Why Are We Attracted to Characters & Stories?
Week 6 in COM25 Digital Media Literacy
This week, our focus is on storytelling. We’ll try to understand how fictional stories can create unreal realities that convey emotional truths. In appreciating the talents and skills of authors who create fictional works, we’ll examine how character archetypes enable stories to be timeless and universal, appealing to a large audience. We’ll consider how well-designed narrative structure can create high levels of engagement for readers, viewers, and players. We’ll analyze how reality TV structures characters and conflicts in order to produce drama.
We’ll learn more about the legacy of Vladimir Propp, one of the grandparents of media literacy who studied the folktales of the 19th century to discover enduring patterns. We’ll learn about archetypes, seven types of conflict, and the seven basic plots. We’ll consider the relationship between new stories and old stories. Is Willy Wonka really a re-telling of Dante’s Inferno? We’ll consider the parallels between the two stories and reflect on the features of stories that activate our understanding of the challenges of the human condition.