Narrative Genres and the Administration of Consciousness : The Case of Daisy Goodwill's Rebellion

María Jesús Hernáez Lerena


The Stone Diaries (1993), a novel by Carol Shields, examines the strategies characters use to render their selves accountable: they turn life into an ensemble made up of historical, scientific, novelistic or biographical discourse. In contrast, Daisy Goodwill, who is the subject-matter of this fictional autobiography, remains close to the epistemology of the short story, whose potential has been described by critics as a challenge to knowledge or synthesis (Cortázar 1973; Bayley 1988; Leitch 1989, May 1994; Trussler 1996). There seems to be agreement that the only condition of coherence necessary for the short story is a pointing to the evasion of meaning in life, also that the genre allies itself to the way in which the past is attached to our memory (Kosinski 1978; Hallet 1998; Lohafer 1998; Wolff 2000). This essay will analyze the implications of its protagonist’s stance with a view to pinning down some of the ideological grounds of the novel and of the short story in their approach to the question of identity.

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