The Truth About Stories~ In Which I Ramble About Why Fiction Is Good For You

Hello, bloggerly chums!

It’s been a long time since I did a proper Story Ramble post, which is a shame. I love doing them…but they take a bit more thought than I usually have at my disposal, unfortunately. (Of course I’d like to think that I’m a Deep Thinker, but…probably wishful thinking, truth be told.)

Ahem.

A Certain Side-Effect of Reading

Reading fiction is a pastime that is near and dear to my heart. Stories of the fictional variety have had a profound influence on who I am, and I think that’s worth a good deal.

So, I don’t just read for entertainment…or maybe I do? But luckily there are some wholesome side-effects, regardless.

SUCH AS TRUTH.

(…Not to say that stories aren’t full of lies as well? Because that’s what I call bad fiction. But we are not talking about that today. We are talking about good fiction. The true kind.)

…Um. Well. Words.

(Where was I going with this?)

(Why isn’t this post writing itself? Or maybe it is writing itself and that’s the problem??)

(…Hence, we call it a ‘ramble’.)

What I’m trying to say is, there is a unique way in which stories can speak to us. Stories can help us gain understanding and process things in ways that mere facts cannot do. There are truths that penetrate to the deepest places in us only through the power of story. AND IT’S BEAUTIFUL AND WE SHOULD ALL CRY ABOUT IT.

…I kind of care about this a lot, in case you hadn’t picked up on it yet.

The Power of the Unexpected

But why do I need fiction to gain these truths? Why don’t I just read history books and anthropology textbooks and self-help books and devotionals to learn about stuff?? Hmm??

Stories reveal truth to us in unexpected ways. The unexpectedness is vital, actually, in a lot of cases, because it’s way more about taking a journey than gaining knowledge.

You know how you get used to seeing things a certain way? And you have your certain thought processes and organizations for the way things work? And you know how to deflect certain emotional blows like a pro because you know they are coming and you are naturally cynical because heaven forbid you let people take advantage of you and you have all your emotional armor on so you are all set? (No? Never mind, then, this post might not be for you.)

Stories have some sort of magic about them. They break through, somehow. They take us out of our day-to-day lives and give us a fresh perspective. The truths we learn through stories aren’t the sort you can understand without taking some kind of a journey.

They have the ability to worm their way under our armor, because they take us off our guard.

So, what kinds of truths am I talking about, anyway?

A Wider Perspective of the World

It’s often too easy to get stuck in my little corner of the world. Which is part of the reason reading is so important.

There are so many things that I will never experience in real life that I have experienced vicariously through the characters in a story. The world is so big and there are so many different cultures and sub-cultures and traditions and places and family dynamics and political disasters and the like, not to mention the way the world has been throughout history, and the more I read the wider my perspective becomes. Not so much through the hard facts (though, don’t get me wrong, these play a role) as through the journey I take to obtain them.

Stories make the facts matter.

When I was in school, our literature and history class were the same class (such is the beauty of homeschooling), and honestly this makes so much sense to me. Literature is history. They interweave with each other so much.

Insightful Angles and Unfolding Patterns

Then there are other things that I have experienced, and reading them in a story helps throw them into sharper relief by putting them into a different context.

The more we understand history, the more patterns we begin to see, and the better we can understand where we are and how we got here.

(Yes, fiction can give us a better understanding of history. Bear with me here.)

Fiction can be a response to history or to the present world, or to both- whether the author consciously means for it to be that way or not. Even fantasy worlds are built on real-world principles and can often hit us harder with themes that are lost to us in their real-world habitat, because we have become so accustomed to the way things are. It’s only once you take a theme and put it in a completely different setting that you go HEY WAIT A SECOND.

I love to look at society through the lens of fictional societies. It’s just fiction…OR IS IT? History repeats itself, and fiction reflects reality. The societies in Animal Farm, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, and The Hunger Games fascinate people…parallels, anyone??

