Storytelling and its importance in our society

 

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The importance of storytelling is vital to how we view the world at large. We all strive to find relatable aspects in what the various mediums of storytelling can give us. It is a mirror to our lives and the experiences in fiction can prove impactful. Emotional drive is a key factor, whether it is a problem big or small that a character goes through we do want to see them succeed even though there are hurdles. The challenges we see characters go through are intriguing because as a society we have a large set of problems  that life presents us that seem mundane outside of fiction. But how we persevere is a question of not only emotional but also empathetic strength. One particular instance of storytelling thatstruck me recently was the amount of emotional involvement seen in Edgar Wright’s new feature film Baby Driver. In any great story, emotional factor is key. Without the vital character information regarding the title character particularly that of his Tinnitus and backstory, we wouldn’t nearly have the chance to care beyond his occupation as a driver for Kevin Spacey’s ruthless crime boss.

It doesn’t matter if a character is good or bad, there has to be a certain amount of humanity to balance out the positive and negative impulses. While they are one of many villains in a large sprawling fantasy story, would the Lannisters still provoke that much fascination and disgust had the familial strife and political intrigue been absent in George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire? The answer is that the human condition is constant, we are multifaceted as people. It is both entertaining and sometimes poignant knowing that in any storytelling medium, we can find connection to problems not far removed from our own. Even when a character goes through love or loss, we feel for them because these are real and raw emotions. I’m always on the verge of tears whenever I watch The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. While it is universal agreement on how sad the ending is, it’s the buildup that’s far worse in my collective view.

It’s the point in the short animated film, where after the snowmen party the nameless young boy receives a scarf from Santa Claus as a Christmas gift. What follows is the titular Snowman and the boy flying back home after the exchange. There is an underlying sadness to the end of a journey highlighted in Howard Blake’s misty eyed and wistful score. It’s a human sadness touching upon the fact that nothing lasts forever, particularly childhood around Christmas. We do take time for granted and what one can take away from the story is to not only appreciate the good things, but also that they can end before you know it. Regarding the subject of love while there can be many challenges, the amount of believability in a couple and the factors in attraction are of great importance. In WALL-E, the titular robot and EVE’s romance is believable because of the many lengths WALL-E will go to win her love. Even going across the galaxy to do so. In EVE’s case it takes longer for her, due to her initial disinterest and directive towards finding and containing evidence of sustainable life on earth.

However the most pivotal point in the story is where WALL-E is grievously injured by the treasonous AUTO while trying to help the ship’s Captain protect the McGuffin which is the plant. EVE has warmed to him at this point, where she is willing to abandon her directive to try and help WALL-E in spite of his insistence that she carries on. For a mostly partially dialogue free film, those acts of love say a lot. Particularly that with love comes certain sacrifices. Whether it be mortal or one of various human inhibitions, we are always going to make a choice that benefits not only the ones we love but also for our own emotional growth. What we can learn from storytelling is how much of a tool it is for understanding life and the human condition as it is for experiencing something. Experience is an important part of our day to day life, and without it we wouldn’t have the essential knowledge of how we can approach the future and beyond in day to day living. I can safely say that I have reached a point in my life since finishing Ringling College of Art and Design that I know what it means to have experienced something. I am grateful for it every day and I yearn for more.