Stories have been in existence since the beginning of times and over the years, they have played a very important role in society. They introduce us to existing norms of society. Jackson writes, “Family stories introduce the newcomer to the family’s image of itself because the presence of that new person at the table provides an occasion for telling family stories in greater detail than usual” (58). This is because “Sense is a product of our intelligence, not a condition of the world” (110). Indeed, if done well, stories can be used to pass very important lessons to the community today because many people usually read them and whatever is narrated in the story tends to stick in the reader’s memory for a long time.
Stories affect one’s memory greatly by changing their perceptions or judgments on various issues of life as the reader progresses with the reading, and this is a very important component or feature of good communication. Accordingly, they can be used to help us understand ourselves better as well as other people. This approach can help people appreciate themselves better, without struggling with issues of identity and relate well with others without complaining. Moreover, authors can influence the morals of society by condemning the rampant practice of social evils such as immorality, violence, murder, and discrimination. In addition, stories expose the reality of facts that are of controversy such as death, power, and play a role in giving us the truth. Since every story has a purpose and a lesson to learn from, we can restore order and responsibility in society and make the world a better place of living for everybody.
A good story should incorporate a number of things in its structure for it to attract the reader and fulfill its purpose as a good tool of communication. As Bruce Jackson’s The Story is True observes, “we go for the better story, with “better” meaning, the story that makes one’s page” (32), the reader will go the story that best satisfies. The authors should ensure that they have employed certain attributes that will make the story memorable and very interesting. Firstly, the story should have a beginning. Mostly this part should grab the reader’s attention and give a motivation and interest that compels them to continue reading. This may be a conflict or any other happening, which is continued, in the entire body of the story. Secondly, there should be a desire in a central character should be driven by a certain motivation to accomplish the goal or the purpose of the story. The protagonist may exhibit a funny behavior or act in a very outstanding manner for example fighting even to the point of death just to protect a lover or other close friends. Thirdly, a story should include several challenging conflicts that the central character ought to handle before accomplishing the specific goal.
Another useful component of a story is that it should have some challenges and barriers that the protagonist should handle in the process of achieving the goal. This may include the main character having to encounter superior forces, opposition, hatred and supernatural forces from the dark world. Another component in the structure of a story is the climax, which is actually the turning point in the story. This part occurs immediately after the central character deals or tackles the adversary and subdues him. It is actually in this part that the result is revealed, for example, a triumphant win of a hero against his rivals. Lastly, it is the resolution that an author aims at making the end believable to the readers and ensures that it grabs their attention for remembrance. It also tries to answer any unanswered question in reader’s mind and thereafter tie up the story.
A story will always have a context and the point of view of the author. For any reader to understand a story, it is mandatory that he or she understands the background of story and its social set up. This helps the reader to know maybe the culture of the people in that particular geographical location. Likewise, the point of view is the perspective or the angle from which the author tackles the story in achieving the goal of the story. In addition, there are five types of tales namely; Myths, saga, fable, Fairy-tale, and Folk-Tale. The Myths are ancient stories created by the early people to explain the wonders of life and other mysteries such as the creation of the world, death and the existence of supernatural powers. This was because of failure to understand the wonders and therefore, came up with stories based on their imaginations and mostly uses imaginary characters. The second type is the Saga that mainly focuses on Heroes who may be real or unreal in certain societies. Thirdly, is a Fable is filled with a moral lesson to the targeted audience. This one involves animals as the main characters where they have the ability to talk to one another or even to human beings and therefore they should be read for learning to be a successful person. Fourthly, is the Folk-Tales which are imaginary stories passed from one generation to the other mainly explaining the fears of common people in a society. Lastly, is the Fairy-Tale that is a talk of tiny imaginary beings characterized by supernatural powers. Such tales, because of their fascination and fiction, mostly appeal to children.
Stories are also very important in the diverse field of literature such as in poetry, music, folktales, comics, films, and popular culture as they enhance our understanding on each specific field. For example, in the field of comics which are defined been as a series or sequence of stimulating drawings like cartoons that are closely related. Therefore, stories add fun to the readers and a desire to explore the next parts of the story. Other scholars say that comic is just a pictorial story and so to understand the message being passed; stories must be used to achieve this.