Black Hawk Down Essays

The concepts of sequentiality and temporality are closely linked to eventfulness, because the causal and/or chronological sequence of events implies the presence of temporality (cf. Experientiality is defined by Monika Fludernik (1996) as the evocation of human experience within a represented human context.

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The analytical framework of CEN promises to give insights into literary journalism as a genre that is heavily involved in the representation, construction and dissemination of ethical values and norms. Keeble / Tulloch 2012, Hartsock 1999, 2000, Sims 1984, 1990, Sims / Kramer 1995) is an umbrella term for what is variously referred to as literary non-fiction (Anderson 1989, Goudsblom 2000), documentary fiction (Foley 1986, Pedri 2001), factual fiction (Flis 2010), or the literature of fact (Weber 1980) by scholars.

The reason why these terms are often used interchangeably has to do with the fact that different kinds of literary journalism are ontologically similar and share epistemological common ground.

Genre, Mikhail Bakhtin and Pavel Medvedev (1928, 137) argue, is “an aggregate of the means for seeing and conceptualizing reality”.

In other words, genres possess a certain performative power; they shape and mold reality and create effects of truth central to what we perceive to be ‘reality’.

Bowden’s hypertext Blackhawk Down is characterized by what narratologists regard as the typical characteristics of narrative: (a) events, change and conflict, (b) sequentiality, (c) temporality and (d) experientiality (cf. It functions as a hermeneutic category that invokes the notion of conflict insofar as it is linked to an unpredictable turn or a deviation from the sequencing of events.

In Blackhawk Down, eventfulness emerges from the depiction of the failed U. relief mission in Somalia in 1993 whose tragic outcome only slowly revealed itself to the American public.They are ontologically similar insofar as these hybridized genres are characterized by a unique blend of fact and fiction.Works of literary journalism such as Mark Bowden’s hypertext Blackhawk Down (1997) not only effectively assimilate the repertoires of fictional and factual genres, but they also, in a sense, surpass these genres and take on the status of a new, postmodern ‘supergenre’.Mark Bowden’s hypertext Blackhawk Down (1997) is a paradigmatic example of literary journalism.In this essay, I shall demonstrate that the performative power of Bowden’s hypertext is erected upon a number of textual signals that can be rendered intelligible with the help of analytical tools provided by narratology.According to these scholars, the postmodern ethos contributed to the feeling that Americans were “daily confronted by realities that were as actual as they seemed fictive” (Hellmann 1981, 2).Considering that literary journalism discards the notion of truth as objective and universal, and is therefore able to mount a counter-discourse to the objectivity norm, the chief occupational value of mainstream American journalism (cf.(CEN) – with the help of which it will be shown that narrative techniques and strategies are semanticized in Bowden’s hypertext to the extent that they convey ideologically charged values and norms and contribute to culture-specific notions of narration as a process of relating.The conceptualization of narration as a process of relating can be fruitfully linked to the idea of a non-violent ethics as proposed by Judith Butler (2004).Moreover, literary journalism is conditioned by what James Phelan (2007, 217) calls the ethics of ‘global referentiality’.Global referentiality means that everything in the story, from people to places and events, has a referent in the actual world, and thus an existence independent of the narrative.


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