Thursday, October 9, 2014

Good, in Fiction and in Life

     We're used to the good guy or gal's prescribed uses in fiction.  He/she's the one who does the right thing, who helps others, who interferes with nefarious plans.  Less frequent, less obvious, but more important, is Good's power to inspire.  We're always looking for characters to grow over the course of a narrative, to have a meaningful arc.  Good, as it happens, can be very effective in this regard, when it inspires.  That's something I tried to do in What We Become, with the character of Laura.  A more recent and widely consumed example would be the character of Chris Evans's Steve Rogers in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  His calm, clear-eyed plea of resistance to a room full of government agents charged with carrying out a plan that could lead to the deaths of millions, is -- perhaps -- his most quietly heroic action in the movie.  His effect on the hard-bitten character of the Black Widow is yet more personal and more emotionally satisfying.
      We want Good to accomplish its mission, of course, to stop evil, to save lives.  But ultimately, we need Good to propagate itself, because that's how it changes lives in the long run and, in the aggregate, actually makes the world better.  You hear a lot about the question of how one person can make a difference.  Maybe this is part of the answer, in fiction and in life. 

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