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The Transformative SelfPersonal Growth, Narrative Identity, and the Good Life$
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Jack Bauer

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780199970742

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199970742.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 January 2022

Growth Themes in Personal Narratives

Growth Themes in Personal Narratives

(p.159) 6 Growth Themes in Personal Narratives
The Transformative Self

Jack Bauer

Oxford University Press

Theme in a personal narrative conveys the narrator’s value orientations (what the person values, is motivated by, needs, or believes is important in an event) but not whether the event turns out well (tone does that). Three great themes in both literature and life stories are agency, communion, and growth. Themes of eudaimonic growth are central to the transformative self. Growth themes come in various, overlapping forms, notably agentic, communal, reflective, and experiential forms. Growth themes and growthy tones work together to convey not only the value orientation of growth but also the value fulfillment or attainment of eudaimonic growth, experienced as a sense of meaningfulness. Growth themes link actions to motives and to mechanisms of development, which may be why growth themes are powerful predictors of separate measures of happiness, love, wisdom, and growth, regardless of the type of event.

Keywords:   narrative theme, motive, meaning, eudaimonic growth, growth theme, agency, communion, reflective growth, experiential growth, value orientation

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