Storytelling

The housing crisis of 2008 had a terrible impact on hundreds of millions of lives all across the world, but especially in the United States. So far we have looked at several texts that all put this catastrophe in greater perspective. One of the texts, The Big Short, primarily focused on Wall Street, the stock market, and a few other major variables which played a part in causing the crisis. Another text we looked at, The Turner House, goes in a different direction and focuses instead on the Turner family along with the struggles and choices presented to them. 

Although both texts have their setting in the housing crisis, it is clear that each provides a completely different perspective. For example, in The Big Short we have Steve Eisman, a man who devoted his entire life’s work to the stock market and, throughout the story, makes multiple large-scale profitable deals with the biggest banks in America including Goldman Sachs and J. P Morgan. Additional significance to this text comes in the many explanations it presents. One example of this is the explanation of a Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO). The following is an extremely simplified definition of a CDO; a high number of loans, or pieces of a loan, some of which have a high chance to default while others have a low chance, are then bundled together into a single package. Although The Big Short provides in-depth descriptions and analysis on entities and events, such as CDOs and stock market crashes, this ultimately convolutes its ability to tell a story.

The Big Short falls short, pun intended, in respect to storytelling mainly due to the large amount of jargon and complex financial concepts. However I believe the other text, The Turner House, does not make this same mistake. One way we can see this is that The Turner House focuses more on the characters and the intricate details on a character’s life as opposed to an event. Some characters, like Cha Cha, are dealing with the supernatural, while others deal with more secular flaws like a gambling addiction. Regardless, we see several Turner family members, their strength, flaws, and do everything they can in order to save the family home from foreclosure. While both texts focus on the events surrounding the housing crisis, The Turner House provides an easier connection to said events because of the way it tells its story compared to The Big Short.

 Being someone who was very young during the housing crisis, having a text be more relatable makes it easier to understand the setting in which it takes place. This is one reason why the storytelling aspect of a text is important; a text with the ability to clearly communicate the emotions, goals, and struggles of a person within the context of a setting is far more effective overall than a text which is unable to do so. I also believe that extends beyond just a text, that storytelling is a skill that extends beyond literature, in fact we are constantly telling each other stories. Hearing about someone’s day, their struggles or their triumphs, makes it easier to connect with them. This may sound obvious, but it may be one of those things in which it is so obvious that we sometimes forget it.

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