Let Us Tell You Our Story: We-Narration and Its Pronominal Peculiarities

  • Monika Fludernik


The chapter links we-narration to Fludernik’s earlier work on second-person fiction. The communicative level of we-narrative from the perspective of production is examined: who are “we”? Subsequently, the chapter explores the question of who the “we” is on the plot level of plural homodiegetic narratives. For a variety of reasons, the scope of “we” both on the levels of plot and communication are left ambiguous in many we-texts. The chapter then turns to the tensions between individual and collective experience as it plays out in many we-narratives. This tension emerges also in the deployment of inventive uses of syntax and in odd collocations that flout rules of syntactic agreement. Texts analysed include Maxine Swann’s Flower Children, Joan Chase’s During the Reign of the Queen of Persia, Ayi Kwei Armah’s Two Thousand Seasons, Julie Otsuka’s The Buddha in the Attic, Tara Shea Nesbit’s The Wives of Los Alamos as well as Joshua Ferris’s Then We Came to the End.


Ayi Kwei Armah First-person plural narration Joan Chase Joshua Ferris Julie Otsuka Maxine Swann Tara Shea Nesbit We-narration 



The research for this chapter was undertaken during a sabbatical at the Institut des Etudes Avancées in Paris and was also financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG, Az. GRK 1767/1). Previous versions of this material were presented at invited keynotes in Columbus, OH, Bloomington, IN, and Ghent.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monika Fludernik
    • 1
  1. 1.University of FreiburgFreiburg im BreisgauGermany

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