In Slack, Miller, and Doak’s The Technical Communicator as Author, the authors define three different views of communication: transmission, translation, and articulation. As I read about transmission, I couldn’t help but to notice how its defining characteristics parallel to storytelling. On page 5, the defining characteristics include:
-The conception of communication as the transportation of messages
-The conception of the message—the meaning encoded by a sender and decoded by a receiver—as measurable entity transmitted from one point to another by means of a clearly delineated channel
-The conception of power as the power of the sender to effect, by means of this message, a desired mental and/or behavioral change in the receiver. This power is the power of the sender over the receiver
From these defining characteristics, I was able to tell that in a sense, transmission communication acts as transportation. Messages have the ability to “move in a timely manner across space” (5). Today, these messages are able to reach people faster through different mediums. For example, messages can be transferred through radio, television, telephone, computers, etc. When thinking about transmitting messages faster, farther, and much more effectively, I thought about King and the storytelling that occurs in both The Truth About Stories and in Native American culture. How did Native Americans practice the transmission of stories? How did they get the same message across to an audience every time a message or story was told? In King’s novel, each chapter begins in the same fashion; however, certain parts of the story vary every time. The variation parallels to the rendering of stories over the years. The structure remains mostly the same, but some of the information tends to change. Today, transmitting messages comes so easily to our culture; we have so many different mediums that are available for our use. However, none of these were available to the Native Americans who pride a part of their culture on passing down stories.
In Shannon and Weaver’s conception of communication, they talk how it’s linear. The sender, or the storyteller, wishes “transmit meaning,” but the message has to contain some sort of information. The message is then sent to the receiver, or the listener/audience. The receiver must decode the message for a specific meaning. If the process does not encounter any kind of miscommunication, the receiver will decode the sender’s original message. To put this concept into plain terms, Shannon and Weaver talk about how a message is “packaged” and “unwrapped.”
After reading King’s The Truth About Stories, I feel that I appreciate the original storytelling process that has been practiced by the Native American culture. Nowadays, we are able to communicate a story or message very easily through the countless resources that our society has access to. Also, King’s novel made me think about how storytelling can be considered an art form; it is interactive and encourages listeners to use their imagination.