chapter  9
'Down a Strange Street': Emergent Exchanges
Pages 19

It may be instructive to end by looking at beginnings: at how the storytelling impulse first takes shape. Although there is no principled justification for confining narratological analysis to what adults call literary texts, in practice it has usually kept aloof from stories produced by children in the course of their early language development. (Toolan (1988) is a pleasant exception.) As a result, several interesting issues have hardly yet been treated by those versed in current literary theory. How do people first learn to take part in narrative exchanges? What similarities are there between canonical iterary fictions and tales invented by the very young? Is a child's concept of storytelling based simply on that putative 'succession of events' which so many theorists have regarded as axiomatically definitive, or does it involve more importantly those processes of framing, substitution and dispossession which the present study has emphasised? Does the acquisition of genres need to be formalised during one's infant education in reading and writing to ensure competence in using them? Such are the questions to be considered in this final chapter, which will also glance back very briefly at most of the texts already discussed as well as introducing one by a youthful storyteller.