Scheherazade told her stories through Arabian nights to keep death at bay. In everyday life, however, we seem to need no threats to prompt yet another tale to unwind. Indeed, so commonplace and natural does story-telling appear that it may seem invisible to study. Yet story-telling is a complex process with important implications.
What seems so natural is actually learned from our earliest moments and becomes part of our social experience. Children quickly learn patterns of story-telling from story books, advertisements, cartoon chases and pop songs. As their vocabulary increases, they acquire skills of story-telling, peppering their talk with ‘and then’ to sequence events logically. They learn to recognize ...