Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Purpose of Story

Having now heard from the noble Horatio on the form of the Parody, let us now change topics, to that most noble of creatures- the story.

For now, let us merely consider some generic aspects of the story, such as its purpose. Tolkien said, concerning fairy stories, the following, “Why should a man be scorned, if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it.”

How does this illustrate the purpose of a story, you ask? The purpose of stories is to point the reader to the higher things. Within the nature of stories we are to seek the good, taking from each those examples of goodness and virtue, learning from them the definitions of moral goodness and that of corruption and evil, so that we may learn to emulate, and ultimately come to live the virtuous life.

Now, this is not to say that virtue may only be learned through the use of stories. But this is to say that for many of us, before we are suitably developed to be able to take on those works of a far more substantial nature, we must first grow our minds. Just like one would not feed a baby steak, one's first reading should probably not be Arisitotle.

Besides, there is something great in the reading of stories- they thrill the heart and reawaken the sleeping mind. Indeed, our world would be a sad and sorry place if we had not our stories.

And just as a parting thought to ponder, "The Evangelium has not abrogated legends; it has hallowed them, especially the "happy ending." The Christian has still to work, with mind as well as body, to suffer, hope, and die; but he may now perceive that all his bents and faculties have a purpose, which can be redeemed. So great is the bounty with which he has been treated that he may now, perhaps, fairly dare to guess that in Fantasy he may actually assist in the effoliation and multiple enrichment of creation. All tales may come true; and yet, at the last, redeemed, they may be as like and unlike the forms that we give them as Man, finally redeemed, will be like and unlike the fallen that we know."

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