story (p. 76). Chapter seven begins with a quote suggesting we may not have gone where we intended, but we end up where we needed to be (Adams). How does this relate to your experience of your life’s journey?