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Poker Goals & Challenges Post your threads logging your travels up the poker ladder as you achieve your poker goals and dreams. "Challenges" does NOT mean prop bets, wagers, etc.

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Old 02-19-2014, 11:30 AM   #101
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Thx, once again, great review. Might also have to add this one to my list... Great article on Nash as well, and being Canadian and a basketball fan, reading about Nash feeling vulnerable makes life seem all so fragile : "... he tweaked his leg against Chicago. Now he's day-to-day. Maybe when you're 40, you're always day-to-day.".
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Old 02-20-2014, 05:33 AM   #102
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Bob: why do you think old men get up early?

How does The Old Man and the Sea compare to his other works?
p.s. I thought subscribing to a thread gave you a main page notification otherwise I would have been in here earlier. Apologies.
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:43 PM   #103
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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I don't know if it's still open but your remark led me to search for "Le Cue" and Houston -- and I discovered several posts about the place, some of them referring to it as a famous pool hall. (I played there when it was still quite new, before it gathered its regulars and hence its fame.)
Yes I looked too and didn't see anything. I'll ask around...maybe Le Cue drifted away just like Fats

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Thx, once again, great review. Might also have to add this one to my list... Great article on Nash as well, and being Canadian and a basketball fan, reading about Nash feeling vulnerable makes life seem all so fragile : "... he tweaked his leg against Chicago. Now he's day-to-day. Maybe when you're 40, you're always day-to-day.".
Nash might be my favorite player of all time. I guess he's still behind Jordan, but it's close. I hope he can push through for a satisfying end to his career.
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:58 PM   #104
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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Bob: why do you think old men get up early?

How does The Old Man and the Sea compare to his other works?
p.s. I thought subscribing to a thread gave you a main page notification otherwise I would have been in here earlier. Apologies.

Good question, Digger. I don't know.

The Old Man and the Sea is odd when compared to Hemingway's other writing. It's a long short story but not quite a novel. The style and length is intentional, I think, in order to reinforce Santiago's monotonous, prolonged struggle to catch the giant marlin. Some readers love the story; others think it's overrated (Hemingway was awarded the Pulitzer for this story, which he wrote towards the end of his career when his own literary powers were fading). I like it but would rank Old Man a distant third behind The Sun Also Rises and In Our Time (an early collection of short stories)

I'd recommend checking it out. The story would only take an hour or two of your time, and might answer your question about old men
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:29 AM   #105
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

The Sun Also Rises and In Our Time

I have read neither.

My only experience of Hemingway is For Whom The Bell Tolls and A Farewell to Arms.

Have you 'read' Hemingway in a formal academic setting?
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:51 AM   #106
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

yes, I went to graduate school for literature and teach English/lit classes now. I've taught Hemingway many times--usually a couple short stories.
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:19 AM   #107
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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Good question, Digger. I don't know.

The Old Man and the Sea is odd when compared to Hemingway's other writing. It's a long short story but not quite a novel. The style and length is intentional, I think, in order to reinforce Santiago's monotonous, prolonged struggle to catch the giant marlin. Some readers love the story; others think it's overrated (Hemingway was awarded the Pulitzer for this story, which he wrote towards the end of his career when his own literary powers were fading). I like it but would rank Old Man a distant third behind The Sun Also Rises and In Our Time (an early collection of short stories)

I'd recommend checking it out. The story would only take an hour or two of your time, and might answer your question about old men
No mention of For Whom the Bell Tolls? I have read 5 of Heminway's books, but the latter is on my top 10 list of all time... I am a sucka for the Spanish Civil War era, but also am moved by the existentialist-humanistic stance in the novel.
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:42 AM   #108
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

I was not questioning your authority (in case it read that way) - I was just interested in what a Hemingway class would focus upon.
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Old 02-22-2014, 04:21 PM   #109
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Dubn--thanks for the reminder. For Whom the Bell Tolls might be up with his other great works, but it's been a very long time since I've read it. A re-read will happen at some point.

No worries, Digger. There are many good (and bad) ways to teach Hemingway, I'm sure. I tend to focus on two things when I teach Hemingway. The first has to do with Hemingway's style and what's called his "theory of omission" or the "iceburg theory." As he put it, "If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing."

