RR3: Why do authors of fiction glamorize unpleasant or traumatic events?

 Hello folks! This will be my final research round for this inquiry, and then I will write a reflection. In this round I will be trying most of my loose ends together, and looking at the pros and cons of glamorizing unpleasant scenarios in fiction. Most of my information and sources was taken from my previous research, since I'm basically just organizing it all. Here is what I found; 

  The positive aspects: 

 1. Appeal to target audience. This could be relative to age, since small children don't need exposure to certain content, obviously. It could also be relative to what's marketable for a certain audience. For example, John Green's The Fault In Our Stars appeals to many adolescent females since it focusses more on the romantic aspect than the trauma. (10) 

2. Marketing. People are attracted to certain story lines. Most people like a sad story that is written in such a way that makes it less tragic. With a controversial storyline such as Thirteen Reasons Why, people are prompted to talk about it, therefore the author gains publicity. People are also curious about things, prompting them to purchase the book, therefore the author/publisher gains money. (11) 

3. Sympathy. People become attached to characters who struggle mentally and physically, and ultimately root for them. In a sense, this makes a character also more likeable, and sometimes more deserving of a happier ending. (4) (5) 

4. Reducing stigma around the subject. Everybody technically has a different perception of what is traumatic, and what is glamorized. Most authors who glamorize fiction were intending to raise awareness for it. For instance, Jennifer Niven and Jay Asher both said that their books (All The Bright Places and Thirteen Reasons Why, respectively) were written with the intentions of reducing stigma. The authors also had personal connections with what they were writing. (8) (9) (6) addition to this, as I mentioned in my first research round, recent children's books have been written with the intentions of helping young readers cope with trauma. (3) 

The Negative Aspects: 

1. Appropriation. Many times, authors of fiction don't really have the rights to be telling certain stories. A traumatic scenario could be written inaccurately, potentially because the author hasn't experienced it or hasn't researched it enough, and knows next to nothing about the subject itself. This could come off as offensive to people who have experienced things the author is writing about. For instance, there was much controversy about Thirteen Reasons Why portraying doctors and therapists in a negative manner, when in reality, they are actually there to help. (11) 

2. For the sole purpose of marketing. An author might make a situation seem glamorous just to make money. Example: with the movie of The Fault In Our Stars, many people were attracted to it because it portrayed cancer romantically. Or with All The Bright Places, Reviews for books also do this. A lot of the language which reviewers use ends up making a book seem more romantic or glorified than it really is. (1) (2) (7) (11) 

 Biases noted: I am well aware that people have different perceptions of fiction. There is much debate around whether or not the books actually glamorize the stories. (Also, fans get really defensive about books they like!) 


 (1) https://www.theguardian.com/bo...our-stars-john-green

(2) https://www.goodreads.com/book...ll-the-bright-places

(3) http://time.com/4060116/dark-c...shaw-jellyfish-nest/

(4) http://inventingrealityediting...-unhappy-ending.html

(5) http://theeditorsblog.net/2011...otion-in-the-reader/

(6) https://www.thefamouspeople.co...john-green-31809.php

(7) http://www.comingsoon.net/tv/f...reasons-why#/slide/1

(8) https://www.goodreads.com/auth...how/569269.Jay_Asher

(9) All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (about the author) 

(10) The comments! 

(11) Discussions I've had with people I know. 

  My last post for this cycle will be a reflection of what I've learned and how I've changed because of it. Thank you for reading! 

Original Post

Hey Sophie,

I think it's really cool how you divided your research up into the positive and negative aspects of glamorizing traumatic events in fiction. You've also gone beyond novels and have looked into TV shows, which was a great choice. It's amazing how one can appeal to a certain demographic, say teens, by heavily focusing on the romance whilst bringing awareness to issues that impact whatever romance occurs in the story. It's a sneaky yet effective way of engaging and enlightening readers on the troubles people with illnesses or traumas may face and helping readers grow sympathy for them. I love where your research has gone; keep up the great work!

Erica Won.

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