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Article The Future

Fiction and the future

“Fiction was invented the day Jonah arrived home and told his wife that he was three days late because he had been swallowed by a whale...” ― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

Fiction is a beautiful art

Fiction is a remarkable art. It is thrilling and fascinating. Life would not be the same without imaginative stories unravelling across pages in books and eBooks, or through fiction finding expression through audio storytelling, or as cinema in theaters. Most individuals regard fiction as a means of reaching out to artistic creativity; for entertainment, engagement, and information, or simply as a work of masterly workmanship to admire and enjoy. This can be said for the majority of people— “They value fiction as the creative work it truly is”. Fiction and creativity, in their many alluring casts in the material world, are engraved on the same stone.

Imparting life lessons

Other than providing creative entertainment, fiction also allows one to understand the difference between right and wrong. Fiction has the capacity to disperse messages of morality, motivation, strength, courage, peace, and other virtues. On the other hand, fiction also dwells upon matters of misadventures, crimes, tragedies, and the dark side of life—this is necessary, for these also act as sources of valuable life lessons—that one must remember and use, wherever applicable. Fiction can have varied other benefits in addition to imparting life lessons. Therefore, fiction is irreplaceable and precious for innumerable reasons.

Overall influence

Everyone has access to fiction—in the form of literature, cinema, and other media. Therefore, one can say that fiction does have the ability to influence. It could affect someone intellectually, creatively, and in other ways—perhaps immensely or minutiae. Given the vast reach of books of fiction and cinema, it is however obvious, that fiction has a powerful charm that draws readers and audiences in.

Fiction and personal life

A majority, watches these creations on silver screens, or read their favorite fictive story, immerse themselves in it, enjoys it and then continues pursuing their love for fiction, in its many forms. It does not influence their personal lives. Positively, the lessons learnt, the creativity engendered, the entertainment value they offer, also become an important byproduct of reading good quality fiction or seeing great cinema, for them.

However, fiction could affect a few people, not so positively, in their personal lives, too—an individual who is sensitive to what they see on the screen or how they absorb stories they read—someone to whom, fiction is magnified to a point, where it may overwhelm them on how they perceive their own real life situation and its outcome. Perhaps, the number of such individuals is very less; almost negligible, but imaginary fiction could shape their thoughts and actions in subtle ways—not always, but in certain cases. In-depth research would however be needed to enable some representative figures to come through.

Different connotation

For those whose, personal lives are deeply or even moderately influenced by fiction—fiction could have a different connotation. It could change the way one thinks about or perceives situations—the way outcomes or solutions arising in the lives of the protagonists, also flash in front of one’s eyes, when faced with a similar or closely related situation. Stories in books or tales on celluloid could linger on in such an adult’s mind—kind of like in a repetitive mode—perhaps focusing on how ‘the truth shall prevail’, ‘how the enemy shall be annihilated’, ‘how long lost friends would meet’, and ‘how good shall overcome the bad’, or perhaps even how ‘things could go terribly wrong’ and so on. Regardless of what age they might be running at present, fiction could percolate into their lives, sometimes in a trickle and sometimes, in copious measures.

Plots and palettes

Exemplifying this further, one can take a look at the general shape some fictional creations take. In some cases, the protagonist finds themselves in a difficult situation, and someone far stronger than them or braver rescues them. In other instances, the protagonist falls in love with someone and their story has a happy ending or coincidences happen, which ultimately bring them together, leading up to a lovely denouement.

Different stories have different plots and palettes: some are awash with emotions, some with adventure and so on. Then there are romances and love filled chronicles; narrations dealing with hate, anger, revenge, wars, battles—or there are science fiction accounts too. Before the individual knows it, somewhere in their memories, the pieces of fiction have etched their plot. If the fragments left behind are illuminating, peaceful, motivating, empowering—there is no cause for concern. However, if they are associated with destruction, violence, and other negatives—then some caution could be practiced.

Illustrations

Illustrating further, here is a look at some representative pieces of fiction: An incredible film called Apocalypto directed by Mel Gibson, for example, had an intense storyline, and was based on a real ancient culture—that of the Mayans. The film had sadness, fear, cruelty. It also had bravery in the face of all of this—a truly heart rendering tale of hope and courage, where there was possibility of none. The peaceful protagonist, Jaguar Paw, loses his family members to a terrifying massacre carried out by a very cruel enemy tribe. He, along with some other members of his tribe are captured by an evil clan who drag them to their village, as slaves—where the caught tribes-people are readied for a ritual sacrifice.

However, in a very unbelievable escape, where he is outnumbered, and where no possible rescue could have been attempted—Jaguar Paw rescues himself. He has also hidden his pregnant wife in an earthen well in the village, and before it fills with rain, he has to return and save her too. In spite of the worst possible situation, the protagonist was caught in—he escapes and how—and also saves his wife and child. This movie is a brilliant piece of fiction. Although it may have been inspired partly by real life events and happenings, it still is historical fiction.