When I read Hemingway, I can feel an immense weight beneath or behind the sparse prose and terse dialogues. So I try to pay attention to not only what's said, but what isn't said, which is often more important. One well-known example is Jake Barnes's war wound in The Sun Also Rises that's never described directly but that drives the plot. Another example would be the short story "Hills Like White Elephants" in which a boyfriend and girlfriend "talk around" the question of getting an abortion without confronting the subject directly.

I also stress what Dubn called Hemingway's "existentialist-humanistic stance," which I take to mean the overall tone or "message" of his fiction. This allows us to talk broadly about not only Hemingway but also the literary movements he's associated with--American modernism and "the Lost Generation." How is it possible to live after the First World War? Where do you turn for emotional or spiritual consolation? To me, WWI haunts all of Hemingway's fiction. I've always thought that his books are very sad.

So...style and substance is what I focus on. Since Hemingway's themes work indirectly, I try to make explicit what's implicit in the prose.

In general, I tend to suck at this. I've always found Hemingway one of the hardest writers to teach despite--or prob because of-- his "simple" style.
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:08 PM   #110
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Sounds like a good start though.
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:13 PM   #111
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Nice thread, I still need to read through it, but the beginning is great.

Good luck!
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Old 02-23-2014, 01:40 PM   #112
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

I raise/folded the river with the third nuts yesterday. Not sure if I'm a hero or a fool--it's definitely one or the other.

Villain (220ish): was playing pretty loose/passive.

Hero (covers): Villain had commented to another player (a LAG who has many leaks but crushes the play money games through aggression and position) about how I was "a premium player," and the LAG responded that I was "an ABC player." So I assume that villain (a) respects my game and (b) doesn't believe I'm capable of making moves/being creative.

V1 raises to 6 from UTG, Hero calls with JJ from the SB.

I can reraise here, but it would be for pretty thin value. The problem is that V1 is not raising light; he's one of those guys who limp/calls AQtype hands and raises premiums only.

Flop T9T (14), the action checks through to an A turn, Villain bets 2 Hero calls.

River J (18), Check, Villain bets 18, Hero raises to 52, Villain shoves, hero folds.

The Villain snapshoved over my checkraise.

is leading the river better in this spot? We get calls from AK, AQ, and hands that will call a bet but not a checkraise.
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Old 02-23-2014, 09:31 PM   #113
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

I am not playing poker anymore but that looks like a trivial call having checkraised.

Your perceived range would prolly not have any 10x having neither donked flop or turn.
Maybe 109s which can only be T9dd.
You may or may not have a SB 3bet range so I guess villian might have all AA in your range.
But your check, check call range coming to the river has alot of broadway chasing gutter with an ok price + flush draws.

I think your perceived range is JJ, KQ and TT( discounted by turn play). AA discounted for pre, flop, turn play.

I guess he can check back some Tx on the flop - the most likely being the flopped nuts + 99 - but you mentioned he is passive so I guess he can have ATs, JTs maybe he plays the other broadway T suited.
AA can check back the flop given you either have him beat or you are only hitting two outs to beat him - yet he might get to streets of value if you hit a pair on the given your PF range in SB prolly bias you to high cards that will call perceived thin value bets.

Sapzz min bet on the turn - I guess can be seen as bets to induce bluffs....more so than thin v-bets and sometimes maybe he does not take a card on KQ and bets min.

And you the equation of calling 150 into pot of 252
which is odds of 5/2 so you need somewhere around 30% equity

His combos
AA slightly discounted 5 combos
1 combo of TT

JT hearts
two combos AT suited
They I think are always there which is 33%

So you need to think of how the frequency he has KQ, ATo UTG.

SO I think it is a call.

Your distributed range will be
Folding Ax, missed fd
Just calling KQ
Raise folding T9s and 99
Chcekraise calling quads, AA, JJ

Which seems like a balanced range.


