Having taught the introductory college speech class for more than twenty years now, I have spent many hours reminding students about the power of the narrative. It was a lesson I learned completely when studying and writing my dissertation on the rhetoric of Elizabeth Dole. Replaying just a few seconds of her blockbuster 1996 GOP Convention speech is a lesson is narrative. Of her husband, then-Republican presidential nominee, Bob Dole “he was born in a small town in Kansas. His parents were poor, in fact, at one point, when Bob wa a boy, they had to move their family–parents and four children–into the basement and rent out their small home.”
A narrative is a way, like no other to bring what you are talking about to life.
Take LifePath: A quick look at the Web site tells you the mission: Life Path provides the highest quality of services to people needing specialized supports through the blending of professional knowledge, arts and skills in an environment of unconditional respect and dignity.
But to hear about Carlos: an orphan turned gainfully employed man, living independently in an apartment, to see him enthusiastically introduce Coach Mike Ditka at the LifePath Luncheon and to watch the almost six-hundred member audience rise to its feet in tribute to Carlos after hearing his story reminds me of the power of the narrative.