The question of how narrative accomplishes various meanings, and sometimes leaves a reader with ambiguous conclusions about a story’s meaning, provides the root of my inquiry. Tales that invoke conventional “frame narratives” may include a typical “story within a story” with an “outer frame” that is granted authoritative status over an “inner frame.” Yet what happens when there are multiple frames competing for authoritative attention? This critical inquiry focuses on why readers choose to privilege one narrative frame of reference over another.
This case study focuses on Robert Antoni’s historical fiction As Flies to Whatless Boys. The multi-framed organizational structure of this novel begs the questions, which frame should a reader privilege, and how and why does privileging occur? Does one narrative frame serve as an ultimate reference point for the others? This discussion attempts to answer these questions through the lens of narratology. A narratological approach leads to a rationale for the cognitive mapping of the novel based on narrative frame privileging. The outcome of this case study results in a narrative map that shows the cognitive ordering of meaning in Antoni’s storyworld that may be applicable to other texts. To arrange for disability accommodations, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-785-8295.