But remember I have not played a hand of poker for a couple of years now.
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Old 02-23-2014, 09:55 PM   #114
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I am calling the river c/r, write it off as a cooler when you lose.
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:29 AM   #115
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Just letting you know, Bob, I've been lurking on this thread for a while, and have actually read two of the books you've reviewed: King of a Small World and The Biggest Game in Town. The Alvarez text is perhaps without peer, with its poetic descriptions of Vegas, especially old school hustlers like Brunson and Moss. That Alvarez somehow manages to name drop Dostoevsky and W.H. Auden while railing the World Series certainly hooked me into the text, I must say. King of a Small World is less glamorous for sure than Alvarez, wit its lowbrow tone, but certainly has narrative kick. In a certain respect, a first-person fictional narrative is probably the best way of representing the intersection of poker and everyday life. Anyway, thanks for the thread---positive EV in all sorts of ways
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:56 PM   #116
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

thanks for the feedback, guys, and the detailed hand breakdown, Digger. If I have time later I want to break this hand down combinatorically and play with some equities. If villain jams with worse boats--AT, 99, JT--I agree that this has to be a call.

thanks for the interest, TJ! I agree that Biggest Game sets the bar for all other poker books. I'll (finally) post a book review sometime this week.


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In a certain respect, a first-person fictional narrative is probably the best way of representing the intersection of poker and everyday life
Why do you think that first-person fiction is the best? As you can probably tell, I'm concerned with how a narrator's presence (or absence) impacts the story. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:47 PM   #117
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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Why do you think that first-person fiction is the best? As you can probably tell, I'm concerned with how a narrator's presence (or absence) impacts the story. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
What I had in mind here are the scenes where Joey plays heads-up, specifically the game against Kenny at the beginning of the novel and the one against Philly toward the end. In both scenes, Joey contemplates calling large bluffs "light"; importantly, his decision making process is framed by courage and a homespun theory that "your conscious fear will mirror your subconscious knowledge". This means that, for instance, "if your subconscious knows your opponent is bluffing, your conscious will fear that he isn't" and that ultimately a good poker decision rests on your ability to "conquer that fear, and act on what you know to be the truth."

Imagine if someone on 2+2 cited this kind of logic as a reason for calling a bluff rather than a traditional line analysis: the trolling would never end! But, in these scenes, this homespun notion of subconscious knowledge makes sense in terms of the various emotional conflicts in the narrator's life (an absent father, a newborn child, death threats) all of which have potential to distort his perspective when under pressure at the poker table. If these scenes were narrated by a third-person all we would see is a twenty-something professional shuffling chips, trying to stay calm and focused while in the "tank", with the narrator functioning more like a commentator on ESPN, plying platitude after platitude about how good poker is about making good decisions at the right moments. (A third-person narration might be more effective if it were focalized to the extent of the commentator trying to "get inside" the protagonist's mind and especially if the commentator was able to represent the protagonist's perception of others' perceptions, like a Henry James novel.)

So, I guess what I'm saying is that first-person narration is more effective because it has the capacity to more convincingly represent the psychological and emotional aspects of poker. In the Bennet text, first-person works in this way because the hero is constructed with a high-degree of realism and his actions and thoughts are believable; in fact, there's an element of visceral identification with Joey in this novel for me as a reader, which, in turn, makes me wonder why I act in the way that I do at certain moments at the poker table and whether these decisions are always poker related or perhaps sometimes the result of certain "goings-on" in my life. Sure, there are third-person perspectives which would have a similar impact upon me as a reader, but these are more likely to be those from non-fictional texts on poker psychology.
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Old 02-25-2014, 12:25 AM   #118
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Further to TJO's point - what is at stake is often of a personal consequence in a poker game. Pride, psychological state of the player, his personal net worth....all of these are the real stakes of the narrative. Not many people will be interested in a birds eye view of the 'game' - they will want to hear about the personal triumphs and setbacks from an intimate point of view. If the above is true - then the first person narrator makes sense.
If it is a third person narrator - then the narrative perspective should be one of a close personal witness with access to these psychological, inner and micro-scale dramas.

That would be my advice.

For example - if it is from a first person narrator's POV any one hand can be constructed to have the highest of import to the story...it does not have to be a spectular hand playing out or for huge monetary value ....if what is at stake is built up to be very crucial moment in the narrator's mind.

The stakes do not have to be if he loses the hand to a Russian gangster it will be his life for it to be dramatic - because that was infact Hollywood melodrama - the stakes could be the crushing of a dream - the realisation that you never will be Johnny Chan..

