I'm making believe that you're in my arms
though I know you're so far away
Making believe I'm talking to you,
wish you could hear what I say
And here in the gloom of my lonely room
we're dancing like we used to do
Making believe is just another way of dreaming,
so till my dreams come true
I'll whisper "Good night",
turn out the light, and kiss my pillow
Making believe it's you.
- "I'm Making Believe", Gordon and Monaco [made famous by Fitzgerald]
Let me pick up more or less where I left off in my previous post. I disagree with much that Kendall Walton claims in Mimesis and Make-Believe largely because I see trouble with his employments of 'imagination' and 'make-believe'. And it isn't just a translation problem, though we need to watch out for those. I'm not just uncharitably foisting my senses on Walton's sentences to embarrass his overall account. I'm refusing his senses as unsuitable.
And let me reiterate that I'm quite unsure that I have understood Walton correctly. Perhaps I'm just hacking away at a straw-man I've constructed. For now, I'm just trying to get my preliminary criticisms down in writing. I'm planning to reread after this and verify that I got it right.
In my previous post I argued that Walton seems to lose track of the fact that make-believe - paradigmatically, that thing children do with toy trucks and soldiers and dollies on the floor - is a species of role-play. I say Walton mistakenly characterizes this essentially participatory activity as essentially spectatorial.
Before advancing further, let me retreat half a step. Does make-believe truly require role-play, per se? Consider a typical case: pile of sawdust, garden hose, plastic army men assembled below. The sawdust is a volcano, the hose provides the molten lava, the army men are the helpless, doomed townsfolk. The game is to watch with glee as the red-hot stuff creeps closer and closer: Here it comes! Aaaaaah! Who will be the last one standing? (Kids can be so cruel.)
Where is the role-play here? Is it obvious that watching the make-believe doom of the make-believe town is not pure, imaginative spectatorship? Admittedly, the players will probably not role-play the townsfolk, who are helpless and passive. It probably wouldn't be the case that they would role-play the volcano, but there is a sense in which make-believe does always seem to involve entering into - identifying with, taking up the perspective of - some active principle within the game's unfolding event-scheme. In this case, the lava flow is the prime candidate. Not that the players will actually say they are playing lava. Then again, it wouldn't be so strange for the player armed with the hose to exclaim, 'I am the terrible lava! There is no stopping me! Here I come!' In light of cases like this let me back off slightly on my insistence that make-believe involve role-play. A weaker thesis: when you make-believe you identify with something active, to some degree, then enjoy the sense of activity that would be yours if you were that something. (Of course the active something may be plain old you, stipulated into the make-believe setting.) The puzzle in this case is that vaguely identifying with molten lava, vaguely taking up the perspective of vaguely personified lava, may not amount to role-playing being lava. (Presumably it isn't a case of make-believing being sentient lava.) Kid's minds can be confusing places. Let's shrug our shoulders and move along. I'm going to keep saying 'role-play' because it's a convenient tag. Let 'role-play' pick out whatever more minimal 'identification with active agencies in the story-scheme' is truly necessary for make-believe.
Walton does not explicitly deny that make-believe involves role-play. He knows this (it would be quite unaccountable for him to overlook it.) Chapter 9 is entitled 'participation'. From the very start there are frequent, clear nods of awareness: "Much needs to be learned about the benefits of make-believe, about just what needs it serves and how it serves them. But suggestions come easily to mind: that engaging in make-believe provides practice in roles one might someday assume in real life, that it helps one to understand and sympathize with others ... " (p. 12). Nevertheless, just half a paragraph later: "Games of make-believe are one species of imaginative activity; specifically, they are exercises of the imagination involving props" (p. 12). Since to imagine is only essentially to spectate, this is an inadequate characterization; it does not exclude but fails to guarantee the participatory, active essence of make-believe. Something that was just an exercise of the imagination involving props - a rule that whenever you see x you are to imagine y - might not yet be any sort of game, let alone a game of make-believe.
