As the opening quotes suggest, thinking narratively involves constructing plots, and is another strategy used by humans to make sense of, and create order in, their worlds. Narrative theorists generally agree that without plot there would be no identifiable narrative or story. “Plot is the principle of interconnectedness and intention which we cannot do without in moving through the discrete elements-incidents, episodes, actions-of a narrative” (Brooks, 1984, p. 5). Consider, for example, the meaning behind this set of statements: “the teacher called me,” “you would think,” “a picture of the states,” “it was wrong.” Although we may easily imagine these statements as a narrative, they only became a narrative when we connected them as such. So while there may be different definitions of what constitutes a narrative or story, for the purposes

of this chapter, I am viewing narrative as an outcome of Peter Brooks’s “principle of interconnectedness” in whatever form that may take. As Brian Richardson (2000) explains, regardless of the variety of narrative forms and purposes, “narrative is a representation of a causally related series of events” (p. 170), where “causally” refers to any kind of meaning-producing or explanatory connection made in the constructed tale. Returning to the aforementioned loose statements, these were extracted from a story told by Lisa, a mother of two who began her response to my opening question about her own school experience by telling me she had dropped out of school in tenth grade and now regretted it. Over the next few questions she built an explanation as to why she dropped out by tying together a need for more time to learn, and negative experiences she had experienced with in-class participation. When I asked her if a particular event stood out for her, she told me this story:

Um, well I can remember one time the teacher called me up (laughs) and she had a picture of like the States (Me-hmhm) but they didn’t say the names of them, and she wanted me to find a certain one. And I’m up there going ‘yup ok I can’t do this,’ so I just pointed one out, and (laughs), it was wrong and the whole class just laughed at me. And you would think that the teacher would have said something, you know like ‘that was rude,’ but no, just ‘go back to your seat and study,’ and that was all. It’s like I just wanted to go curl up into a corner and just hide. You know, it’s like, I mean at least the teacher could have said something to the kids like ‘well that’s not right, you shouldn’t laugh,’ you know, ‘we’re all here to learn.’ That’s what I’d say, you go to school to learn not to be laughed at, and if you’re laughed at you’re not going to learn anything.