(Yeah…I’m one of those crazy people who thinks we are literally living in a dystopian society at the moment…like, we live in a culture that has normalized child sacrifice?? I talked specifically about child sacrifice in fictional societies in a previous Story Ramble post…which you should all read because it’s so much…um…fun? No, it’s really not…but still.)

Helping us Understand Ourselves

Often you need to take a step back from something to see it properly (remember my brilliant doughnut metaphor? Yeah, um, it doesn’t exactly pertain to the current conversation, but I thought you might want to remember its brilliance anyway). We can see this when we suddenly realize that some fantastical society is eerily similar to our own…but does this work on an individual level? We can’t exactly step back from ourselves, now, can we? (OR CAN WE?)

Um…so, the thing is, when we read, we sometimes recognize ourselves in fiction. Truths that we couldn’t see become glaringly obvious because we are seeing them through the lens of a character. More often than not this can be kind of unpleasant- but good for us, in the long run.

One of the many times this happened for me was when I met Orual from Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis. I wasn’t as extreme as her (I mean, not that that’s saying much), but reading her story opened my eyes to how harmful certain kinds of older-sibling love can be. I recognized myself in her, which helped motivate me to keep myself from becoming more like her.

Fiction can be so convicting.

A particularly excellent example of fiction being used as a means of conviction is when the prophet Nathan tells David the story about the sheep-stealing rich guy and gets King David to see WHAT A COMPLETE JERK he was…before telling him the story was actually about David himself. He doesn’t just show up and tell him “Yo, you messed up” because our knee-jerk reaction to that is to defend ourselves. Instead he gets him all worked up about this other guy and then turns it around…yeah, fiction catching us off guard at its finest (also most painful).

(True, this is example is specifically allegorical, but the principle really applies to all types of fiction… In fact I myself vastly prefer ambiguous metaphor to direct allegory…but I digress.)

We are so good at rationalizing our own behavior. We are so tangled up in ourselves. It often takes seeing ourselves from the outside to realize what we are really doing.

The good news is, once we start getting a better idea of our flaws, we can actually start to work on them?

Also it’s comforting to know that other people struggle with the same kinds of things that we struggle with. We are not alone in our mess. And often a positive character arc helps give us hope for ourselves. Like, yes, Boromir made a Huge Mistake but he then he redeemed himself and isn’t that just a beautiful thing?? (It certainly is.)

I just can’t get over how reading about certain characters can be…therapeutic? I learn to process my emotions through following some hobbits on a quest and it’s all rather astounding, really.

Empathy

In addition to gaining a better understanding of myself through fiction, I find that reading is an excellent way to get into other peoples’ heads. People who are nothing like me.

Being able to understand other people is such a major part of being human. (In fact, your ability to empathize is kind of the thing that keeps you from becoming a psychopath, so…you might want to develop it.)

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by Actual Humans (I excel at getting overwhelmed), and at one point in time I kind of decided that they weren’t worth the bother. But I have learned (partially through fiction, shockingly) that having Actual Humans in your life is so important. But it’s hard?? How does one interact??

So, it helps when we start to recognize our mutual humanness. We might not have a thing in common, but at least we have that. Which makes all the difference. The person standing next to you has struggles and feels awkward sometimes too. They have a story. We have to figure out how to see that. We need to learn to “put ourselves in other people’s shoes” as it were, and reading can be such great practice for that, honestly.

I’ve been in so many vastly different characters heads. But in a well-written story, it doesn’t matter how different someone is from me. If the author can convince me that they are human, there is a part of me that can relate to them, and then I can understand them.

It’s kind of like using training wheels. The author takes you by the hand and guides you through this character’s journey, helps you understand who they are, and you get it, even if you don’t really have anything in common aside from the “Being Human” thing (which is actually pretty significant).

When dealing with real humans, you won’t always get so much help. You won’t always get the tragic backstory and motivations and whatnot, but I find that the more I read, the more I see that all those things are there, if that makes sense. Every person I come in contact with has a story, and their pain is just as real as my pain. The better we understand that, the better we can get at loving each other.

