Knowing the author of a source matters: Gilmore Girls explains why

Anna Birman is a (graduated) senior and Research Teaching Assistant at the Castilleja School Library. She has spent the past two years observing and teaching research lessons to understand how middle school students best learn about media literacy, databases, and citations. She has been developing lesson plans such as this one based on those experiences.

From my collaboration with my school librarians, I hear that it is sometimes frustrating when lesson plans are not met with the same enthusiasm my librarians feel about them. Personally, I enjoy drawing connections in class to TV shows. In this presentation, I use a pop culture theory about the popular 2000’s TV show Gilmore Girls to illustrate how an author or narrator’s point of view can affect the way the reader understands the source. Gilmore Girls (2000-2007) follows the everyday lives of the fiercely independent single mom Lorelai and her studious teenage daughter Rory living in the eccentric Connecticut small town Stars Hollow. The theory states that the reason that Lorelai and Rory’s behavior seems so different in the 2016 reboot A Year in the Life is because the original series is narrated by Rory herself, while the reboot is told by an omniscient narrator. Lorelai and Rory did not change; the narrator did, and that made all the difference. Looking at the author in the context of SOAPA–subject, occasion, author, purpose, and audience–can help enhance our understanding of a source because the world view of the author impacts the evidence used and conclusions drawn in the source.

2 thoughts on “Knowing the author of a source matters: Gilmore Girls explains why

  1. As an avid Gilmore Girls fan (I can’t count how many times I’ve watched it), I’m not sure about this theory, sorry!! The original show didn’t have a narrator, per se, and followed many different characters in storylines that sometimes had nothing to do with Rory and/or Lorelai (like Lane’s band, Emily & Richard’s breakup, Luke’s custody battle, etc.). I felt that the reboot was a fail because it was a parody of the series rather than a continuation, and the characters were accordingly not sympathetic–they were just caricatures of the original characters. Overall, the heart was missing. I do think it’s interesting to explore why there is such a big difference, though, and perhaps narration could be tied to the gaze of the omniscient narrator in parody versus non-parody?

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