Should it Matter that a Story is Fiction?
Should it matter if a story is based on real life or should we only care that the emotions and plot lines represent a cohesive reality
I cannot remember whose presentation brought this question to light, but it is one that I have struggled with prior to this class. To me knowing that a story is true brings significance to it, but I'm not sure that I should feel this way. When I know that a story is real I make much more of an effort to put myself in the characters shoes. I know that these events, emotions, and thoughts have occurred, and I feel obligated to re-experience them. When I know that a story is pure fiction it seems less significant to me. While the emotions and thoughts may be human, the fact that they only hypothetically occurred does not inspire me to re-experience them. When reading it takes me much more effort to try on the characters' emotions and I can't see a point to making this effort if it has no grounded experience.
While this is the way that I feel, I seem to have no justification for it. So what if it didn't actually happen! Emotions are emotions and you can obviously get a lot out of getting different perspectives of the world. I guess I just can convince myself that the plot could take place. I don't believe a character would say this or do that. I can't believe that this would be the emotion they would feel. It seems like the author is just choosing from infinite possibilities and I don't want to be fooled by his random choice. Maybe this all leads up to how unbelievable real life is. Do each of our own events, emotions all seem unreal when we put them in a story. Maybe this shows how fictional each of our worlds can be. I do need the "stamp" to certify this is a true story in order to differentiate fiction and non fictional stories in the first place.
I've gotten lost in a whirlwind of thoughts, but now after writing this I think I need to re-evaluate how I read fictional stories. I really wish it didn't matter to me that they were, well, fictional.