Spiritual Truths

Of course, the thing that really makes sense of all these messy human interactions is God’s love for us. I know this. But…(and I’m about to say something that may sound rather blasphemous here), I’ve been hearing the gospel story since before I can remember and it sometimes starts to feel kind of…stale. It’s a truth I’ve heard so many times that I kind of go on auto-pilot when I hear it, like it’s this boring, tired mantra.

WHICH IS SO WRONG.

Because….there is nothing stale or boring or tired about it. It’s the story that gives all the stories meaning! It is THE story. I KNOW THIS. BUT. I guess I forget??

So here’s how fiction helps me with that.

You know when you are reading a really good book, and you just FEEL things? Specifically when a character does something selfless and sacrificial for the people they love and you just…want to cry? I mean, this happens ALL OVER THE PLACE and it’s BEAUTIFUL.

BECAUSE IT IS TRUTH.

Every time I am moved by a story of love, of self-sacrifice, I stop and remind myself that it’s just a shadow of how much we are loved by God.

…And I just get my mind blown again and again.

There are so many stories that reflect aspects of THE story, and it just hammers home the glory of it. I need to be reminded, because I am silly.

Fiction is such a fantastic thing, but it only means anything to us in light of reality. In my mind, good fiction has the ability to take hold of the truest strands of reality and clear away the extraneous details. It figures out how to cut a focused path through the chaos, as it were (or even explore the chaos), and bring us back to the story we all need to hear over and over again for the first time (that sentence makes sense, right?? Sure it does).

Epilogue

I LOVE STORIES. SO MUCH. And hopefully I’ve conveyed some of the reasons why in a somewhat lucid manner. If not, hey, at least I got to ramble about my favorite topic, so it’s not a total loss.

Do you find the way stories function in our lives to be as fascinating as I do? Do you think that history and literature should be taught together, or is that weird? Has reading helped you learn empathy? Go forth and read all the things!

17 thoughts on “The Truth About Stories~ In Which I Ramble About Why Fiction Is Good For You

  1. Okay, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this post, because this topic is something that has intrigued me for years and is actually one of my primary interests. Thank you so much for sharing your insight on the importance of fiction in our understanding of history and the world (and of course, refreshing our sense of wonder at Jesus’ sacrifice). Some of what you said reminded me of a podcast I’ve been listening to by a favorite (Christian) author of mine, N. D. Wilson, called “Stories Are Soul Food” which talks about all the things you just mentioned in detail. Interestingly, one of the recent ones was dedicated to “Till We Have Faces.” (If you do end up listening to it, um, I do have to tell you that you’ll want to get used to his style because otherwise…he may be a little difficult to follow, and some of the things he says may sound…I don’t know, shocking? You’ll either love it or hate it. You have been warned. But so many of the things he says (and especially his writing style) are absolutely amazing. 🙂 Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you muchly, Anna! I am pleased that you enjoyed reading it. I certainly enjoyed writing it. 🙂
      Oh, that podcast title alone is a lovely thing. I might investigate at some point, though I have such a mental block about listening to podcasts…I don’t know why. But I just don’t ever do it. I am familiar with N.D. Wilson, though I never got really into his books (I only read the first book in 100 Cupboards and the first two in Ashtown Burials, and that was AGES ago, haha). I greatly appreciate that he has a story-centered podcast though. You’re welcome! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Anna!

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      1. Yeah, I don’t listen to podcasts, either. Just this one, because, you know, NDW. I get it, some people just don’t like his stuff. My favorite part is his writing style rather than the stories themselves (although they definitely have good things, as well).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha, yes, there are always exceptions to these rules, you know. 😉 Ah, I love it when there are authors whose writing styles I just resonate with. Kate DiCamillo is that way for me.

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  2. I would rather read fiction than nonfiction.