Furthermore, Walton may not only have missed (or at least somewhat lost track of) something essential; he may have seized on something strictly inessential. Namely, the requirement to imagine things when confronted with props in games of make-believe. Plausibly props are essential components in make-believe. Plausibly we wouldn't call anything 'make-believe' unless there were some element of 'let x be y' - this dolly a baby, that sawdust a volcano. Ella Fitzgerald sings: "I'll whisper 'Good night', turn out the light, and kiss my pillow/ Making believe it's you." Let this pillow be my lover. But is it really, truly necessary, on pain of not playing the game properly, to really, truly imagine the baby, the volcano, the lover, when confronted with the prop? Does the game prescribe that you imagine - over and above, say, merely supposing - that x is y? If you do not imagine, if you merely suppose, do you play the game wrongly? (Sorry to split this semantic hair, but it is going to be important. The imagine/suppose distinction is a crucial support for Walton's position and it seems to me only flimsily established by him.) Consider this passage from Walton, in which he seems to insist strongly on the need to imagine things in response to props:
"A toy truck or a well-executed snowman induces all who see it to imagine approximately the same thing - a truck or a man of a certain sort. It coordinates their imaginings. And since the coordination does not involve agreements, stipulations, collective deliberation, the imaginings can be spontaneous. Moreover, it is probably obvious to each participant that the others will imagine what he does. Each can reasonably assume that the snowman will induce others, as it does him, to imagine a man of a certain sort. The prompter coordinates the imaginings of the participants and also gives them grounds to expect such coordination - both without disruptive discussion." (p. 23)
This seems to me wrong in detail and in tendency. To begin with, confronted with a toy truck or snowman I think I normally have no expectation that others imagine roughly the same real truck or real snowman that I do - not even when I am actually playing a game of make-believe involving such artifacts, which Walton really ought to stipulate additionally. (But I appreciate this is another point of disagreement between us. See last night's post.) The reason I have no such expectation that others will imagine the same real trucks and real snowmen is that, near as I can tell, I myself don't usually 'imagine' such things at all in these sorts of situations.
Here is a symptom of how little inclined I am to imagine real snowmen when prompted with ... well, aren't the ones on lawns already the real ones? I don't know what counts as real in the realm of snowmen, come to think of it. Am I supposed to imagine an ordinary man in the snow where the three globes of snow with the carrot-nose are actually standing? Or a man just like an ordinary man, only he's made of snow? Or a pile of three snow spheroids with a carrot-nose, only mysteriously animate and sentient? Number three, if X-Mas TV specials are any judges. But isn't it likely that the first snowman was just a snow statue, representing a real man? (Just as a bronze statue doesn't represent a man of bronze?) When did snowmen start to be representations of men made of snow? The fact that I don't know goes to show just unclear we are about our standing orders to imagine x when confronted with snowmen ... if we indeed are under imaginative orders to imagine x, as Walton claims.
If I am running a toy truck around on the floor, making-believe with my daughter that she is driving it, I do not actually 'imagine' a full-sized truck of that general type and color with her in it. I doubt she does either. Most games of make-believe played by means of little models do not - so far as I can tell by introspecting my own case - stimulate the imagination, per se; hardly more so than a knight in a game of chess stimulates imagination of a real man on real horseback. The advantage, to a kid, of having a toy truck that looks like a truck is of the same order and degree as the advantage, to a table-top war-gamer, of having little tanks to be the tanks. You never forget what a thing is supposed to be if it is a standing, iconic reminder. That's convenient. And a smart-looking little tank is easier on the eye than a crummy bit of cardboard with 'tank' scribbled on. It's nice to have well-made artifacts. Nice chess pieces are nice. (It's nice to have nice furniture in your living room. Humans just plain like having nice stuff. This is the real reason why a kid will prefer to play make-believe trucks with a nice toy truck, rather than a chunk of wood.)
Let's push the comparison with war-gamers a little further. (I do have some geeky first personal experience in this department.) I do not think there is much tendency on the part of war-gamers to gaze out over all the little tanks on the table-top and imagine - really, truly imagine - lots of life-size tanks on a real battlefield. What you do is look at the board and suppose (as opposed to imagine) that a whole host of rule-defined states of affairs obtain. What runs through your head, as you take in the scene, are not war-movies but a lot of quivering 'what-if's' and tantalizing (or excruciating) potential lines of action and hypothetical development. But this is pretty abstract cognitive activity, branching decision trees and weighing chances and all that. It is not a matter of spontaneously concocting appropriate footage of men and material, running various reels in the theater of the mind.
