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The Appeal of Stories

Smacholdt's picture

 I think that part of the reason that we enjoy stories so much is because we all have a fundamental need for understanding and human connection. We want to know that someone else has gone through what we have. A student that Coles talked to put it well: “we’re all in trouble, one way or the other.” Everyone has their own problems and it is easy to find comfort in telling your story to some one else, especially if you find that they have gone though a similar situation. People need stories to make sense of their lives and experiences.

I thought that it was interesting how Coles makes the point that you can really make someone else’s story your own. You imagine how each character looks and you can even visualize their idiosyncrasies. This is why I often do not want to see movies that are based on books. I have my way of experiencing a story and I don’t want it to become saturated with someone else’s images.

I loved the way that Coles opened the book. He intentionally began his first patient’s story…like a story. For a minute I thought I was about to read a novel.

However, reading the first patient’s story made me think, is it possible to have a non-fictional story. Isn’t the nature of a story that it’s biased, that it’s your own experience of an event? Is it possible to have a non-fictional story, or are the two terms mutually exclusive? So are all stories fictional? And if so, why are we reading a book entirely about stories in a non-fictional prose class?

 

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