    For starters, the characters are not real unlike the real people in nonfiction. I mean, isn’t is kinda of easier to escape to fictional characters due to their lives and their worlds (true, some of their worlds actually are real, but look at the fictional worlds in fantasy, sci-fi, and dystopian). Plus, what emotional connections to fictional characters—-those characters almost become part of us if you think about it. True, fictional characters can feel very real—but we want that to happen to feel their emotions. Very hard to describe how I prefer fiction over nonfiction

    True, there are some nonfiction books I love, but only once in a while

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly same.

      There is certainly a sense of becoming a character that happens in fiction more so than nonfiction. Often there’s just a depth in the writing style of fiction that is lacking in nonfiction because the purpose of the one is to immerse you in a story whereas the other is the give you facts? (Only in certain types of nonfiction, of course, but it’s a thing.) My favorite kind of nonfiction is autobiography I think, because the author can give us depth of character by virtue of it being their own story.

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      1. Well, I understand that feeling of becoming a character or letting the characters take over the story

        Letting characters take over- this only happens if you are the author (as was the case with my 1st WIP)

        Becoming a character- almost as if you are a part of the story

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  3. Love this post!!

    There really is a unique way that stories affect us…you said it so well when you said that there are certain truths that only penetrate to the deepest places in us through story. (Although I refuse to cry about it, sorrryyyy. Unless it’s LOTR, in which case all bets are off.)

    “it’s way more about taking a journey than gaining knowledge.” <<HOW is there so much wisdom in one post?? Stories really do break through the armor, though. Absolutely true.

    "Stories make the facts matter" <<This too. Absolutely. (I hardcore related to history and literature being the same, at least for several years. Homeschooling for the win!)

    We do become accustomed to the way things are, and stories help us see it fresh! It's so powerful. And honestly a little insane.

    I TOTALLY FOUND ORUAL RELATABLE IN A SCARY WAY THE FIRST TIME I READ TWHF, TOO! It's really a little terrifying, but as you said, good motivation NOT to become that. (I'm literally about to pick TWHF back up for the third time as soon as I get off the computer. Good timing.)

    Empathy is also an excellent side-effect of reading.

    I definitely relate to your thoughts on how reading fiction affects spiritual truths! We do hear the gospel all the time, and it's so important to step back (through fiction especially) and THINK and REALIZE and REMEMBER.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Samantha!!

      (I KNOW, LOTR is such a special and emotionally compromising story. The Return is the King is in fact the only book that consistently brings me to tears. Tolkien. How.)

      It IS insane. And I love it. The power of story is something I don’t think I’m every going to get over, haha.

      Ack, Till We Have Faces is SUCH a good book. There is so much to unpack there. Orual is honestly one of my favorite fictional characters.

      Isn’t it?

      Yay, I’m so glad that you relate!

      Like

  4. “And you know how to deflect certain emotional blows like a pro because you know they are coming and you are naturally cynical because heaven forbid you let people take advantage of you and you have all your emotional armor on so you are all set?” …… *backing away slowly* I’m definitely one of the people this post ISN’T for. Yep. Uh-huh. None of this applies to me. Hahahahahhaa…

    Okay, so this is truly a beautiful explanation of how stories take you by surprise and thus get past your defenses, but a bit of a tangent: is this why stories that don’t get past your armor are so annoying? Stories that are clearly trying and instead the emotions just all splat down the front of your breastplate and you’re like “why. Get off. You’re not even touching /me/ but get off my armor you look stupid.” And like do you secretly want them to get past your armor? But not if they’re that lame? They just have to be that good. You WANT them to be that good. Even though you pretend you don’t want them at all. (Or I used to.) I’m thinking specifically of a certain number of years in high school and just after graduating therefrom when I was Utterly Disillusioned with stories because NONE OF THEM GOT PAST. And I kind of wonder if that was my own fault (oops, made the armor too invincible!) or if it was just that I didn’t read the right stories. Because it’s really only good stories that do it. Lots of them still go splat on my breastplate while I look on, Unimpressed. (But I feel like it was partly me, because I even reread a few old favorites during that time that had lost a little luster? But I’ve read them again since and they’re just as good again?) Basically: do you think you can build up armor against stories as well as real life and its direct assaults? And how SUCCESSFULLY do you think you can do that, if you can?