I suspect kids on the floor, with toy soldiers, are proto-war-gamers psychologically. When you play with toy soldiers you suppose stuff, and act on those suppositions in satisfying ways. Maybe you form some mental images of real soldiers. But that isn't obligatory, and I doubt it is even the norm rather than the exception. (Maybe some kids playing with toy soldiers have livelier imaginations. Maybe there are different kinds of make-believe. Some kids may be proto-wargamers; others may be proto-movie directors. As Larry commented - relatedly - to my first post, maybe some kids of proto-aesthetes and others are proto-moralists: "I'm trying to picture John Gardner and John Updike as little tykes down on the rug with their toy soldiers. Somehow I can't help seeing little Gardner holding dramatic court-martials while little Updike muses about how the swordpoints catch the late afternoon sunlight..." Even that would be enough to foil Walton, who seems to insist on the latter..)
And note that war-gamers and chess players, like orthodox make-believers, will tell you not just that this thing stands for a tank, or that thing stands for a king. They will say this IS a tank, this IS a king. This seems significant. There is at best a weak phenomenology of representation - at best a weak sense of some real battlefield of which this is merely a model. There is a sort of make-believe going on in war-gaming. It is undeniable that part of its appeal is the rather hard to pin down sense of identity between one's game moves and the sorts of events one knows sometimes take place in the real world. It's vaguely thrilling to make-believe that you are the brilliant, heroic commanding general, saving the day. That's part of the appeal, no denying it. Even so, while playing you do not actually imagine that you are the general, I think. What you do when you play is suppose stuff, not imagine stuff.
§2 Dreaming just another way of making-believe?
An incidental point that will move us on to a further, not so incidental one. §1.6 of Walton's book is sub-titled, "Fictionality without props: dreams and daydreams". But, just for the sake of argument, why shouldn't we choose to regard dreams and daydreams as containing multiple props in the form of multiple mental images? If, as the song says, make-believe is "just another way of dreaming", why shouldn't the equation be reversible: dreaming just another way of making-believe? Ergo, a prop-based affair?
What would that mean? Well, why not regard all the objects of our imagination as props in our thought-processes.
Cutting to the chase: why not regard the things we are induced to imagine by reading fiction not as the point of the fiction game - as Walton seems to imply - but as so many more props?
Let me explain by means of an example. Suppose I read an illustrated edition of "The Lord of the Rings". (Or suppose I otherwise fortify my reading experience with pictures - a great many illustrators having tried their hands, with varying degrees of success, on this subject matter.) Illustrations often - what is a neutral enough way to put it? - decisively inflect our appreciation of a work of fiction. Pictures can impress themselves on you for better or worse. Forever after you may be constitutionally incapable of imagining scenes and characters otherwise than as you have seen them depicted. That said, you do not draw inferences about the story from illustrations as you would from the text itself. Illustrations are not authoritative in that way. They do not generate fictional truths, i.e. propositions that are true in the fiction (whatever exactly that turns out to mean.) If an artist depicts Aragorn with a floor-length cloak and lace-up knee-high boots, we do not infer that Aragorn really has a cloak just like that, and boots just like that, unless the text says so too. (Possible counter-example: comic books, in which the illustrations are far more integral to the generation of fictional truths. But even then I don't think we are particularly puzzled when different artists draw faces and figures of the same characters very differently.)
I think much the same may be true of what we imagine when we read fiction. What we imagine functions as illustrations do. Let me be yet more concrete and specific. It so happens that when I imagine the Misty Mountains in "The Hobbit" I see more or less the view from my parent's kitchen window in Eugene, Oregon. I happen to have handy JPEG file footage.
There. Now you know what the Misty Mountains look like to me. It's no New Zealand, but not such an awful shooting location if it weren't for all the houses and cars. And if there were real mountains as opposed to small hills.
And then there are the profound effects the LOTR movies have had - on you too, I'll bet. Barring unforeseen developments, I'm never going to be able to imagine any of Tolkien's major characters otherwise than as Jackson cast them, even though I don't wholly approve of all his casting decisions. My private theater of the imagination is stuck running Jackson-cast productions from now on. (There is a slight puzzle at this point, as you might wish to distinguish between Tolkien's characters and Jackson's on the grounds that the latter inhabit a new work, ergo are new characters. But let's pass over this ontological twiddle.) The psychological fact is: when I read Tolkien's words now, I see Jackson's cast. And New Zealand plays Middle-Earth. But I don't regard these images in my head as fictionally authoritative, relative to the text. I don't infer fictional truths from the images that pop into my head. Often the images don't match what's on the page, and I think what's on the page is determinative. Even when there is no clear contradiction with the text, I don't draw inferences. I don't think it's a fictional truth about Tolkien's Middle-Earth that one of the inhabitants, Gandalf, looks uncannily like an aged Sir Ian McKellan. (Really, the wizard and the actor could be twins, to judge from the theater of my imagination. But I pay this fact no heed. I don't think Gandalf is twins with Magneto either, but my imagination sure does.)
