|The west coast of British Columbia|
In Buddhism, one of the fundamental teachings is that everything changes. That could sound, at first glance, like a self-evident truism that explains how trees lose their leaves in fall and the tide changes a shoreline as it ebbs and flows. But on another level, this idea can be terrifying. When I told my sister about this teaching, she said it scared her. I would say it scares me, too. For the most part, I like the way things are. I don't want them to change.
I was thinking about this in regards to storytelling. Fiction, too, we're told, is about change. But more specifically, it can be about a few responses to change:
- resistance to change: something happens that a character/characters struggle against (The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood)
- desire for change: the character's situation is untenable and they seek to change it (A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews)
- fear of change: the threat of change causes a character to react (The Road by Cormac McCarthy)
- tumultuous change: the character is suddenly thrust into a new situation (Deliverance by James Dickey)
- inability to change: a character is stymied by their rigidity (Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro)