The Bushwhacked Piano and the Bushwhacked Reader: The Willing Construction of Disbelief

In this article, we suggest that readers bring two types of processes to bear on their narrative experiences: intuitive processes and reflective processes. After defining these types of processes, we provide three examples of their consequences for readers’ experiences. First, we suggest that a shift from intuitive to reflective processes may prompt readers to reinterpret the relationship between characters’ goals and their actions. Second, we propose that intuitive and reflective processes may yield different judgments about the morality of characters’ actions. Third, we discuss how applications of these processes affect the likelihood that readers will import narrative information into real-world judgments. To demonstrate how our analyses function in everyday reading, we provide examples from Thomas McGuane’s novel, The Bushwhacked Piano.   paper

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Last updated December 2011