In short, it seems to me my faculty of imagination functions like an illustrator of fiction, filling the facing pages with stuff that - like illustrations - truly does effect how I read the words, but that is not really authoritative with respect to the fictional truths generated by the words.
I am hereby experimentally casting the things we imagine while we read fiction as somewhat epiphenomenal, to challenge Walton's thesis that they are essential and definitive of the function of fiction.
Posing all this as a direct challenge to Walton: if sentences in novels are just props in games of make-believe; and if props in games of make-believe are prescriptions to imagine - but then if the things we imagine turn out to be just more props - then what exactly is it that all these fictional props really aim to make us readers do? It seems the sentences in novels must be telling me to do something more than just something rather inessential to the fictional-appreciation process. (This sentence makes me imagine Ian McKellan somewhere in New Zealand. But it makes me suppose that the wizard Gandalf is knocking on Frodo's door. The thing I suppose, not what I imagine, is the really important thing.)
What would Walton say in response? I am fairly confident he would say that the trouble with all this is that I am construing 'imagination' uncharitably and unduly narrowly. I am talking on and on as if the faculty of imagination were merely a faculty for summoning mental images before the mind's eye. I have somehow gotten fixated on the etymological root of 'imagination': image. No doubt there is such a thing as a mental image. No doubt forming mental images is a job for the imagination. But it is perfectly appropriate to construe 'imagination' much more broadly, as including much more, as doing more jobs than just that. Walton wants to construe it more broadly so it makes little sense to reproach his theory by reading it while persistently construing 'imagination' to be a matter of images - pictures, filmic footage running in the theater of the mind, so forth.
My response to this response would be: there are at least two ready-to-hand, tolerably clear senses of 'imagination'. One very narrow, one quite broad. I have been insisting on the narrow one. It's probably too narrow. But the broad one, which Walton calls upon, is too broad. And it isn't at all clear what's in between too narrow and too broad.
How so? Consider the following dictionary definition of 'imagination':
NOUN: 1a. The formation of a mental image of something that is neither perceived as real nor present to the senses. b. The mental image so formed. c. The ability or tendency to form such images. 2. The ability to confront and deal with reality by using the creative power of the mind; resourcefulness: handled the problems with great imagination. 3. A traditional or widely held belief or opinion. 4. Archaic a. An unrealistic idea or notion; a fancy. b. A plan or scheme.
OTHER FORMS: i·magi·nation·al —ADJECTIVE
SYNONYMS: imagination, fancy, fantasy These nouns refer to the power of the mind to form images, especially of what is not present to the senses. Imagination is the most broadly applicable: “In the world of words, the imagination is one of the forces of nature” (Wallace Stevens). Fancy especially suggests mental invention that is whimsical, capricious, or playful and that is characteristically well removed from reality: “All power of fancy over reason is a degree of insanity” (Samuel Johnson, Rasselas XLIV) Fantasy is applied principally to elaborate or extravagant fancy as a product of the imagination given free rein: “The poet is in command of his fantasy, while it is exactly the mark of the neurotic that he is possessed by his fantasy” (Lionel Trilling).
I am obviously being obstinate by squatting on sense 1, more or less refusing to budge. Walton would apparently be quite reasonable to complain: look, you really ought to read on to find out what else the thing does. But I'm not budging for a sound tactical reason. I think I see the trouble we will get in if we read on far enough to get to the synonyms: fancy, fantasy. There is a clear (although not very easily specifiable) sense in which the English word 'imagination' is semantically linked to works of fiction, and acts of fiction-making, and acts of fiction-appreciation, as these semi-synonyms indicate. This might be cited as confirmation of Walton's view. But it seems to me it is actually a serious threat to turn all such explanations of fiction in terms of imagination into sheer, unexplanatory tautologies. Because the semantic link does not obviously indicate an order of explanation.
