Imagine a Death: a novel (Innovative Prose)

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Janice Lee Explores the Worldview of a Sentence


At Catapult, Janice Lee explores story structures at the sentence level, as seen in her recent novel, Imagine a Death. “We often glean meaning from the overall structure of a story, the narrative shape revealing something about subjects like reality, transformation, life and death. But before the story, there is the sentence. Across cultures and languages, the subject/object and noun/verb relationships we see in English are neither universal nor inherent. Not all languages focus on a subject’s action upon an object (many Asian languages, for example, put the emphasis on the verb, rather than the subject coming first), and many indigenous languages have an increased focus on verbs, rather than nouns. […] The sentence itself can reveal an entire worldview through the shape it assumes, through the relationships it maps, which ideological systems it upholds, what power structures it validates simply through its grammar.”

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