    “Stories make the facts matter.” AMEN. I forget if I have talked about this before, but I read an article headline once that said something like “To truly understand history, we must stop thinking of it as a coherent narrative” and I didn’t read the article (because why) but that title has stuck with me like – what was the writer even thinking?? Narrative is literally HOW we understand history?? It’s how we understand ANYTHING?? It’s the only way TO understand???? What do you think you’re understanding if you reduce history to dates and facts? That’s…that’s not understanding. If you think it is, you don’t know the meaning of the word “understanding.”
    Anyways, that’s awesome y’all did literature and history as one thing! My mom did that for my youngest sister this year. I actually helped her plan the curriculum over the summer and it made me so excited and happy because YES. LITERATURE IS HISTORY. HISTORY IS LITERATURE. I never learned it that way, but I did kind of figure it out on my own, and getting to present it to my little sister that way, so she’ll understand it all so much better, is just an awesome thought.

    Looking at our society through the lens of fictional societies, though. So comfortable and fun and never horrifying or disgusting or anything like that. (I went and reread your child sacrifice post. And. First of all it’s so GOOD. And second of all OH MY GOSH. Like everything but the dehumanizing thing? Talk about creepy parallels to real life. People who, for instance, abort babies don’t believe/don’t let themselves think about the fact that it’s a real human. Like the dehumanizing element is REAL. Because hey, most people wouldn’t kill a human being if they really thought about what they were doing – some would, but not most. Which is encouraging in a way? But also discouraging because…yeah.)
    Also, like, one of the best and most disturbing things about the best and most realistic dystopians is that so many people don’t believe it IS a dystopian. (Like Animal Farm or the Capitol people. Or just the Fahrenheit 451 people demanding endless endless shallow inoffensive entertainment.) So the fact that you’re one of the crazy people who think we are currently living in a dystopian society is just…appropriate, I guess is what I’m saying? I’ve thought about that. From more superficial things (like is our data any more private than anybody’s in Murderbot’s world, really? Are big companies ANY less corrupt and unethical?) down to the fact that we ALLOW BABIES TO BE KILLED AS A COMPLETELY FINE AND NORMAL THING, our world IS very dystopian. And that’s the part of it that’s not currently AT WAR AND BOMBING HOSPITALS (or…cutting off people’s heads or participating in the slave trade or putting certain ethnic and religious groups in forced labor camps or taking away literally all rights from people if they’re women). Like. It’s SCARY.

    This comment is getting…so terribly long and off-topic, but I wanted to say I think it’s interesting you related to Orual as an older sister. Although I’m an older sister and relate to her A LOT, it’s always been just as a skeptic, haha. I never thought she was that bad of a sister?

    Boromir’s story is indeed beautiful.

    And the EMPATHY thing. And how you won’t always be privileged to see the inside story of why you should definitely have empathy…but it’s still there? YES.

    And spiritual truths. Also yes. They can get where not only do the truths feel stale, the common allegories originally used to make them feel fresher ALSO feel stale…but people can still write stories that finally break through that haze of familiarity and it is such a blessing.

    This post is just…good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm, my “unreliable narrator” sensors are going off… 😉

      Oof. Your tangent. YOUR TANGENT. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH. THIS:

      “Stories that are clearly trying and instead the emotions just all splat down the front of your breastplate and you’re like “why. Get off. You’re not even touching /me/ but get off my armor you look stupid.” And like do you secretly want them to get past your armor? But not if they’re that lame? They just have to be that good. You WANT them to be that good. Even though you pretend you don’t want them at all.” -The Insightful Sarah Seele

      It’s so accurate.

      SO ACCURATE.

      Wow.

