An Aesop/Headscratchers

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Why have Aesops? Between all the Author Filibusters and Mary Suetopias and the like, it is increasingly apparent how easy it is to create a hypothetical sequence of events to prove anything. With all the Spoof Aesops and the like around, it's clear that people don't take these lessons seriously. And most importantly, how can we possibly be convinced that a lesson used by these characters on these shows can be applied to our own lives as well... when these shows are so full of tropes that don't match reality? (Consider how many lessons from Westerns and action movies would become useless once you remove the Plot Armor and factor in the knowledge that Instant Death Bullets don't exist.)

    • Because fiction is a good vehicle for a Serious Message. Take To Kill a Mockingbird for an example, wouldn't you rather read a novel full of sharp characterisation and clever narrative techniques and a tearjerkingly sad ending than an essay called Why Racism Is Bad?
    • Too bad there is so much fiction out there that is supposed to be sharp and clever but ends up being an essay on "Why X Is Bad." Aesops should be done like in To Kill a Mockingbird, but many are done wrongly.
      • Unfortunately, given the popularity of aesops, some writers feel the need to tack it on with little to no thought at all. For some stories, there really is no reason for the aesop other than "everybody else was doing it". In fact, not only do they tack it on, they feel the need to spell it out and give you a diagram, since Viewers are Morons. This troper cringed in the Starsky and Hutch remake movie, in the bar where they beat up somebody who's not Tiny Earl. "Let that be a lesson to all you, don't be afraid to be who you are." Or in the second Scooby Doo live action movie, a former villain laments that they're all afraid to be who they are. It's just poor writing with a little Narm to ensure a bad aftertaste, nothing more.
    • I'm more bugged by the opposite: why do people have to find an Aesop in every story? Granted, a lot of the time, the author is trying to say something, but there are plenty who are just telling a story...maybe I should be complaining about this elsewhere.
    • Why tell a story at all if you don't have something to say?
      • "I'm gonna tell you about this super keen adventure this guy had, because it was awesome" isn't something to say?
    • Again, a story isn't about saying something, but rather about entertaining the audience. And making money.
    • You're right, people might not care about the lesson. That's why an author creates a story with characters you identify with, so you do care about them and the lessons they learn. Aesops can be cheapened by bad writing, but with good writing they can add depth and realism to one.
    • Because sometimes an aesop is not widely considered, and the author wishes more people would at least consider their point of few. For example, Hiromu Arakawa despairs that adults just dismiss suffering in the world as 'whatcha gonna do', and that children should value their outrage when they witness injustice. Thus she writes this aesop into the story. Personally, I find it a massive relief sometimes when I see an author buck an aesop trend and gets on my own wavelength on something I believe in when so many others don't.
    • I'm more annoyed when an author forces an Aesop into their work, just for the sake of it being there. I may not be a published writer, but writing my own stories in general I can tell you it's quiet impossible to write a story without something of your view being imported into it. Sure, it'll be harder to see and it'll really get the readers to think of what they believe the message of the story is (which I find more satisfying than being told what I'm supposed to think of the story) but there is no need to shove a meaningless Aesop into the story when you don't have enough purpose to be writing about it without contradicting yourself or making it sound ridiculous.
    • I never use aesops, but people seem determined to find them in my writing anyway (and usually come out with something that's the opposite of my particular real life stance).
  • If you wish to write a story with a philosophical message in it, why leave the message deliberately vague so that only readers who've taken high school English know how to find it? Those people are likely to have already heard the message before as part of their general education, whereas people who're uneducated and know nothing about symbols probably have a greater need for your message.
    • Couple things...first off, as some of the sentiments on this page prove, leave the message out there enough and people will claim the author is jamming the message down their throats. As for need, while the educated will probably have come across some of the messages seen in fiction, every story has something new to say; at the very least, there'll be some new take on an idea somewhere--fiction can lead to discovery even in those who are familiar with stock messages. As for those without that kind of education, keep in mind there are plenty of clearly-presented lessons in fiction out there.
    • First, a standard high school education is nowhere near broad enough to plausibly cover any message an author might wish to deliver; at best, it might cover the more notable ones. Second, when a person wants to add a "message" to a work of fiction, they usually have two option; they can either make it really obvious like Chick tracts or they can subtly explore their message through allegories and symbolism and stuff. Some people just choose the latter.
    • Also because it enables to think in different way. Watching "philosophically" Up first part was beatiful description of peoples dream and how much **right** do I have to fullfill them - without pointing any solution. Second part was simply with streight villian and "do good" aesop. I've thought about some details - however I was disappointed by end (I'd prefere it more vague). The problem is that after certain level you **want** vague resolution. You cannot give an answer to question that have no clear answer. You cannot make people think with giving the 'only correct' answer. States (as in countries - not US) in middleages was not doing right when they enforced the belive in God regardless of His existance. Also - because we enjoy reading them, interpreting them, reinterpreting them etc. F Inally - the more vague the story is the more universal it is. One thing I learn in High School was that author may have no idea what his story is all about - finding it out and knowing is the responsibility of reader.
    • It also adds to durability of the work; works with subtle, hidden meanings tend to operate on more than one layer, meaning that they can be engaged with multiple times and in different ways, with new information being learnt each time. Works which are really obvious, however, tend to be quite disposable -- once you've seen them once, you've pretty much got everything you'll ever need out of it, so why read it again?
    • Because our culture currently believes that True Art Is Ambiguous. Not all cultures do, and our culture has had periods when we believed True Art Is Morally Uplifting.