Slice of life  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Slice of life is a theatrical term that refers to a naturalistic representation of real life, sometimes used as an adjective, as in, "a play with 'slice of life' dialogue." The term originated in 1890–95 as a translation from the French phrase tranche de vie, credited to the French playwright Jean Jullien (1854–1919).

The slice of life story is a category for a story that portrays a "cut-out" sequence of events in a character's life. It may or may not contain any real plot, and often has no exposition, action, conflict, or denouement, with an open ending. It usually tries to depict the every-day life of ordinary people. The term slice of life is actually a (more or less) dead metaphor: it often seems as if the author had taken a knife and cut out a slice of the lives of some characters, apparently not bothering at all where the cuts were made.

In the 20th century, it expanded to mean the realistic description or representation of events and situations in everyday life in narratology.

During the 1950s, the phrase had common critical usage in reviews of live television dramas, notably teleplays by JP Miller, Paddy Chayefsky and Reginald Rose. At that time, it was sometimes used synonymously with the critical label "kitchen sink realism," adopted from British films and theater.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Slice of life" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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