Why do authors of fiction glamorize unpleasant or traumatic events?

  Hello folks! I've posted an idea and a starting point, but here is my official project plan. I'd love to hear all your thoughts! 

 My topic (as you may have noticed from the title) is why authors of fiction would want to gloss over an unpleasant or traumatic event, or glorify it in some way. Most people admit they love a happy ending, but many authors will write a story that involves a disturbing event, and they'll make the disturbing event seem exciting, attractive, or glamorous, for some odd reason. This will heavily affect the way a reader perceives the story, as well as their perception of the event in real life. An author may have good reason to sugarcoat traumatic scenes, and obviously it all depends on various factors. I want to look at a concrete reason (or multiple reasons) why an author would do this. 

 Other things I want to focus on or take into consideration;

 1. The type of story and it's target audience. 

 2. The plot or focus of the story, and the intentions behind it.  

 3. If the author is conscious of what they're writing and how accurate it is. This is difficult and writers/media/interviewers would not outright say this, given it sounds offensive, but sometimes it's easy to tell. 

4. How many readers actually notice these things.  

5. The author's background. This ties into #3 as well, but how accurate a scene is depends on how close the author has come to actually living it, or how well the author has researched the topic they're writing about if they haven't personally experienced it. 

6. Biases, whether they're the authors, or the medias, or a readers, or my own. 

 As my starting point, I collected examples of how unpleasant situations are glamorized in fiction. For my first round of research, I will be trying to answer the question of why, and I'll see what happens from there. 

  Potential Sources: This list is mostly suggestions from the comments, I plan to look at a whole bunch of other things as well, these are just a few ideas. 

  1. Everybody’s comments, because this is heavily based on opinion, theory, and inference.
  2. Social media; I will be more specific when citing, but I want to look into author's Instagram and Twitter accounts, as well as interviews with them. 
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/bo...our-stars-john-green
  4. http://www.thirteenreasonswhy....rteenreasonswhy.html
  5. https://www.goodreads.com/book...ll-the-bright-places
  6. http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff-n...ide-in-the-worst-way
  7. https://www.psychologytoday.co...a-resets-personality
  8. https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/trauma
  9. http://time.com/4060116/dark-c...shaw-jellyfish-nest/
  10.  http://inventingrealityediting...-unhappy-ending.html

      10. http://theeditorsblog.net/2011...otion-in-the-reader/

      11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk25CDyMZoE

      12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5IKHrpXXoo

 Teacher's Name: Ms. Mantei 

  I love hearing from you all. As I mentioned before, my research will be heavily based on opinions so I'm open to a variety of perspectives.  

Original Post

Hi Sophie!

I thought the point about an authors background and experience plays a huge part in whether the story is legit and not just taking advantage of trauma victims. They are stories where author's will do extensive research into disorders arising from trauma like PTSD or Dissociative Disorders related to ptsd, and i think it really depends on how much time they put into understanding people who go through these horrific events. It could also be looked on in the way that it matters whether their purpose is to inform or exploit someone's trauma. 

Anyways, I really like your outline and I think it covers everything important to this research! I'm looking forward to your next posts!

~~~

Rachel Lu

Hi Sophie, this topic is really interesting to me as well. I am also wondering if you are going to focus on any specific novels to demonstrate your point? I really like how you’ve shown the websites you’re getting your information from. If you want to check this out it is a paper written on an authors perspecitve and purpose: https://iblog.dearbornschools....s-purpose-packet.pdf 

I’m really excited to read more of your posts! 

 

Hello Sophie,

I absolutely love this topic. I think it is such a prominent issue that not only relates to authors degrading the significance of these issues, but how we as an audience perceive this issues. Especially with the rising "coolness" of mental health issues, this is a rich, significant topic.
I think it would be brilliant to see the relation between the author's past and their writing, but also the audience's futures and what they have read (are teenagers who read stories that glorify depression more likely to be depressed?).

Good luck, I eagerly anticipate your next post!

Hi Sophie!

 

I am annotating some readings for a course I am taking this summer at SFU, about the nature and nurture of gifted children. I read this section of the assigned passage and it made me think of your inquiry. I know you've moved on from this topic but don't doubt it's still on your mind from time to time, so I thought you might find this interesting:

 

 

"Emotional Trauma. Many eminent individuals experienced family tragedies early in life or lived in dysfunctional, chaotic, and challenging family situations (Albert, 1994), suggesting that these environments facilitate creative productivity by engendering characteristics that help individuals meet the demands of creative careers or jobs that involve tackling ill-defined, unstructured, and complex problems. These characteristics include early psychological independence, Subotnik et al. 179 self-sufficiency, an ability to cope with high levels of stress, resiliency, emotional strength, a tolerance for ambiguity, intellectual risk taking, and a preference for challenge (Olszewski-Kubilius, 2008). Difficult childhoods, childhood trauma, or experiences of marginalization may also create compelling psychological needs that are ameliorated or compensated for through creative productivity in adulthood (Ochse, 1990). It is also clear that some eminent individuals did not grow up in dysfunctional environments and that many individuals from such environments never become eminent."

 

- taken from "A Proposed Direction Forward for Gifted Education Based on Psychological Science"

Kylie Mantei (LFAS-Teacher) posted:

Hi Sophie!

 

I am annotating some readings for a course I am taking this summer at SFU, about the nature and nurture of gifted children. I read this section of the assigned passage and it made me think of your inquiry. I know you've moved on from this topic but don't doubt it's still on your mind from time to time, so I thought you might find this interesting:

 

 

"Emotional Trauma. Many eminent individuals experienced family tragedies early in life or lived in dysfunctional, chaotic, and challenging family situations (Albert, 1994), suggesting that these environments facilitate creative productivity by engendering characteristics that help individuals meet the demands of creative careers or jobs that involve tackling ill-defined, unstructured, and complex problems. These characteristics include early psychological independence, Subotnik et al. 179 self-sufficiency, an ability to cope with high levels of stress, resiliency, emotional strength, a tolerance for ambiguity, intellectual risk taking, and a preference for challenge (Olszewski-Kubilius, 2008). Difficult childhoods, childhood trauma, or experiences of marginalization may also create compelling psychological needs that are ameliorated or compensated for through creative productivity in adulthood (Ochse, 1990). It is also clear that some eminent individuals did not grow up in dysfunctional environments and that many individuals from such environments never become eminent."

 

- taken from "A Proposed Direction Forward for Gifted Education Based on Psychological Science"

 Hi Ms. Mantei! 

 Thanks for sending this. I found it really interesting, especially how it says that emotional trauma is often reflected through creative works. I also find it a little odd, it almost seems like they’re looking at trauma in a positive way. I guess it is partially true though, some of the world’s greatest stories stem from some kind of traumatic experiences. 

 I do still think about this inquiry from time to time, thanks for sharing! 

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