Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Storytelling

In every good story there is a protagonist, antagonist, and a victim of sorts. The events that occur in the story can be framed in ways that cast the same actors in all of the contrasting roles: the hero(heroine), the villain, or the victim. Not to be an advocate of subjectivism, but often these contrasting perspectives or stories have truth, which is a bit of a paradox.

Upon considering this ability to cast each actor as either the hero (heroine), villain, or victim depending on perspective made me consider my personal perspective on actors in my life as well as myself. Today do I see myself as the hero, the villain, or the victim? What are the implications of seeing yourself in any of these particular roles? What are the implications of seeing others in these roles without considering the other equally or even more truthful roles they may be casted as? I believe that despite this very subjectivist view, that there are times where there are objective roles. It is possible for a single person to be all of the roles at once. For example an alcoholic; An alcoholic is the villain to himself, the victim of his choices, and is a hero in embryo having the potential to become the hero within his story.

The movie Stranger than Fiction brings up another aspect of stories, it is the question of if a story is a comedy or a tragedy? In the movie Stranger than Fiction the main character, Harold Crick, one day wakes up and realizes that his life is being narrated. The narrator says, “little did he know that this simple, seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death.” referring the resetting of his watch. Worried this causes him to begin a thorough investigation of his story. He begins to make a series of changes in his life that leads him to live his life for the first time. Harold as part of his investigation talks to a professor at a near by university, an expert on Literary Theory. The Professor suggests to Harold try to determine if his life is a tragedy or a comedy. I have recently considered such in my own life. I have had few “tragic” events occur but when they do, I ultimately have found a certain comedic value within them, and I expect that any tragedy within in our lives will only serve to make our ultimate triumphs even greater.

No matter our story, we are our own authors. As authors we can choose to write our lives as a tragedy or a comedy. We can write ourselves as the villains, the victims, or the heros. “Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies. And, fortunately, when there aren’t any cookies, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention hospital gurneys and nose plugs, an uneaten Danish, soft-spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days, are effective for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives. I know the idea seems strange, but I also know that it just so happens to be true. And, so it was, a wristwatch saved Harold Crick.” -Stranger than Fiction

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