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Old 02-25-2014, 11:14 AM   #119
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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What I had in mind here are the scenes where Joey plays heads-up, specifically the game against Kenny at the beginning of the novel and the one against Philly toward the end. In both scenes, Joey contemplates calling large bluffs "light"; importantly, his decision making process is framed by courage and a homespun theory that "your conscious fear will mirror your subconscious knowledge". This means that, for instance, "if your subconscious knows your opponent is bluffing, your conscious will fear that he isn't" and that ultimately a good poker decision rests on your ability to "conquer that fear, and act on what you know to be the truth."

Imagine if someone on 2+2 cited this kind of logic as a reason for calling a bluff rather than a traditional line analysis: the trolling would never end! But, in these scenes, this homespun notion of subconscious knowledge makes sense in terms of the various emotional conflicts in the narrator's life (an absent father, a newborn child, death threats) all of which have potential to distort his perspective when under pressure at the poker table. If these scenes were narrated by a third-person all we would see is a twenty-something professional shuffling chips, trying to stay calm and focused while in the "tank", with the narrator functioning more like a commentator on ESPN, plying platitude after platitude about how good poker is about making good decisions at the right moments. (A third-person narration might be more effective if it were focalized to the extent of the commentator trying to "get inside" the protagonist's mind and especially if the commentator was able to represent the protagonist's perception of others' perceptions, like a Henry James novel.)

So, I guess what I'm saying is that first-person narration is more effective because it has the capacity to more convincingly represent the psychological and emotional aspects of poker. In the Bennet text, first-person works in this way because the hero is constructed with a high-degree of realism and his actions and thoughts are believable; in fact, there's an element of visceral identification with Joey in this novel for me as a reader, which, in turn, makes me wonder why I act in the way that I do at certain moments at the poker table and whether these decisions are always poker related or perhaps sometimes the result of certain "goings-on" in my life. Sure, there are third-person perspectives which would have a similar impact upon me as a reader, but these are more likely to be those from non-fictional texts on poker psychology.
What old-fashioned (i.e. pre-narratology) narrative theory called third-person, limited, internal narration could give these thought processes as well. And it could emphasize the subjectivity involved by using more than one point of view to show how (for example) the same situation looked to another player at the table.
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Old 02-25-2014, 11:44 AM   #120
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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So, I guess what I'm saying is that first-person narration is more effective because it has the capacity to more convincingly represent the psychological and emotional aspects of poker.
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Further to TJO's point - what is at stake is often of a personal consequence in a poker game. Pride, psychological state of the player, his personal net worth....all of these are the real stakes of the narrative. Not many people will be interested in a birds eye view of the 'game' - they will want to hear about the personal triumphs and setbacks from an intimate point of view. If the above is true - then the first person narrator makes sense.
Agreed. Poker is an especially hard game to understand or describe "from the outside."

A downside of first-person narration--or at least the kind of first-person narrators I've seen in poker fiction--is that we identity only with the protagonist, we see things exclusively from his perspective. In Jonathan Maxwell's Cards, for example, the other characters are stick figures, mere objects that the narrator tolerates only so that he can take their money (to be fair, I think that Maxwell also does this to stress his narrator's isolation).

Think about the kinds of narrators that pop up in poker fiction--King of a Small World, Shut up and Deal, Cards, Broke. They're all male twentysomething hotheads, rebels, and wunderkinds. On the one hand this is valuable: it gives us access to a distinct part of the poker population, a social type, that we tend to ignore or overlook. But the downside is that we never meet, or "get inside," all the other kinds of people who play poker. What would poker look and feel like from the perspective of a fifty-year old female lawyer? A thirty-year old nurse? A grizzled Texan rancher? We've all sat in cardrooms, so we know that these people exist. But (to my knowledge) they haven't been represented with intimacy and respect.

It would be fascinating to read a poker novel that was told from a variety of perspectives. Think Faulkner's As I Lay Dying--an incredible story told by nearly twenty narrators--or George Martin's The Game of Thrones series. The shifting narration grants us access to many minds, many ways of seeing and understanding the world. It also puts us, the readers, in a much more active role, since we need to decide whose point of view is most authentic, revealing, trustworthy.

