Emotion and Narratives of Heartland: Kim Scott’s <i>Benang</i> and Peter Carey’s <i>Jack Maggs</i>


  • Victoria Reeve University of Melbourne


emotion, narrative, the novel, metaphor, virtual


In this essay, I want to explore the possibility that the success of narrative in stimulating empathy comes from the relation that narrative bears to emotion—where emotion is a kind of proto-narrative that possibly accounts for the structure and range of narratives themselves —and that our familiarity with emotions as micro-narratives results in the motivation of narrative. That is, the resolution of events occurs in terms of feeling rather than other forms of closure, since other forms of closure represent literal endings as, quite simply, the cessation of events whereas emotion achieves its end by being felt or translated in empathetic terms and in ways that endure beyond the formality of the fictive event that ends the narrative. I will be using Kim Scott’s Benang: From the Heart (1999) and Peter Carey’s Jack Maggs (1997) to discuss narrative and emotions, or the role of emotion in motivating narrative events and the role of narrative in conveying and stirring emotion in the reader.

Author Biography

Victoria Reeve, University of Melbourne

Recent PhD candidate in The School of Culture and Communication at The University of Melbourne, graduating in December 2011.