#1: You admire a character for ‘trying’ more than, for their ‘successes’
It is easy to like a hero, it is even easier to hate a villain, but you cannot have a great villain without the reluctant hero. The reluctant hero or ‘anti-hero’ has always been a Hollywood favorite and “The Home town boy makes good” idea is a popular script. Why does this actually work and what is the motivation for us to like it?
As humans we are programmed to succeed. Millions of years of evolution have proved that we can succeed and thrive in any environment where there is food, water and shelter. Work, sports, play, education, and communication these are all factors created by people so that we can develop and thrive even further. However we cannot succeed at any of these without first starting and putting in the required effort to complete the challenge. In any journey of adversity it is the ‘will’ to continue and the ‘heart to carry on’ that makes these stories so compelling.
Any story of a journey that takes us on an emotional roller coaster where we join in the struggle will make us push our imaginations to put us in the picture side-by-side, shoulder to shoulder. Facing enemy and triumphing over the same adversity along with that “anti-hero” that we have grown to love.
One of our favorite hometown boys make good are the likes of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa. The Rocky story started with a boxer from nowhere who became the greatest boxer in the world, these stories take us on that journey where we train with him, and feel every blow. We share his sorrow and his success and want to watch it again and again.
Other of my favorite anti-hero stories are the story of a father looking for his lost son in ‘Finding Nemo’. Marlin and his sidekick Dory go on a quest to find the missing angel fish baby ‘Nemo’ and discover a great friendship in the process…. but that’s, for another post
These stories teach us that the goal is always achievable, we know that the hero with triumph. The end of the story is just that, it is the end. The real pleasure and satisfaction comes from the journey, it is the journey that captures our imagination and what drives us. This is the real reason we like story and why we follow it to the end. We love adversity and challenge. We want to share the experience of how hard the characters have to ‘try’. That is what grips us and makes us want to make it to the end.
Perhaps with enough stories we can all gain more experience and become better ourselves.
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