The Beauty of Fiction

Why do people make up stories that aren’t true? Why do we play with reality in search of a fantastical story line? Is there any worth to this nonsense?

First, there is worth in Rainbow unicorns… THEY ARE PRETTY! But I digress…

Why do we enjoy stories we know are just not true, could never be true, and never will be true?

One answer is, it’s just fun.

A good fiction story, regardless of genre, grabs us and takes us for a ride. A ride we can’t get from anywhere else. It’s just plain fun to go places we never will be able to in real life.

Second, they stretch something within us, and open doors to learning subtly. We get to explore times, environments, and possibilities all from the comfort of our favorite reading corners. We can dig through the mire of human existence without getting our hands dirty and gain an understanding of different peoples without risking life and limb.

We can learn to have the courage of Frodo in the middle of his fantasy. (The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.) The power of love, curiosity, and empathy live in stories like ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett. 

Of course, a book is not the equal of realm life experience, but there is real value to be gained from the trip through its pages.

A third case can be made for fiction, stretching the human mind to find possibilities. What would it be like to walk on the moon? Humans dreamt of it and wrote about it before we accomplished it. Sharing those dreams in different ways, one of them being through science fiction stories, helped build a collective desire to make it happen.

Stories and their telling, holds power, even fiction.

What is your favorite fiction story, and what did you learn from it? 

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef


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