|Stories - Part Three: Story Themes
There are very few story themes. Simple stories will have one or two basic themes, while complex stories will have several imposed on top of a main theme. All story themes are based upon a few basic needs. These can be summed up in babies' needs, which are basic to us all. A baby requires:
Our needs can be categorised as Material (survival at the existence level), Mental (stimulating so we are not bored or lonely), and Spiritual (having some sense of meaning about our existence).
Most of us take the material and mental levels of survival for granted. We expect to get our daily food, be housed, and looked after in times of need. We also have many things available to keep us occupied mentally in times of boredom. It is spiritual satisfaction that many people find difficult to obtain. Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? etc. When there is no satisfying answer we might create our own purpose in life. Here are some examples:
The Good Samaritan
Dr Jekyll and
In the Jekyll and Hyde story the personality of the character has a split purpose of good and bad. The good side wants to benefit society while the bad side is only interested in satisfying its own needs. This theme is common. We all hate someone who puts themselves before the group. It is the coward, the cheat, the impostor, the liar, the lazy person, and anyone who tries to benefit at the expense of the rest of us. We delight in seeing such people exposed and brought to justice.
The 'split personality' theme is common. Here are some examples:
Another variation is the wartime 'double agent' working for both sides, and the good friend who turns out to be treacherous.
Just as there are characters that present their good side to the world, and hide their bad side, there are also characters that present their normal side to the world while hiding their good side. Superman, Batman, and various superheroes are typical.
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