We Imprint on What a Story Ought to Be

A preliminary reflection on the sad grandeur of my after-election shock allowed me the license to draw an analogy from the structure of stories: native American stories vs western fairy tales, African tales vs western didactic myths, Indian folklore, Japanese stories… The structure of these “other” stories is different than most western ones -saturated with conquest and blissful, or not so blissful, unions-. They do not consist of a single layer of reality. A structure which, disturbingly distorted on so many levels, fits our current post-election narrative -as do the plans for our future- of the “conquerors.”

An eloquent and clear comparison I just found in this article, about Japanese story structure:

Our Fairy Tales Ourselves: Storytelling
From East to West

[Kawai addressed the idea that reality is in fact slippery, in the Yubaba-Zeniba way. He writes: “Reality consists of countless layers. Only in daily life does it appear as a unity with a single layer, which will never threaten us. However, deep layers can break through to the surface before our eyes. Fairy tales have much to tell us in this regard.” What lies behind this layer of reality?

Kawai also introduces the concept of “the aesthetic solution.” In western fairy tales, Kawai notes, stories often resolve with a conquest, or with a wedding. Examples are numerous: Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, etc. But in Japanese fairy tales, Kawai says, there is rarely this kind of union. Frequently, stories resolve with “an aesthetic solution.” And by aesthetic, Kawai specifically means images from nature.]




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