Secrets in the Open: An Exercise in Interpretive Writing
Keywords:secrets, hermeneutic circle, childhood, interpretive writing
In this paper I present an exemplar of interpretive writing based on my engagement with the movie, My Life as a Dog. The film is a series of vignettes about Ingemar, a young boy, who is processing the events which arise from the difficulties wrought by his mother’s illness. This is not the typical coming of age film where the child becomes an adult through the initiation into life’s painful circumstances. The film ends with the character still in his boyhood. Nevertheless, the intermittent voice-over conveys the impression that Ingemar is narrating in retrospect, in a build up to his emergence from a state of innocence to awareness, and acceptance of pain and loss. I attended to the principles of hermeneutic practice outlined by several scholars to frame my understanding of what it means to enter the hermeneutic circle to explore the topic which addressed me: Secrecy.
Caputo, J. D. (2000). More radical hermeneutics: On not knowing who we are. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Gadamer, H-G. (1960/2004). Truth and method (2nd ed.; J. Weinsheimer & D.G. Marshall, Trans.). New York, NY: Continuum.
Gadamer, H-G. (1976). Philosophical hermeneutics. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Grondin, J. (1994). Introduction to philosophical hermeneutics. New Haven, NY: Yale University Press.
Grondin, J., & Plant, K. (2003). The philosophy of Gadamer. Montreal, QC, Canada: McGill- Queen's University Press.
Hallstrom, L., Jonsson, R., Brannstrom, B., Berglund, P., Isfalt, B., Glanzelius, A., Bromssen, T. V., & Liden, A. (1985/2003). My life as a dog. Irvington, NY.
Jardine, D.W. (1992). The fecundity of the individual case: Considerations of the pedagogic heart of interpretive work. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 26, 1, 51-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9752.1992.tb00264.x
Moules, N. J., McCaffrey, G., & Field, J. C., & Laing, C.M. (2015). Conducting hermeneutic research: From philosophy to practice. New York, NY: Peter Lang.
Palmer, R.E. (Ed. & Trans.) (2007). The Gadamer reader: A bouquet of later writings. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.
LicenseAuthors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).