However, if a particular sensitive viewer is deeply influenced by such a film, it would be a good idea, to remember from the movie—its strengths—not the intensity of its cruelty or sadness. Learn from the lessons they teach, but do not let the tragedies fester in the lanes of one’s memory. Focus on the courage and strength Jaguar Paw showed, and how he fought an almost inevitable death.

Gone with the Wind, a famous American novel and later on a film, showed the feminine lead in a contradictory light; Scarlett O’Hara—a woman loved by many, loses a lot, and is seemingly left alone toward the end. Scarlett O’ Hara is initially shown as a woman in love with Ashley Wilkes. However, he marries Melanie Hamilton, and Scarlett marries Melanie’s younger brother, Charlie.

Scarlett marries thrice in the novel. Her first two husbands die, due to unfortunate circumstances. Her third husband is Rhett Butler, whom she marries much later, although having met him somewhere in the early stages of the novel. Scarlett has a volatile temper and an inconsistent manner, and her love story with Rhett, someone who loved her quite unconditionally, almost up to a point, leaves her—probably because he finally felt that there was no way she was ever going to love him the way he had always wanted her to. They also lose a child causing a rift in their relationship. Various problems befall Scarlett and her family during the course of the narrative.

Scarlett O’Hara is also a good woman, but her personality had flaws and the story does not end the way it should have. It is a beautiful piece of creative fiction. Her mistakes are something to learn from, but the end is sad—she loses her near and dear. Although one does expect that she will win Rhett back, but the reader is left to speculate.

A very famous short story by Anton Chekhov called The Grasshopper/The Fidget/The Butterfly—is another marvellous piece of fiction; unusual for its profound insight into the contradictions and irony of life. It is the story of Olga Ivanovna and her husband Osip Stepanitch Dymov—it dwells upon understanding the importance of a treasure one does not know one possesses—until one has lost it. Olga is an artist and a socialite, who marries a doctor. In the initial stages of the story, she partially recognizes his true worth, she thinks of him as someone very special she had always wanted by her side, and appreciates him for it.

Nevertheless, this does not last long. Influenced by her friends, and her own insecurities in having a husband so lacking in artistic inclination, she finds a new lover who she feels is more worthy of her—she finds a talented artist and neglects her simple husband. Tragically, this new person in her life eventually abandons her after having an affair with her. Toward the end of the story, Olga realizes that the great and rare man she had always wanted by her side was already by her side­—Osip, her husband—someone who always took great care of her. But this realization comes to her, rather late—Osip dies at the time; a death, partly caused by her indifference to him.

There are moral messages given here, those of understanding the value of contentment, of one’s responsibilities and the worth of love. Some losses are permanent and cannot be revoked—these are valuable lessons imparted by fiction. However, would anyone want such a loss for themselves, in real life?

Many other such pieces of fiction fetch and portray with intricacy the smithereens left behind by the catastrophes, unpredictability and atrocities of life. Even if fiction has elements of true life stories, it still is fiction. Cinema or fiction in print was plotted and expressed—the director made it—the author wrote it. They had control over all the events—the events happened as was planned by them. Such stories are compelling and spell genius. They are sad epic stories. They make great fiction—great reads and incredible cinema. In real life, however, one wishes the opposite of such tragedies.

On the contrary, if works of fiction are to a high degree, based mainly on true stories, then fiction takes on an entirely different colour and should be viewed differently.

Fiction and the future

For those few, who find cinematic or fictional stories in literature influencing their personal choices and decisions for the future, should just respect fiction as an art, and allow one’s personal life to take its own course. Although fiction could in some occurrences become reality, or reality could find a cast of fiction, but a natural unfolding of events should be sought, instead of imprinting fictive stories on one’s life. Unlike a perfectly fictitious environment, real life is natural; it does not have a bound script. Fiction, although guided and shaped formally, and howsoever redacted it may be, is not entirely real.

For those who at times, align their current personal lives or futurity with fiction—should borrow from fiction consciously, as long as it is positive. Fictional plots should also not become a parameter for predicting future outcomes either—the future should be allowed to manifest naturally, without putting imaginary fictive outcomes along the road. Making predictions that are congruent with hope and optimism could be a good practice though. Every individual’s life story is their own—Original.

Quality works of fiction are meant to shine, as creative masterworks, in an exceptional panorama of artful and sophisticated effort. They are sublime pieces of art, and not necessarily real and therefore may not essentially have something to do with an individual’s actual life, now or in the future.

Author Website: www.trishabhattacharya.com

Picture Credit: www.pixabay.com

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