Metanarratives have been essential in creating contexts within which the significance of society's whole experience may be understood. Here, the term "metanarrative" corresponds to a narrative about the narratives of historical significance, experiences, or knowledge that provide social justification for a civilization through the expected realisation of a grand concept (Ruitenberg, 2018, pp. 689-702). It is because of its significance that metanarratives are perceived as the single most defining characteristic of postmodern culture (Frangipane, 2019, pp. 105-109). This essay aims to assess the application of metanarratives from the perspective of “The minority report” to better understand its application, significance, and usage.
In “The Minority Report”, the author Philip K. Dick imagines a society in which criminal activities are foreseen. Consequently, a group consisting of three ‘precog’ mutants is identified and discussed, which could predict future crimes and stop them from occurring. A recent report from precog mutants indicates that Anderton, the chief of the police division, is suspected of killing Kaplan, an unidentified person. This makes Anderton worry about probable conspiracies behind this report. The events that follow show how Anderton makes a valiant effort to uncover the report's mysteries but ends up killing Kaplan, confirming the precogs' predictions.
While looking at the minority report from the lens of metanarrative, it appears to have played a very significant role in making the reading fascinating and engaging. Since the entire story and plots discussed in “The Minority Report” are factious, metanarratives based on postmodern philosophies make it easier to effectively integrate different ideas as one definitive absolute, i.e., linking facts that are especially non-existent. There are other sub-genres of metanarrative that provide a deeper insight into postmodern ideas that are used in the story. For example, sub-genres including classical anthology for interconnecting various events and parodies in the story make the entire document subject to individual interpretation (Jane and Barker, 2016, 1-760). This is why the story is easy to engage with. However, the story, in general, also comes with certain limitations in which readers will be unable to evaluate anything objectively because their individual interpretations would compel them to make assumptions (Wilson, 2016, pp. 30-44). Even if they try to stop it by taking everything literally, that would be a choice they make on their own.
For this reason, metanarratives help authors keep interpretations relative beyond the limits of just ‘true’ or ‘untrue’ (Ross, 2020, pp. 65-71). For instance, the statement “commission of the crime itself is absolute metaphysics” used in the case of “The Minority Report” help the author go as far as to demonstrate that there exists no definitive truth and everything is relative to individual interpretations. The author, Philip K. Dick, in “The Minority Report,” precisely incorporates metanarrative in his story to explore and demonstrate the postmodern idea. Another very crucial aspect is that the texts are written from the perspective of an omniscient narrator and not from a third-person perspective. Besides, there is no mention of the narrator as a character in the storyline. By doing so, the author deviates from the norm and makes it clear that his own thoughts are being included in the narrative. This is the author's clear admission that the story's details should never be taken as fact.
The use of metanarrative establishes that a human narrator, not an inerrant and omniscient god, is portraying the story. This underlines how the narrator's presentation and their personal interpretation will influence how the reader relates to the narrative (Dey Roy and O’Connor, 2022, pp. 34-51). There are certain plots and instances when the author asserts himself in the story and diverts from the main plot to showcase what all is happening in real-time. Allusions to earlier works are another feature of postmodernism that frequently surfaces through metanarrative in the current plot. Again, this is supposed to demonstrate how the narrative is situated within a framework of other stories that affect readers' comprehension (Stadler, 2012, pp. 1-21). With the use of metanarrative, the author also seems to be very conscious of them and eludes the readers to question their own views and interpretations of the story as well.
Thus, using metanarrative helps the author, Philip K. Dick, to create a metanarrative within the story as there are two or more things occurring simultaneously in the story. It enabled the author to take a retrospective point of view to describe and demonstrate events from his previous or future experience. These aspects help the author create a metanarrative that not only makes the story realistic but also engaging to readers.
Dey Roy, N. and O’Connor, M.H., 2022. Rolling Blackouts: voicing the other micro-narratives. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, 13(1), pp.34-51.
Frangipane, N., 2019. Conclusion: A Dark Turn and Other Manifestations. In Multiple Narratives, Versions and Truth in the Contemporary Novel (pp. 105-109). Palgrave Pivot, Cham.
Jane, E.A. and Barker, C., 2016. Cultural studies: Theory and practice. Cultural Studies, pp.1-760.
Ross, A., 2020. Challenging metanarratives: The past lives in the present. Archaeology in Oceania, 55(2), pp.65-71.
Ruitenberg, C.W., 2018. Postmodernism and poststructuralism. In International handbook of philosophy of education (pp. 689-702). Springer, Cham.
Stadler, J.M., 2012. Media and Society, pp. 1-21.
Wilson, I., 2016. Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to rule by sense of smell! Superhuman Kingship in the Prophetic Books. Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, 16(9), pp.30-44.
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