By Stella Constance
With the emergence of dark literature and screen plays becoming a part of mainstream media we ask the question: Can fictional writers change their reader/viewer’s community by actively engaging them in virtual real-life solutions? Yes, they can.
It is interesting to note that Gene Roddenberry, the writer and creator of the Star Trek television series classic and its offshoots, which successfully ran for many decades, continually challenged his viewers through his thought provoking screenplay writing on alternative reality problem solving to address everyday (unresolved) societal problems. His imagination also inspired his viewers to create devices that we hold dear today, such as cell phones, smart phones, tablets, holographic 3-dimensional imaging for diagnosis applications, etc.
There was also Laura Ingalls Wilder who wrote the Little House on the Prairies book series classic, that later became a successful, long-running television series. Her books shared with her readers, a glimpse into some of her family’s pioneering and farming settlement hardships during the late 1800’s. Her books inspired a generation of readers and viewers to think through real life challenges creatively, like the Ingalls Family, to get through life’s challenges in a civilized way, through healthy family and community building. Furthermore, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables book series is another fine example of fictional story writing that later became a successful television series. The fictional character, Anne, helped readers and viewers see adopting orphans in a more positive light, which meant not just using them for labor, such as, to run a farm, but to include them as full members of their families.
In addition, we also have George Orwell’s classic novella, Animal Farm that was followed up with a couple of movie productions of it. It is a cautionary tale that warns readers of how power corrupts, affecting even those players who started out with the best of intentions. It encourages readers to be vigilant and proactive, with the leaders of their times. How relevant is Orwell’s message today?
There are many Greek, Viking, and ancient world mythologies and legends of heroism that go back thousands of years, of which many Marvel and DC Comics characters are based – and in some cases, repackaged. Those ancient stories originated as oral traditions, before they were written down as tales of survival, sharing themes of how life-threatening challenges were overcome, even under the most difficult circumstances.
These examples of classical, enduring fictional stories all have a point and purpose, they not only entertain, but they also inspire and teach their readers/viewers on possible ways to deal with real life matters, to ensure the growth and survival of not just the person, but also their family and community.
When you have a story that inspires hope, innovative ideas often appear to families and associated communities, that at the same time, helps advance them towards a healthier and functional society. As more and more stories flood the already crowded book market and media outlets, readers/viewers are becoming more selective. Are they looking for a story that will make them disillusioned and despondent, or a story that would inspire them with new possibilities and positive outcomes that did not exist before?
Read the article in Point of View September 2016