The Country Without a Post Office Essay

Agha Shahid Ali
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Potter, a writer of fiction and screenplays, teaches writing at the University of San Francisco. In this essay, Potter discusses the use of narrative in Ali's poem.

"Nothing seems more natural and universal to human beings than telling stories," J. Hillis Miller, Yale literary theorist, writes in "Narrative." Starting from this premise, he reasons that because humans have so deep a need for narrative, they also have struggled, since Aristotle did in his Poetics, with their meaning. Miller draws from all narrative forms—novels, stories, and poems alike—three basic elements: a change in a situation; three persons, a protagonist, an antagonist, and a witness; and a patterning of key elements. From the simplest ghost story told at the campfire's edge to War and Peace, Miller holds that all narratives contain these elements. For the more inaccessible works of literature, they can easily—and especially—be used to...

(read more from the Critical Essay #2 section)

This section contains 1,255 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Country Without a Post Office Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
The Country Without a Post Office from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.