Societal Need for the Evolution of Stories

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Stories are an integral part of our lives as humans. Stories have been in existence for as long as human have been in existence and have been experiencing things. The ways in which the stories are told have been ever changing and have developed throughout the ages. Stories were first told in the oral tradition and then written down. Many stories have been taken and changed in various ways throughout history and time has worked on them again and again. They are often open to interpretation and are changed in whatever manner the storyteller sees fit. The evolution of a story is often in parallel with changes which are occurring in society and culture. They are often told in response to a social necessity.

Fairytales, for example, are stories which have been told for many different purposes throughout history and have evolved into forms which at times are far from the original. The original forms are nothing like what many children of our current generation have seen in numerous retellings of these tales. The medium of conveyance has changed and so have the lessons of morality and ethics in these tales. These manifestations are due to societal demand and influence.

Many of the original versions of these tales are filled with gruesome and often pessimistic turn of events for the main characters. An example of this is the story of Sleeping Beauty. The original story was written by Giambattista Basile, an Italian who lived in the early 1600s, and told a horrific tale of rape, vengeance, and betrayal. Sleeping Beauty was not woken from her sleep by a kiss from a noble prince but was instead raped in her sleep and gave birth to the said prince’s illegitimate children. This is not the story which so many kids are now familiar with in the form of cute woodland creatures and a sweet peck on the lips awakening Sleeping Beauty from her sleep. Before the Disney version there was the Mother Goose Tales version. Basile’s story was taken in hand by Charles Perrault, a Frenchmen in the late 1600s, and edited to exclude the rape and abandonment of Sleeping Beauty. After Charles Perrault was The Grimm’s Fairytales version, this is the version which closest resembles the Disney version.

Basile’s tale “Sun, Moon, and Talia” was not meant for children and was not written as such. The evolution of this story has made it appropriate for a younger audience and thus has become a favored form of entertainment for those in the prepubescent age range. The new story teaches children that actions have both positive and negative effects. The original story would not be easily accepted in today’s society without the changes. Today’s society is less accepting of these themes in everyday writing.

Nonfiction history texts and periodicals often evolve in ways which reflect society has been evolving. These texts evolve in ways which aren’t always noticed and are more minimal. The texts which are written about wars for example are often altered depending upon the time in which it was written and the audience it was written for. For example a newspaper in the 1920s would not have been as concerned with the other parts of the world as perhaps the newspapers now are. The issues which concerned the people of America then were much more local. With the innovations of computers and internet, news travels faster and many more people are reached by it. Online blogs and online news sources make it much easier for anyone, anywhere to post information about anything they wish; someone half way across the world could post on a blog of a random stranger in another part of the world. News is no longer just the daily paper about your local community it is also the instantaneous information being posted all around the world about all parts of the world.

Nonfiction historical texts are also altered in relation to the needs of the community. In Japan WWII and the atrocities which the Japanese committed during the war are keep to a minimum and skimmed over. This is somewhat of an improvement from the previous texts which made no mention at all. These things did occur and they have existed even if they were not acknowledged. Perhaps in the future, when the masses are more accepting of it, the texts will evolve again to include full descriptions and more than a paragraph.

In these ways society dictates what will be written. Unintentionally the writers of these texts are influenced by the events and pressures around them. The items which they then create and choose to modify are then in turn influenced. The ways in which texts evolve are a function of societal acceptance and of the demands of the community.


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