      And in answer to your question: “Do you think you can build up armor against stories as well as real life and its direct assaults?” My answer is a resounding YES. YES indeed, because I have DONE it. There are many times when my resolve not to get “drawn in” by ANYTHING resulted in a bunch of unsatisfactory reading experiences…I have really shot myself in the foot with that one. Like, I WANTED the stories to get to me but I made the armor impossibly thick. And then got really bitter at the books for not meeting the challenge. But ultimately I wonder if that’s me putting the books in too high a place? I mean…I want them to be SO PERFECT and LIFE CHANGING that it’s like…I’m putting them in place of what God is supposed to do or something? Instead of seeking God through the stories I’m expecting the stories to BE God…or something like that. I’m not totally sure, I’ve never articulated it that way. It that just occurred to me just now. As to how successful we can be in building up our armor against the power of stories, I think we can be largely successful? Because we do have free will and we can REFUSE to let things get to us if we REALLY REALLY want to… But at the same time spiritual intervention exists, and certain stories kind of invite that sort of thing. Like, no matter how thick the armor gets God can still bring the right story into our lives that will shatter that armor, you know? Man…it gives you something to think about.

      THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT TANGENT.

      That article, though: “To truly understand history, we must stop thinking of it as a coherent narrative” SHEESH, that is rather terrible. Seems to totally be missing the point. Good grief. Yeah, let’s just break everything down into meaningless snippets! Sounds great!

      Ooh, that’s so neat that you got to help plan the literature/history curriculum for your sister! I am definitely an advocate for it being taught that way. Actually I feel like one of the major flaws with public school systems (okay, I have a lot of them) is that everything is so compartmentalized? Actually it reminds me of that article you mentioned. Let’s just…TAKE NARRATIVE OUT OF IT. Even when I was in college I was struck by how we weren’t really being taught to make connections across subjects, like…at all, even though it was in all the syllabi that we were learning “integration” skills and whatnot. Everything is actually connected- literature and history, history and science, science and math, etc.- and the more we realize that the more well-rounded our understanding of the world. I have Feelings about this.

      Ack, YES. The dehumanizing is so troubling because of how relevant it is. Abortion is HAPPENING all the time, and it’s weird because I’m just going about my life and then suddenly I’m struck again by the fact that we live in a society that thinks that KILLING BABIES is morally acceptable and it’s chilling. And it’s normal people, which makes it worse. Totally normal, decent human beings think this is okay, because it’s what society tells them. Dystopian. So dystopian. (I was having one of my more troubled moods about abortion when I wrote that post, actually.) Which is why history and literature are so important because they so clearly show that societies are often (if not always) corrupt and being conventional doesn’t excuse you from the moral implications of things?? Just “going along” with something for the sake of going along can be the most harmful thing?? WE HAVE SEEN THIS TO BE TRUE. The world is…messed up. I know I have a propensity to cynicism, but honestly, it’s just true. Part of the reason the Murderbot society is so depressing is because it really resembles our own. I love how fiction helps us explore and organize these things. There is corruption everywhere, usually hiding just below the surface and it’s not that hard to uncover if you just make up your mind to pull back the curtain. (People might argue that we read too much and have become paranoid, but you know what, just let them think that.)

      I DEFINITELY related to Orual as a skeptic as well, but yeah…as an older sister, she troubled me because of how possessive she was? It’s been a long time since I’ve read it, actually, but from my memory she was kind of obsessed with needing to be needed by Psyche, rather than just being there for her if she needed her. And she was so obsessed with protecting her that she became controlling. Like…it was stuff coming from a good place (wanting to protect and support her sister) but it manifested itself in unhealthy ways, to a point where it wasn’t exactly loving anymore…does that make sense? I might even interpret it differently now, but yeah. (I can also be super harsh towards older siblings for whatever reason. I wrote a whole post about older siblings I don’t want to be like, and Orual was on the list. Also Angelica from Hamilton, who everyone LOVES but I have ISSUES with her.)