The old joke about Aristotelian explanations: this sleeping pill works in virtue of its dormative power. Likewise, a work of fiction no doubt works in virtue of its imaginative power. Fair enough, but only if you don't mind that you are so far saying something trivial. Just as 'dormative power' only becomes explanatory of sleep if it doesn't point right back to 'sleep', so 'imaginative power' only becomes explanatory of fiction if it doesn't point right back to 'fantasy', hence 'fiction'. Just as a chemist can only explain how sleeping pills work by pointing to some process by which the pills triggers reactions in body and brain, Walton needs to isolate some operation of the mind (and/or language, and/or society and/or whatever) that can be characterized in substantial isolation from any notion of fiction, and which can plausibly be labeled 'imagination'. We really need to know what this thing, the imagination, is. If this independently specified meaning of 'imagination' can then be independently, plausibly, internally coordinated with our notion of fiction, we may be on our way to explaining fiction in terms of imagination. Otherwise not. By taking the rather extreme step of refusing to broaden my sense of 'imagination' beyond 'mental image', give or take, I am hoping to provoke consideration of just how much broader the meaning should be. Taking a look at the above definition of 'imagination', the ground in between sense 1 (on which I too conservatively squat) and the synonyms (on which Walton too complacently leans) is not self-evidently promising in this regard.
2. The ability to confront and deal with reality by using the creative power of the mind; resourcefulness: handled the problems with great imagination. 3. A traditional or widely held belief or opinion. 4. Archaic a. An unrealistic idea or notion; a fancy. b. A plan or scheme.
I don't see an explanation of how fiction works here.
§4 Imagination and Supposition
What does Walton actually say about the imagination and its operations, to save his thesis that works of fictions are props? A great many things, most of them plausible and some of them quite insightful but it comes down to this:
"What is it to imagine? We have examined a number of dimensions along which imaginings can vary; shouldn't we now spell out what they have in common?
Yes, if we can. But I can't Fortunately, an intuitive understanding of what it is to imagine, sharpened somewhat by the observations of this chapter, is sufficient for us to proceed with our investigation. But it will be revealing to look briefly at one promising but inadequate way of understanding imagining. In order to simplify things, let us restrict our attention to propositional imagining - imagining that something is the case. To imagine that p, it might be said, is to entertain the proposition that p, to attend to it, to consider it ....
It is doubtful that the notion of entertaining propositions can be made to work even as an account of occurrent imagining. When Helen believes occurrently, thinks to herself, that there will be an earthquake in San Francisco before the year 2000, surely part of what she is doing is entertaining this proposition. Perhaps we can accept without too much strain that she is also imagining it, and that in general people imagine what they occurrently believe, disbelieve, fear, intend, desire. But suppose Dick thinks to himself that it is not the case that San Francisco will have an earthquake by 2000. He would seem to be entertaining the proposition that San Francisco will have an earthquake by 2000, as well as its negation. Must we allow that he is imagining both of them, both that the earthquake will occur and that it won't? Occurrent imagining, as we ordinarily understand it and as we need to understand it in order to explain representation [fiction], involves more than just entertaining or considering or having in mind the propositions imagined. Imagining (propositional imagining), like (propositional) believing or desiring, is doing something with a proposition one has in mind ....
These negative conclusions illustrate and underscore some of the difficulties facing any attempt to construct a full-fledged account of what it is to imagine. I hope they have at least won the reader's sympathy for my decision not to make that attempt. It remains to be shown that we can get along without such an account. In any case, the difficulties do not provide an excuse to settle for some notion weaker than imagining - that of considering, for example - which, however clear, cannot do the job that needs to be done. "Imagining" can, if nothing else, serve as a placeholder for a notion yet to be fully clarified." (p. 19-21)
I sympathize with Walton's troubles. I truly do. I don't have an account of the imagination myself. It's really hard to come up with one. But I just can't give him a pass, because I just don't really buy these tentative generalizations Walton wants to pass off as relatively uncontroversial. To begin with, I don't see why I should accept that people in general imagine everything they occurrently believe. (I guess so. But it depends what you mean by 'imagine'.) For that matter, I don't see why Dick should have any particular problem imagining that San Francisco will not have an earthquake unless the problem is supposed to be that he would be confused by superimposed mental images - one of an earthquake, one of not an earthquake - due to the need to entertain both possibilities. (But this takes us back to my narrow, image-based understanding, which we agree is probably too narrow.) I just don't know what 'imagining' is, above and beyond supposing or entertaining, unless it is something like: conjuring an actual image before the mind's eye. But if that's it then the account of fiction in terms of props prescribing imaginings will collapse, because surely it's wrong to say fiction is always essentially instructions for forming mental images, in some narrow sense.