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A third-person narration might be more effective if it were focalized to the extent of the commentator trying to "get inside" the protagonist's mind and especially if the commentator was able to represent the protagonist's perception of others' perceptions, like a Henry James novel.
This could also work well, I think, and it's a viable approach for both fiction and non-fiction. John McPhee basically does this in Levels of the Game: sometimes he moves between Ashe and Graebner and, thanks to extensive interviewing and attention to detail, reconstructs their thought processes in the form of interior monologue.
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Old 02-25-2014, 11:46 AM   #121
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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What old-fashioned (i.e. pre-narratology) narrative theory called third-person, limited, internal narration could give these thought processes as well. And it could emphasize the subjectivity involved by using more than one point of view to show how (for example) the same situation looked to another player at the table.
yes!
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:56 PM   #122
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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yes!
I just looked at the article you cited in the book thread -- The Pevearsion of Russian Literature,” by Gary Saul Morson, and it has a passage that seemed extremely apt.

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Since Jane Austen, novels have tended to trace a character’s thoughts in the third person. The choice of words, and the way one thought begets another, belongs to the character, and so we come to know her inner voice. At the same time, the character’s view may not comport with the author’s, and it is the art of the writer to make clear that what the character is seeing is deluded or self-serving or foolish. This “double-voicing” lies at the heart of the 19th-century novelistic enterprise. For Dickens and Trollope, “double-voicing” becomes the vehicle of satire, while George Eliot and Tolstoy use it for masterful psychological exploration.

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Old 02-25-2014, 03:34 PM   #123
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

glad you liked the article, Russell. I've always thought that Gary Saul Morson is an insightful and witty critic.

Thanks too for the quote, that's spot on. One of my favorite writers, Flannery O'Connor, uses this technique in all her stories. I'm guessing many readers won't be familiar with O'Connor or narrative theory, so here's an example of how she writes a "double-voiced" story.

In "Good Country People," we meet one of the story's main characters: "Mrs. Hopewell had no bad qualities of her own but she was able to use other people's in such a constructive way that she never felt the lack." The passage is written in a matter-of-fact way, as if this description is accurate. At the same time, we must be a bit skeptical: does this person really have no bad qualities? At this point in the story, the third-person narrator "goes inside" one of the characters, Mrs. Hopewell, and presents what she's thinking with barely any critique. The narrator's and the character's voices have merged into one.

As the story continues, the narrator's and Mrs. Hopewell's voices grow apart. When a Bible salesman turns up at her house and comments on the absence of the book in Mrs. Hopewell's parlor, "she said, stiffening slightly, 'I keep my Bible by my bedside.' This was not the truth. It was in the attic somewhere.'"

Here, the narrator offers a firm correction--"this is not the truth"--that exposes Mrs. Hopewell as somehow deluded or self-serving or foolish.

This approach is often satirical, didactic, or both. O'Connor, like Tolstoy, is trying to teach us something, and part of this approach assumes that the narrator has a firm grasp of "the truth" (or at least that a character does not know the truth). A novel like As I Lay Dying, by contrast, has no third-person narrator to say something like "this is not the truth." Which challenges the reader to decide which character best expresses the truth, to somehow find out the truth for himself.
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Old 02-25-2014, 03:51 PM   #124
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

GRR Martin: Is a good plotter. I am not sure I would say he is a good character writer.
His narrator's perspective is by necessity given he wants 5 settings at a time.
You can power up the first person narrative perspective by making it retrospective and experienced, try playing with a non linear timeline.
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Old 02-25-2014, 04:20 PM   #125
RussellinToronto
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 1,724
Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob_124 View Post
In "Good Country People," we meet one of the story's main characters: "Mrs. Hopewell had no bad qualities of her own but she was able to use other people's in such a constructive way that she never felt the lack." The passage is written in a matter-of-fact way, as if this description is accurate. At the same time, we must be a bit skeptical: does this person really have no bad qualities?
Nice observations, generally. And, in that first passage you cite from O'Connor I particularly love the flat irony in the way the authorial voice reassures us that Mrs. Hopewell doesn't feel "the lack" of bad qualities and has found a way to compensate for that lack.
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