Think about your favorite movie. What comes to mind? It might be an action film, a character study, or a romance. You might be imagining Luke Skywalker battling Darth Vader in Star Wars, Vito Corleone plotting against his rivals in The Godfather, or Joe Fox promising to send Kathleen Kelly a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils in You’ve Got Mail.
You may have thought of countless other films as well. On the surface, many of them probably seem like they have little in common. The story of Corleone’s downfall, for example, doesn’t much resemble Kelly’s efforts to save her bookstore. The drama of The Princess Bride doesn’t seem anything like the raw power of Chiron’s life in Moonlight. But when we look a bit deeper—as we’ll learn to do in this course—we find that these movies and many others all have a compelling story.
Capturing Attention with Stories
Each of the movies mentioned earlier has a story that jumps off the screen, looks us in the eye, and demands that we pay attention. The characters and events capture our minds and transport us from the real world to a new one where anything could happen. A good story can make us happy, sad, or angry, and some can even move us to action or change the way we see the world.
This course is all about stories. Our goals will be to understand what stories are and, more importantly, to learn how to use this marvelous power of stories for ourselves. Stories aren’t just in movies or books, after all. We use stories to understand ourselves, interact with others, and make sense of our lives.