Stories are an integral part of people’s lives. Whether told in person or read in books, stories help an individual shape their opinion about the world as much as communication with other people does.
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Reading stories can be viewed as a form of one-sided communication. Since most stories are intended to get a specific moral or message across, stories play inspirational roles in people’s personal lives by providing them with experience and serving as cautionary tales about specific dangers.
The actual role of stories, in general, is quite hard to nail down due to the lack of homogeneity in the array of narrations that people hear or read daily. However, a closer look at the structure of most stories, i.e., the introduction, the list of the key points and the ending with a possible denouement, will show that, traditionally, stories are supposed to teach a valuable lesson or get a specific message across.
Some stories do so in a subtle manner, while some hammer they’re moral in a rather obnoxious way; however, each is designed to bear some significance for the interpersonal communication process, for the personal evolution of an individual or for the location of the role that the individual in question plays in the society.
The latter purpose of stories, in fact, should be listed among the most controversial ones. On the one hand, people need to locate their role in the society, and stories may help them understand the way, in which the world works, therefore, empowering them to choose a way to integrate into the society in question.
On the other hand, the narrations that point at the reader’s purpose in the universe exactly are most likely to be useless and even harmful, as they may delude or confuse the reader. At this point, it is important to bring up the fact that the stories that tend to answer questions rather than pose them to the reader, therefore, leaving no traceable sign of confusion, are not as good as they might seem.
A good story is thought-provoking; it must galvanize the thinking process, which cannot possibly occur if the key ideas are gift-wrapped and handed directly to the audience. Stories need to be challenging and compelling for the reader or the listener to retrieve essential information from them and become more experienced.
It should be born in mind, therefore, that the very fact of reading a story does not make the reading experience worthwhile; what turns it redeemable is the lesson that the reader learns in the process. Therefore, not all stories should be viewed as equally useful experiences.
This, however, invites the question of whether a story can possibly be devoid of any useful information entirely. No matter what the narrator decides to tell their audience about, there will always be a person, who is familiar with the subject matter in one way or another.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that the story in question is going to be fully pointless for the listener – or for the reader, for that matter. Even when rendering the issue that a person may already know enough about, the narrator is capable of mentioning something that will hold a value as an alternative way of viewing a certain problem.
Therefore, stories play a definitive role in our lives. Though some stories can be deemed as not quite useful in terms of acquiring specific knowledge or experience, each narration carries a unique message that needs to be integrated into one’s vision of the world.
Despite the need to take some stories with a grain of salt, one must admit that serving as the means to provide a unique experience is the key role of most stories.