Understanding the Course of Literature in Using Reverse Plots, Essay Example

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Essay

It is often heard that life should be lived forward. It is assumed by many that constantly lingering in the past specifically hinders one from facing the realities of life. Nevertheless, the past provides several indicative measures of development that could provide a person with the most convincing sources of proper decisions that he could make good use of especially when he desires to do the right thing and not repeat the wrong ways that he or other individuals may have experienced in the past. This is the reason why in forms of literature, the process of putting the past back into the plot arrangement of the present events has become a common factor that defines the condition by which humans tend to decide on their lives. It could be understood that the creators of such works tend to create a bridge that connects the past with the present situations that characters experience. Doing so often involves resolving issues currently evident in the lives of the characters through looking back to the past or what is most often than not noted as the reverse plots. This aspect of story-line development is to be the primary subject that shall be discussed in the context of this presentation.

In the discussion, two distinctive literary and art creations shall be analyzed as to how they have been effectively presented to the audience through the utilization of reverse plotting or the involvement of backward narration. In this course, the impact on the story and its theme shall be given way hence creating a valuable definition on how the said approach to narration does create a new way of defining life’s absurdity and truth at the same time. The said creations to be analyzed include that of the Time’s Arrow, a novel by Martin Amis and Memento (2000), a thriller movie created by Christopher Nolan.

Flashback presentation is defined as the process by which the story utilizes the idea of bringing the current scenes into a flash back that explains why certain events are happening at present. In this course, the writers and/or directors tend to pick a brief part of the scene and specifically bring about a past scene explaining how the characters ended up being in the said situation. Consequently, this approach allows for the creation of a distinctive understanding on the part of the readers or the audiences to whom the work is dedicated to, to be able to see the worth of the past as it defines the current situations that the characters are facing. Flashback patterns however are not the same when it comes to defining reverse plotting. While flashbacks only occur during a brief section of the presentation, reverse plotting involves the entire story being retold using a great deal of looking back from the past. At this point, it could be analyzed that reverse plotting takes on the course by which the story is presented overall. The idea behind this form of presentation is to indicate changes that could have been incurred if the past have been better handled by the main characters.

This fact has been specifically presented in Amis’ Time’s Arrow where the retired doctor began living his life backward, becoming younger every year and seeing matters in a specifically backward motion. This means that the normal process of one-thing -after-another has been interchanged with the idea of completing certain matters first before going through the process of doing so. From here, even the opposite of the situations being seen at present have been given attention to. Seemingly, the obviously “bad” in the society today has been given attention to in an opposite manner hence almost explaining the value of the existence of badness to set balance between good and bad relatively. Observably, life-reflection has been effectively considered in the story as the character narrates:

What tells me that this is right? What tells me that all the rest was wrong? … I would never claim Auschwitz-Berkenau-Monowitz was good to look at…our preternatural purpose? To dream a race….(p119-120, Vintage edition, 1992).

From this point, the narrator is taking himself into a journey of query of whether or not what he is seeing is real or if it is simply an illusion of what he actually wants to see. The past has been done and this part of it has been considered unacceptable. However, in reverse, the meaning of each turn of event seems to be rather meaningful and relatively useful to the human society. Could his thinking be right or could it be that the rationale behind the matter simply makes him rethink of what has been done in the past and how it relatively affected the vision of the society at present?

The film Memento (2000) on the other hand utilizes the approach of reverse plotting to set up the thinking of the main characters as if putting the viewers into the feet of the said individuals. One particular part of the movie defines Leonard Shelby to be in a state of unconscious thinking as he tries to relive the situations through clues that may have been left for him [by himself] in the past. Having an anterograde amnesia, Leonard needed bits and pieces of the past to be able to remember who he really was, what he needed to do and who he knows and lives with.  Having the need to investigate the real situation behind his case of supposedly attacking and killing the perpetrator of crime against his wife, he needed to overcome his medical situation through getting clues of whatever he could patch out from what he remembers in the past. Hard as it may have seemed, the plot of the story and the back-flashes of the events presented in a chronological order gives a more vivid description of the situation. In this case, it could be understood that helping the viewers see that the film creator hopes to involve the viewers into the story through making them think of the why’s and how’s of the narration.

As mentioned in earlier sections of this discussion, reverse presentation helps the viewers or audiences of a particular literary piece to become involved in the process of life-development that the characters are experiencing. Looking through the past and rummaging through its details often provide facts that have been covered by anxieties and presumptuousness during the actual time of completing the decisions related to it. Seeing what went wrong or how things turned out to be better teaches so much on how a person could handle the current situations that he is facing. This is the primary reason why reverse plotting in both movies and written stories are considered essential in refining the characters’ background, giving them the right reason for why they have committed the mistakes they did or how they became the good people that they already are. Reverse plotting points out that the past provides a mirror that no all-knowing individual could identify especially if he does not know how to look back.

True, the past defines the present and the present would of course define the future. The specific manner by which human individuals use their time to define these specific points in their lives provide a great source of definition as to how they should actually find the most efficient decision that they could make to assure themselves as well as the people surrounding them with the proper course of life that they deserve. In forms of literary creations, reverse plotting does provide an undeniable value of being more personal and more reflective of the truth especially when it comes to identifying the consequences of the past therefore reminding all to be more careful as to how they handle troublesome situations today so as not to waste the future to a series of anxieties and disappointments.

Change in life is a constant variable that cannot be avoided. Facing it would impose on the need of one to become more aware of how he would like the current changes in his life appeal to his future. With the reverse plotting presented in the literary works analyzed, it could be considered that the creators were serious enough to show that whatever it is that happens in the past does have an impact on the current situations in life; an explanation as to why and how matters happened and how they have become the foundation of what is currently being faced by individuals from all sorts of living. As if pointing out that “to everything there is a reason”, reverse plotting give the audiences a glimpse of how situations occur and how they could be controlled even before they happen.

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