Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Narrative Mode: #13 Beauty and the Beast

I cannot say I saved the best for last, but I can say this is one of the most familiar of the narrative modes.  Everyone knows this story, but we love the ones we're familiar with, so it is not one to ignore.  Beauty and the beast: a simple story of redemption, forgiveness and true love.  As familiar as it is, one cannot claim it is simple.  Look at the requirements.
  • A young beauty who gives without reserve and is appreciated by her parent but mistreated by others close to her.
  • A father who cannot fulfill the exterior needs of his children though he does supply that which none can live without: love
  • Difficulties which make the young beauty and her father falter and fear they may not survive economically, spiritually or physically if things go on.
  • Opportunity to gain what is needed either through outside pressure to agree to an unsatisfactory contract, one that involves the daughter as servant or companion to a person or creature recognized as dangerous, unrelenting, unforgiving and cruel or through being driven by need to apply for a position with those same characteristics.
  • Refusal and then acceptance when there is no other solution.  The young beauty must sacrifice her happiness to save her father.
  • She gets to know the monster who holds the power over her and her father's chances for  survival.  And he gains understanding, even appreciation for her kindness, constant forgiveness and obvious personal strength.
  • He risks her denial of him as a worthwhile individual, while struggling for his own self-acceptance.  She guides him out of his imposed purgatory (self-projected or a judgement placed on him by another force).  He reveals the person he has been desiring to be: good, kind, worthy of love.
  • The other shoe drops: he is running out of time and she needs to return to a much greater obligation than being his companion.  
  • Another sacrifice: only this time it is his.  He must give up his chance for redemption to prove his love for her (unselfishly, and outside of her awareness) by releasing her from the agreement seemingly temporarily though he is aware that it is permanent if she leaves.
  • She leaves and realizes, perhaps too late, that he needs her for his own survival.
  • Acceptance, redemption, happiness.
 The Little Handbook of Narrative Frameworks available on Smashwords and Amazon.

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