General Question

rancid's avatar

Do stories ask for advice?

Asked by rancid (214points) March 21st, 2009

I think that most people read stories to see how to live, or to learn about how someone has lived. Sometimes they read questions into these stories, and seek to provide answers for those questions. I wonder what it would be like to offer advice to the Bible? Or something like “En Attendant Godot?”

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

7 Answers

asmonet's avatar

Stories give lessons, they don’t ask for advice.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

History is a great way to learn about the lives of others. People with no interest in the past aren’t likely to know much of how to deal with the future. And I agree with asmonet, reading stories is a way to get advice, but I doubt a story ASKS for anything, except maybe your undivided attention.

lunaclips's avatar

That’s an interesting way of looking at it. If the author of a story were telling the story in order to ask a question. What questions do stories pose? Do they always have answers?

If I had to offer advice to the Bible, not that I would ever presume to do so, I think it would be that truth is not always so clear, and it does humans a disservice to make it seem so.

“An Attentdant Godot? I would say, get a life! You sit there staring at your navels, while life passes you by. Grow up!

ninjacolin's avatar

Not sure what you mean exactly. Do you mean.. as you read (or watch) a story unfolding and you’re like: “No! Don’t go into the house! That’s a bad idea!!” type of thing?

I agree that we do learn from the lives of Characters we read about or watch in theater or tv. We get glimpses of the kinds of decisions others make and the kinds of consequences we could expect in different situations.

And sometimes, since these characters do stupid things.. we do sometimes get a boost of confidence or affirmation in observing how their actions, which we would “never” have taken in their circumstances lead to the conclusions we predict and would have avoided.

rancid, i’m curious if you meant to ask whether stories offer advice rather than “ask”

SeventhSense's avatar

You raise an interesting point in that any spiritual book including the Bible is meaningless without a practical application of the teachings. If I read a book on meditation without meditating it’s like reading the label of Chunkey Monkey without tasting the ice cream.

rancid's avatar

@SeventhSense: yes, I think you are helping me to see what I mean. I think that books or stories challenge us into looking at our own lives. Yet, even thought they are not alive, and are static with respect to the published word, they also want something back.

Maybe now, they are not so static. Words on the internet can change. Authors do interact with readers. Authors can ask advice. Scott Card does this, I believe.

However, even static, I think stories want something from us. They want us to use them, and perhaps use them in different ways. Stories are from people, even myths are from people. An author puts something out, but these stories are also questions. What should I do? How could I have done it differently? How can I be true to myself, yet not make myself crazy, or hurt myself more through bad choices?

If I were a writer, I would want something back from my readers, and not just praise or criticism, but a dialogue, like you have on fluther.

Stories are a proxy for the author’s voice, but they are also alive on their own. Each reader sees something different in the story, and if the story poses a question, then the reader and offer advice, and if they can not offer it to the author, they can at least offer it in their minds, and maybe they get something out of providing the answer?

SeventhSense's avatar

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin’d,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”
William Shakespeare
— Jaques (Act II, Scene VII, lines 139–166)

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther