The Story of My Life II

William L Randall

in The Narrative Complexity of Ordinary Life

Published in print October 2015 | ISBN: 9780199930432
Published online September 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780190267193 | DOI:

Series: Explorations in Narrative Psychology

The Story of My Life II

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  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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This chapter focuses on how “the story of our life” contains, in fact, countless anecdotes or smaller stories, a few of which can soar above the others as especially pivotal to our sense of narrative identity. Referred to by various terms—signature stories, nuclear episodes, set pieces, or self-defining memories—such stories, upon closer reading, can tell us much about the unique angle from which we experience our world and the recurring themes that run through our lives. The second half of the chapter is taken up with a detailed recounting of one of the author’s own such stories, and equal space is devoted to “narrative reflection” upon, or “autobiographical reasoning” concerning, the place and function of this story within the author’s life-narrative as a whole.

Keywords: life–literature connection; signature stories; nuclear episodes; narrative identity; narrative reflection; autobiographical reasoning; novel; novelty of our lives

Chapter.  9669 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology ; Social Psychology

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