Quest narratives

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There’s this book I really like on the new demands on learning in the twenty-first century. Written by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown, it uses massively multiplayer online games as its model. There’s a paragraph that got me wondering how quest narratives in literature might function in such an ‘age’ of learning:

“Games have grown up,” Thomas and Brown declare, “and playing with them is no longer reserved for children. In fact, the ability to play may be the single most important skill to develop for the twenty-first century. In this context, play involves what we think of as a questing disposition. Questing is an activity that is central to most large-scale online games, and it presumes a number of things. Chief among them is that the world provides multiple resources and avenues for solving problems and that solutions are invented as much as they are implemented. The key to questing is not typical problem solving. It is innovation.” (p.114)

What do quest narratives offer their readers?
How are quest narratives shaped by character disposition? …by the opportunities for innovation taken up by each character?
How is ‘success’ framed in quest narratives?

Ref: Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown (2011) A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, Ky. : CreateSpace?

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