Skip ahead to the start of chapter 2, where these chickens start straggling home to roost.
Walton considers an objection. Why shouldn't Darwin's Origin of Species turn out to be fiction, on Walton's account? "It is arguable that believing something involves imagining it (or at least that occurrently believing involves imagining, and perhaps Darwin's work is designed to induce occurent beliefs.) So doesn't The Origin of Species prescribe imaginings, and thus generate fictional truths?
No. In writing his book Darwin no doubt intended to get readers to believe certain things. But there is no understanding to the effect that readers are to believe whatever the book says just because it says it. If we are to believe the theory of evolution, it is because that theory is true, or because there is good evidence for it, not because it is expressed in The Origin of Species - although of course The Origin of Species might convince us of the theory's truth or inform us of evidence for it. Darwin's book itself does not prescribe believings. So we cannot conclude that it prescribes imaginings, even if believing involves imagining.
Perhaps the reader of The Origin of Species, qua reader of the work, is obliged at least to consider, understand, attend to, entertain the propositions expressed in it, regardless of their truth or falsity. If he does not do so, perhaps he is not "playing the game" of reading the book properly. But as we say earlier [the bit I quoted above] considering or entertaining propositions falls short of imagining them." (p. 70-1)
So the only thing preserving Darwin's Origin of Species from turning into a work of fiction is this imagining/entertaining distinction. When I read sentences in a novel, I 'imagine' they are true. When I read sentences in a scientific treatise, I 'suppose' or 'entertain the notion that' they are true, in a hypothetical way. I must confess that I find I have no sufficiently independent grasp on this distinction. I don't think I'm being obstinate. I just think Walton can't make do with 'you sort of know what I mean'. The only way I can make sense of this order of things is by turning it on its head. Since a novel is a work of imagination (of fantasy or fancy) presumably it is a highly imaginative sort of affair, and when I read imaginative stuff I imagine stuff. Darwin is a different story. But this is just sleeping pills have a dormative quality all over again. I am granting 'novels make me imagine things' as a stipulative tautology.
Two more examples. I mentioned in my first post that sometimes Walton comes up with examples of fiction or non-fiction without considering whether they might need to be reclassified under his scheme. Thus:
"William Hazlitt's Characters of Shakespeare's Plays (1817) is largely about mere fictions, yet notion is more unambiguously a work of nonfiction" (p. 74). This is supposed to be an argument in passing for the fair point that it won't do to say fiction is about things that don't exist. Because, in an odd way, you can make nothing but true claims about things that don't exist. Sherlock is a detective. Shylock is a Jew. But I am quite sure that Hazlitt's vivid style is enough to guarantee that his work is at best a borderline work of nonfiction, on Walton's account. Hazlitt really makes you imagine those folks, in my opinion. Hazlitt's style is much more imaginatively vivid than that of many a fiction writer. That ought to make him a fiction-writer, even though it's all true.
Another example in the opposite direction. "Some works are mixtures of ficton and nonfiction. These are hardly problematic from a theoretical point of view. In a philosophical treatise passages presenting hypothetical examples (examples of evil geniuses, primitive "language games", waiters who behave too much like waiters, brains in vats, unexpected executions) may qualify as fiction while the rest of the work does not" (p. 90). But surely, apart from some of the more vivid cases, we don't 'imagine' what's going on in thought-experiments. We 'suppose' that x is the case. And then we investigate what follows conceptually. Most thought-experiments are too dull, as stories, to really fire the imagination. And if they were livened up, to stimulate the imagination, they would be suspect as thought-experiments. Because the imagination can cook up all sorts of irrelevant stuff. Any passage from Kierkegaard, or even Hegel, is more likely to fire the imagination that yet another weary haggling over water on twin-earth. Even Frank Jackson's Mary, locked in her black and white room, doesn't actually make me imagine our heroine Mary, trapped all those years in that room. If I actually imagined her, I'd probably start feeling sorry for her, which would be silly. Better just to suppose she's there, for the sake of argument. But Walton is just assuming that all these bland little tales are little fictions. I just don't see that his theory predicts that they will be.