      It is. *weeps*

      THANK YOU SO MUCH for all of your thoughts. I really enjoyed reading this comment…and replying to it…at length. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Huh, really? *looks curiously around for unreliable narrators in the vicinity*

        Man I really shouldn’t be answering comments right now because I just dONT hAVE bRAIN eNERGY but that idea of possibly putting stories in the place of God? Or…wanting them to be capable of
        more than they are? So interesting. I think I’ve done the same thing before. And I THINK that’s what a lot of atheists do. Stories are so potent and mysterious and magical, and God USES them (He uses them SO OFTEN), and for somebody who doesn’t believe in God that kind of makes them the most powerful thing there is? I’ve heard people who don’t believe in God, but love stories, talk about it. There’s this, like, consciousness of the emptiness there, which the stories can’t fill, but the stories are the best they’ve GOT…it’s very depressing and interesting and honestly makes a lot of sense. In my head, anyway. Possibly not in this explanation.

        That does make sense (re: Orual). Makes me want to reread. I mean, I definitely knew Orual was…wrong about stuff, but I don’t particularly remember the possessive or the needing-to-be-needed elements you’re talking about. Or at least all of Orual’s bad behavior toward Psyche I put down to her lack of belief, not to corrupted love. It seemed to me that her love of Psyche WAS one of the one good things about her, her guiding star in a way and her link to redemption. She ended up suffering FOR Psyche – taking on some of Psyche’s sufferings, if I remember correctly – purely unselfishly. Unconsciously, but it’s not like she begrudged it…I don’t know. Possessiveness and needing to be needed in love are very Lewis sorts of things to talk about, so I am not at all surprised to hear they’re there. I just…don’t remember them. I really need to reread Till We Have Faces. Will it happen any time soon? Who knows, probably not. But I need to.

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      2. *unreliable narrator singles continuing to go off* XD

        Ooh, YES. I think that makes a lot of sense. People who don’t acknowledge God but still NEED God will put aspects of his creation on pedestals and not be able to understand why they need these things or why these things can’t ultimately satisfy them. I love the idea of us being sub-creators and our stories bearing an imprint of the image of God because we were made in his image, and the shadows of his truth are etched into us whether we acknowledge him or not. I LOVE finding spiritual truths in stories written by people who definitely didn’t put them there intentionally, but the very nature of a good story is going to reflect truth, and we are inexplicably drawn to that. At the same time, the stories are not God and cannot fill the hole that only he can fill, so trying to make them the ultimate good will only end in disappointment. Even as Christians we can slip into this, as I know from experience. It’s such a fascinating thing to think about.

        Yeah, I need to reread Till We Have Faces as well, because honestly I am extremely fuzzy in the memory of that book. Even though I’ve read it at least twice. I remember having the impressions of Orual needing to be needed and tending towards possessive love, but I can’t remember any of the details of it at the moment, and since Lewis talks about that in other works, it’s also possible that I’m mixing things together in my brain, haha. I’m also just super sensitive to those things, so it’s also possible that when I read that book there were hints of it and I blew it way out of proportion in my mind. I have been known to do that. But it makes me curious to reread it again. *adds book to the rapidly mounting stack of planned rereads*

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  5. “stories make the facts matter <- THIS. I SHALL STEAL THIS IF ANYONE ASKS ME WHY FICTION IS IMPORTANT.

    uhhhh I Do Not Like the dystopia parallels we're seeing in our society though, can we just. turn those ones off. turn the page, that story's too scary.

    And needing reminders that, for any love and sacrifice we're moved by in fiction, God's is infinitely realer and greater? yes. that is me. Thank you for reminding me today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. PLEASE DO. I always appreciate people advocating for this. 🙂

      Haha, indeed…I get it. It is a tad on the scary side…erm…I definitely don’t just focus on the fiction part and avoid, like, the actual Reality of the Things that are Happening. Not at all.

      Yay, you’re welcome! It’s a pretty insane concept. AND I LOVE IT.

      Liked by 1 person

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