Here we are; HatSoS is drawing closed its curtains, and with its end, I believe I can finally answer the question: ‘Are stories just morally good lies?‘. While some may feel it is a simple yes or no question, an occasional intellectual, such as myself, will take the time to say why. For you, (the reader), I have bolded key words so that the occasional skimmer knows where the good stuff is. And now, without further ado, here we go…
To begin, I believe the answer is mostly a no. The definition of the word ‘lie’ is described as: “Stating a false fact as though it were true for personal gain“. By this definition of a lie, I conclude that stories are therefore not a lie at all. The evidence is quite clearly stated in the words: personal gain. An author who writes a fictional story has absolutely nothing to gain from telling a story. Granted, the author gets paid for telling these stories, but not in the sense of exploitation of the reader.fig 1
If you still have your doubts, how about this: while the author arguably has something to gain from telling us these “stories”, it can also be argued that we have something to gain as well. Think about it-if these stories are morally good lies, then technically, we pay for the author to lie to us. It sounds ridiculous because it is. Its kind of like paying someone to beat you up- it makes no sense.
To put it in simpler terms, we pay the author to write a “lie” and in return we are entertained by said lie. So in no way is there anything to gain from either side without something in return. Each side gets what they want and each side is happy with what they get.
The book entertains us through many different uses of literary elements. Chief among these is the use of allusion. Several allusions that I have found in the book include allusions to Alice in Wonderland, the Wizard of Oz and many more that can be found on my page on it at https://spark.adobe.com/page/8QSVhpOPdtmQY/.
Intriguing, also, is the fact that some people that read the story have broken it down into the Heroes Journey. Essentially, the Heroes Journey is a basic formula for storytelling in which the protagonist’s quest is laid out in a generic fashion found in most stories. The formula that the Heroes Journey follows is somewhat similar to that of the Existential Journey in that it both propels the protagonists character development, and sets the plot into motion.
Overall, the novel can be a confusing read with Seussian titles and names. Believe me when I tell you that the names of the animals and characters can get pretty confusing to keep straight. The book also follows a very generic plot mountain type story-line, which can be very frustrating at times. Since it follows the plot mountain template(see fig 3), there are some boring lulls which I feel can be tough to push through especially to those with shorter attention spans like me. Since the story is confusing enough as it is, I still recommend that you read these parts as they sometimes contain hidden Easter eggs, important information and foreshadowing that may come in handy to know later on in the book.
To summarize that brutally honest and somewhat long paragraph, the book fluctuates quite a bit, boring sometimes and totally gripping at other points.
I love books, and I reread books all the time. HatSoS was a satisfying read, but something is just…missing, for lack of a better word. I do not think I’ll ever pick it up for another go.